Building a house is exciting, but at the same time it’s daunting as hell. Especially when it’s your first house and first mortgage! I remember feeling so overwhelmed with all the new terminology and things I needed to know. I’m the type of person who researches and googles absolutely everything. This is sometimes to my detriment, because I quickly build up a list of all the negatives on any given topic and read far to into it.
My number one source of information throughout the build, but especially in the early stages, was the HomeOne forum. It’s such a great space for like-minded people building or renovating in Australia. No question is deemed silly, and if you don’t want to ask a question – you can easily just do a quick search and more likely than not, you will find someone else has already asked what you need the answer to.
I’ve shared some tips I’ve learnt along the way:
- SAVE! And save more than what you budgeted to save. Easier said then done, right? Also, don’t believe the sticker price of a house when you’re researching online or talking to sales reps, try to add at least 10-15% to this and then some! Our Sales Rep was always upfront and transparent with this – so we knew what to expect.
- ADD all the “extras” during the pre-contract stage. Do not accept the standard spiel “oh you can add that in at pre-start”. During the pre-contract stage you have the upper hand – they want your business. At Pre-start you have already signed your contracts so you have less bargaining power.
- Together with the HomeOne forum, Pinterest is your new best friend, as is Instagram when it comes to choosing finishes and a style for your home. Once you have an idea of what you like – search #hashtags across social media to see other candid shots of your selections. This is especially helpful for looking up your benchtop choice (#essastone #newcrystalsalt) and paint colours (#duluxaus #solverkittygrey etc).
- Start buying homewares, now. Yes, you read that correctly. I know #1 said to SAVE, but honestly, if you don’t buy them now every other purchase is going to take priority when you move in. I am so glad I had a stash of goodies that I had collected over the construction of our house. I actually got a majority on sale too, as I had the luxury of time on my side and didn’t require anything immediately, so could shop around!
- Swallow your pride. Yes, it’s your first home and yes you see everyone’s beautifully styled homes on Instagram, but people offering second hand furniture and other items are helping you. You don’t have to keep the items forever. Think of them as keeping the spot warm until you can afford the items you really want.
- NEUTRALS are your best friend. Especially if you’re like me and change your mind every second week. Give the permanent fixtures of your home longevity by choosing neutral colours and textures that won’t date as quickly. You can then change up the look with inexpensive homewares and decor.
- PAY EXTRA off your home loan. Okay, it’s a no brainer, but if you’re in a position to do so, pay above your minimum repayments during the construction of your loan. We were very, very fortunate to be living with our parents, rent free! (I think we will forever be indebted to our parents for this – it helped us massively with pulling together the 20% deposit to avoid mortgage insurance and we are so, so grateful for it). With our house still under construction we were only paying interest. So I made sure we paid the minimum repayment we would be paying on our full loan amount. This means we now have surplus in our homeloan account. It also meant we are used to paying our full mortgage amount and don’t have to adjust now that we are in our home.
- Order your window coverings now! We measured a good two months ago and only ordered our blinds today. OOPS! We now have a 10 week wait for our shutters and 3-4 weeks for our roller blinds. Hello, newspapered windows!
- Befriend your neighbours! We are so lucky on this front. Our neighbours behind us are bloody legends and let us use their power when our site wasn’t energised. This saved us over $1000 in generator hire through the builder. I have also “virtually met” our neighbours directly next door on the HomeOne forum and another neighbour who is building in the next door estate to ours.
- Read your contracts, and read them again. In fact, have them read by at least 3 people.
- Get everything in writing. I mean everything. I used to speak on the phone to our sales representative and Client Liaison Officer, and then, immediately after send an email asking them to confirm what we just spoke about. This means you always have a record and go back to it, if required.
- Lastly, ENJOY every minute and try to stress less. Yes the wait is annoying, and you just want to be in right now. But you’re going to enjoy your home for much longer than it took to build. So just take a step back and enjoy the process. I am so proud of what we have achieved together and cannot wait to start this new journey in our new home.
Do you have any tips you can share?