Are You Thinking of Building an Extension?

Extending your home is a perfect alternative, if you wish to upgrade your living environment without actually relocating to a new place. It is especially an amazing choice, if you don’t want to leave your current locality and maintain a great rapport with your neighbors.

Before you begin the extension procedure, however, you need to analyze the varied aspects of renovating or extending your house. Here are a few things that you should take into consideration when you decide to undertake a home extension work.

Male Contractor in Hard Hat Discussing Plans with Woman in Room.

Have a Clear Idea about Your Needs

While most people want to upgrade their house mainly to accommodate the growing needs of their family, some extend their property to improve its functionality, aesthetic appearance or sometimes even to make it more eco-friendly. In fact, knowing the purpose of the upgrade is vital to plan a seamless home extension project.

Know Your Budget

This is undoubtedly the most important thing to consider when you plan for a home extension. By setting a budget limit, you’ll be able to prioritise your needs more effectively and also make wise decisions when it comes to the selection of materials.

Employ an Expert

Hiring an expert service provider who offers bespoke solutions will help you to put your unique requirements on paper while avoiding serious expensive mistakes. Not only do they breathe new life into your ideas, but also seamlessly incorporate latest building trends and styles. It is, however, important to choose a professional as well as experienced contractor or company to get the desired result.

Get A Building Permit

Depending on your location and the complexity of the project – particularly if it involves installation of structural components, major demolitions, or extensive modification of the roofline, you’ll be entailed to abide by the local building rules. In order to avoid any trouble in the future, make sure that you obtain a building permit, if necessary.

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Two Reasons Why Custom Homes Are Right For You

new-home-construction

Everyone has something in mind when asked what their dream house would be like. It might have an amazing, professional-level kitchen. Or a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find exactly what you want when you are searching through real estate listings. In order to have the abode you truly dream of, you need to consider custom homes. Here are two of the biggest reasons why they offer more than any other option.

Make Your House Truly Yours

After purchasing a house, the average family will spend roughly eleven years there before moving to a new location. Eleven years is a long time in the best of circumstances. If the dwelling doesn’t have the features you want, eleven years might seem like an eternity. On the other hand, custom homes ensure that you will have every feature, amenity, and appliance that you want. And since it will be your dream house, you will be much less likely to move in the future.

Furthermore, many of the cookie-cutter houses built today are not up to date on what buyers want. A recent survey of potential home-buyers showed that some of the most sought-after features included separate laundry rooms, wireless security systems, energy-efficient appliances, and exterior lighting. Adding these features to an existing abode would cost over $10,000 on average. On the other hand, custom homes can have all of these features and more. The only thing that limits what can be in a dwelling designed specifically for you is your imagination.

Save Money By Doing It Right The First Time

The average residential remodeling job costs owners over $20,000. If you need to install a new furnace or air conditioning unit, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $14,000. The average cost for a visit from a plumber or electrician is nearly $400. In short, when you buy a structure that has been lived in before, you need to be prepared to spend money on repairs, replacements, and remodeling. If you want to turn it into a dream house, you will likely have to spend a lot of money.

On the other hand, with custom homes there are no extra costs later on. Being the first people to live in a house means knowing the plumbing and electrical are brand new. You know the foundation is firm, and the furnace is still shiny. Because you helped design the dwelling yourself, there is absolutely no need to do any remodeling.

In conclusion, the average American spends roughly twelve hours of every day at home. That is half of their lives. Custom homes offer buyers the chance to ensure that half of their lives are spent in a comforting, safe environment. You don’t have to put up with a kitchen that is too small, plumbing that is too old, or floors that are too squeaky. You can, and should, build the house of your dreams.

Mistakes To Avoid When Constructing Your House

new-home-construction

To many people, house construction is one of the most important and expensive endeavours that they undertake in their lives. To have a beautiful house that will last forever you need to avoid making these mistakes:

Being extremely unique

It’s good to have a unique house design, but you shouldn’t go overboard. For example, while you might love an underground or triangular shaped house, many people won’t appreciate it. This is even a bigger problem when you want to sell the house.

Since it’s impossible to be certain of the future, you should have a regular house with a few unique features here and there. For example, you can have a regular house with a chimney that is larger than normal.

Cutting corners

It’s human nature to use the shortest routes, but this shouldn’t be the case with you. One of the things that many people do is ignoring the services of architects and contractors. While you can copy the design of your friend’s house, you won’t have the satisfaction as the house won’t have your touch.

An architect not only designs your house, he/she also has the responsibility of advising you on the best design for you according to your preferences and budget.

The professional also researches about the building codes in the area thus ensuring that your house is constructed according to state or municipal requirements. This protects your house from getting demolished in the future.

When it comes to contractors, many homeowners fail to hire them as they feel that they are too expensive. To ensure that your house is constructed according to plan you should hire a contractor to handle all the construction issues. In addition to saving you time, the contractor also ensures that the house is constructed according to plan.

Ignoring your family needs

You are building the house for your family thus they should always be at the back of your mind from when you are getting the house designs, to when you are constructing the house. As rule of thumb you should construct a house that is ideal for your family. This calls for you to ensure that the bedrooms and living spaces are enough for your family.

If you are planning of having more children in the future or you will be having family members living with you, you should have a large house. Before you construct a house you should sit down with your architect and explain your needs.

Factors to Consider When Building Luxury Homes on Raw Land

luxury-property

Don’t want to buy an existing home? Then purchasing one of the newly built luxury homes in your area is a great alternative. There are many reasons people decide to purchase land: building a house, farming, ranching, and speculation purposes, to name a few. Once you determine the reason you want the land, then you can begin the process of evaluating the pros and cons of acquiring it.

Pros of Constructing Luxury Homes on Raw Land

Luxury houses are typically built on land that is outside of a major metropolitan area. For individuals that value privacy and dislike busy street noises, the quiet outskirts of the city is a welcomed environment. The layout of a new house is usually quite spacious and can be expanded outward or upward depending on your preference. Other customization options also include modern amenities such as whirlpool tubs, kitchen appliances, and skylights. Renovation and maintenance fees are also significantly lower in new structures when compared to older structures.

For example, the lawn on an old place may have mature weeds, shrubs, plants, and grass. Depending on the level of overhaul required and your desired end result, the cost of renovating your landscape can easily cost at least $1,000 to $8,000. Creating a new landscape and living structure can cut that cost in half.

Cons of Constructing on Raw Land

Many of the cons of purchasing raw land are derived from the additional cost required to develop it. In other words, the majority of your budget will be spent on due diligence, conversion, and carrying cost. Due diligence is the research required on your end in regards to the land you’re trying to purchase. A costly part of this process is contacting a real estate agent and traveling out to evaluate the land. Conversion cost deals with the fees required to make the land habitable, which includes making sure a proper water and sewage system are in place. Lastly, carrying costs are interest payments on your loan and property taxes. Let us not forget to mention that the cost of commuting to work, the store, or any place within the city will be higher.

How much does it Cost to Build Luxury Homes?

Now that we’ve talked about the prices associated with the land and commute, we’ll change direction a bit and talk about how much it will cost to build the house. First off, luxury houses are not determined just by the size of its structure. A structure that is over 5,000 square feet and made with expensive material is actually referred to as a mansion. Mansions are just one type of luxury house. In fact, what truly defines these types of structures are the architectural significance, superior design, and location. Therefore, you can save on cost by not going ‘big’ but by going ‘unique design’ instead. Expect to pay $250 to $300 per square foot on average. You’ll also need to hire an expert architect to create an innovative design for your house. The architectural fee will cost between 12 to 20 percent of your total budget.

The ultimate factor that will determine whether you should put in the time and pay the fees required in buying new land and building luxury homes is your pocketbook, so budget wisely.

Three Reasons To Buy New Homes Rather Than Old Ones

Buying a house is a major life milestone for most people. It is also one of the largest investments they will make in their lives. One of the big questions that face people in the market for a dwelling is whether to buy new or used. The fact of the matter is that new homes offer their owners many advantages that cannot be found in older houses. That is why over 10 million dwellings were built last year in the United States alone. Here are some of the positives to being the first owners of a structure.

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Energy Efficiency

Whether you rent or own your residence, you still have to pay your utilities. Everyone has also experienced how high those utilities can get during certain seasons. In most cases, energy costs are higher in older residences. This is due to the fact that older construction was not as energy efficient as it is today. Single pane windows allow inside air to escape. Poorly fitted doors create drafts. Many older HVAC units have not been properly cleaned in years, causing high utility costs due to their inefficiencies.

New homes are generally built to save as much energy as possible. Double paned windows, better seals on doors, and the latest insulation materials make for a more comfortable home with a smaller carbon footprint. Other energy-saving technologies are also very common in today’s construction, such as motion sensor lights, which go off when no one is in the room, and washing machines and toilets designed to use as little water as possible. The government also has programs that offer low-interest mortgages for buyers of energy-efficient dwellings.

Durability

There are certain chores that are expected when you purchase a residence. You have to sweep and mop the floors. The lawn has to be cut, and the leaves have to be raked. Every few years or so you have to paint the house, as well. What you do not want to deal with are unexpected chores. A faulty electrical system or broken water pipe can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damages and repairs, not to mention the stress and aggravation of having a major repair happen in your house. New homes offer their owners a guarantee that there are no hidden faults. The HVAC system is new, as is the plumbing and electrical work. All the work was completed by a professional, not an amateur homeowner trying to save a few dollars.

Customization

According to a recent survey by contractors, some of the most popular items that people buying a house are looking for are walk-in pantries, separate laundry rooms, exterior lighting, and garage storage. Older residences might have one or two of these features, but they won’t have everything that you are looking for as a buyer. With an investment this big, you shouldn’t settle. New homes offer the owner a chance to have every feature that they want to be installed before they move in.

In conclusion, new homes offer the buyer greater peace of mind, less repair work, lower utility bills, and the chance to own their dream home, complete with every convenience and luxury they can dream of.

Funerals At Home – What Is Old Is New Again

The world’s knowledge was said to have doubled every century of human history before the 19th century. As technology was further developed, it got faster. As of today, it is believed that knowledge doubles once every year or so. What has not changed is the fact that humans die. Death is as natural as life. Although knowledge is doubling at record levels and technology is rapidly advancing, something old is becoming new again. Families are conducting funerals in their homes.

Considering that most of the world still buries their dead through the simple process of a home funeral, it is not surprising that the trend is gaining momentum in America. Families are opting out of the hiring of funeral homes and funeral directors and they are caring for their own dead. Until the time of the Civil War, or around 1860, families always cared for their own dead.

Funerals in the home are a simple, inexpensive, personal and fulfilling way of caring for the dead. Nothing takes the place of “hands on” experience. As a certified grief counselor, it is my opinion that families involved with home funerals experience a more natural and healthier grief process. I have counseled with individuals that worried if the funeral home buried or cremated the right person. There is no concern of this happening in a home funeral setting.

Home Based Funerals – Since The Dawn Of Time

Many families view the process of home funerals as a natural and normal part of family life. Parents care for babies when born. Parents raise, educate, train, develop and love those babies throughout their lives. Babies grow up to be the adult that cares for their parents when they die. The circle of life completes itself and nothing is more natural about life than death. Who is more qualified to care for a person that died than the very family that cared for that person when they lived?

Laws in all states do allow home funerals although particular laws concerning the involvement of funeral directors do vary from state to state. A family does not have to contact a funeral home or funeral director in some states. Unfortunately there still are a few states violating individual rights with unjust laws that force families to hire a funeral director whether they wish to or not. Hopefully those laws will be amended or changed in the near future.

Home Funeral Guides are available in many areas of the country to instruct, educate and encourage families through the home funeral process. A quick search on the internet using your favorite search engine will bring up any that may be in your area. Education seminars, one on one instruction or books are available through your local expert. You can also search on the website of the National Home Funeral Alliance (nhfa) http://homefuneralalliance.org/, which is full of great information concerning home funerals.

Home Building Advice

So you’re thinking about building your own home…

It’s a great idea, because you can get a lot closer to what you really want when you build rather than buy. But there are some critical things to be aware of, in order to keep risks and surprises to a minimum, and end up getting the home you want. We’ve compiled this helpful guide from a number of industry sources and our own experience. We hope it gives you a good introduction. This article is bought to by Avenue Building Group – www.avenuebuildinggroup.com.au

1. How important is it to choose the right builder?

Your new Melbourne home is going to be one of the most important investments you will ever make both financially and emotionally. You want to get the design and construction right so that it suits both your present and future needs and lifestyle. There are a lot of builders out there prepared to build you a house but which one is the right one? Which one will turn your dream into reality? Follow the steps in this information pack and you will be several steps closer to fulfilling your dream, especially if that dream is to have a luxury home builder do the job right the first time.

2. Your role in the process

Before beginning the design the following needs to be conveyed to the designer:

Your budget

The size of the house to be designed – including room numbers, their locations and functions

Facade type including exterior finishes for walls (e.g. rendered, face brick) and the roof type and finish (e.g. tiled, metal)

Individual design features that you would like

Specific details like ceiling heights, window sizes, and bathroom and kitchen fittings.

The time frame. Note that plans have to be submitted to various authorities and this may take longer than expected. Build this into the construction time frame.

3. The designer’s role in the process

When using an architect, building designer or engineer the charge for designing the house will be in addition to the construction costs. When using a builder who provides a design service as part of the package the design is factored into the price. This will have some bearing on the amount of time that can be spent in working with you on the design. Consider this as well when selecting who designs your home.

Designers must be up to date with the following:

o Latest legislation

o New building trends

o Environmental and energy considerations like insulation, water saving, building materials and energy saving systems like solar power and solar water heating

They should also be able to advise you on the most appropriate house orientation in relation to the sun and prevailing winds. They should also be able to advise you on how best to make use of a site’s topography.

For example it is often better to build a house on a sloping site that makes use of the shape of the site rather than bringing in a bulldozer to reshape the site. Earthworks can be expensive.

At your first meeting with a designer you need to assess whether they will be able to meet with your expectations in terms of being qualified to do the job.Attached is a checklist (see page 8) of questions that you should consider asking the designer.

4. Builder’s reputations

Once you have a list of builders your next step is to find out about their reputations and the quality of their work. Probably the best way is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners. A reputable builder with satisfied customers should have no problem in providing the names and addresses of recent customers that are willing to talk to you.

Some questions you can ask:

Are you happy with your home?

Was the house built within the agreed time frame?

What problems did you experience?

Were they attended to promptly and to your satisfaction?

Would you have this builder build another house for you?

Some observations you can make and note down:

Quality of the finishes including cabinetry, paint and trim

Quality of the construction

Style of design

Construction type

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Your new home is probably going to be the biggest investment you have made to date!

5. Advantages in working with a builder to design your home

There are some definite advantages in individual designs. These include:

Personalised and flexible design process

Design suits your lifestyle and budget requirements

Inclusions not limited

Tailored to your particular site

Reputable builders that specialise in individual designs have examples of their work in display villages. This gives you the opportunity to see examples of their work without confining you to the plans you see displayed.

6. Project homes

Project home builders usually offer a range of standard plans in different price ranges including varying fittings and inclusions. They may specialise in single or double storey homes but are limited in inclusions and colour selection choices, design changes and site falls.

7. Individually designed homes

Building designers, engineers, architects and licensed builders provide design services. Probably the most commonly used design service is that offered by builders who specialise in individual designs. They both design and build the homes and the service is included in the price whereas building designers, engineers and architects will charge for the service. The majority of builders who build custom designs will have a portfolio of plans of homes they have built or standard plans, often based on their display homes. They will quite happily adapt these plans to suit your requirements or design a completely new plan. In addition they may specialise in a certain style of home like colonial or federation or in designing and building homes to suit difficult or sloping sites.

Regardless of whom you select to design your home you should feel comfortable with them. At the outset you should ensure that you both clearly understand each other’s roles and responsibilities. This will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and disputes.

8. Designing your home

Design services are provided by the following:

Licensed building designers

Architects

Licensed builders

Engineers

Licences can be checked on the BSA website, www.bsa.qld.gov.au. or by phone. Note that architects and engineers do not require a licence but must be registered with their professional associations.

9. Design choices

There are effectively 3 design choices:

Make use of a standard design package supplied by a builder. They will usually have a range of designs from which you can make a choice. Often referred to as project homes.

Review the builder’s standard plans and adapt them.

Have a builder, designer, engineer or architect do a custom design.

10. Colour consultation

Uncertain about your homes finishes? Reputable builders have qualified colour consultants who can guide you through this important process. They usually have sample finishes available to view, either in-house or at their display homes. They ensure that you get the finish that suits you, right down to the smallest detail. Working with the colour consultant to choose your finishes usually occurs after the deposit has been paid and the design agreed (note not all builders provide this service so take this into consideration when selecting your builder).

You will be provided with a pack of information on finishes and invited to meet with the builder’s colour consultant for a several hour appointment to review the various options. This is your opportunity to ensure that all the finer details are not missed or taken for granted.

11. Inclusions

As mentioned earlier, project builders often have houses on view in display villages. Be warned that these houses are quite likely to have inclusions that are not included in the base price.The following items will probably not be included in the base price:

Inside:

o Floor coverings with the exception of wet areas like bathrooms, toilets and laundries.

o Blinds, curtains and light shades

o Items like wallpaper, fixed mirrors (outside of bathrooms) and picture rails

o Furniture that is loose

o Dishwashers and washing machines

o Security systems

Outside:

o Garages and carports, and car detailing companies

o Paths and driveways

o Security and fly screens

o Tiled and concrete floors under verandas and entry porches

o Landscaping

o Garden sheds, outdoor furniture, pergolas and fences

o Clothes lines and letterboxes

o Spas and pools

o Connections to services

However some builders will offer several levels of fit out as different price packages. Take care to identify exactly what you are being offered and ensure that the builder has an in house colour and fittings consultant to guide you through the process.

12. Additional costs

Do you have a sloping, timbered or difficult site on which to build? Be aware that the type of site on which you want to build can add considerably to the overall cost of the project. Note that builders are required under the Domestic Building Act 2000 to provide customers with foundations data before finalising the contract. Most project homes are quoted for building on flat stable sites with little underground rock. A site that is steeply sloping, unstable or has rock beneath the surface can add considerably to the cost of building a home.

If you have a difficult building site then it may be worthwhile to consider approaching a builder who specialises in building on this type of site. They usually design a house to suit the site minimizing the amount of excavation and making best use of the inherent benefits of a sloping site.

Check whether the builder has included the cost of soil tests, contour surveys and building approval fees in the required deposit.

Note that despite a soil test being done it is usually only from two or three boreholes and may not accurately represent the entire site. The builder may have rock removal as a provisional item in the contract and it may become very expensive.

Ensure that your contract has a fixed price for the footing excavation and footings (excluding rock removal) and that you have copies of the survey reports on which this is based. Also ensure that the contract specifies who is responsible for removing excess earth left after excavations.

13. Designer Question Checklist

1. Licence

Does the designer, whether a builder, engineer, architect or building designer have the appropriate BSA licence or professional registration? This you can check prior to your meeting. Yes No

2. Does the designer provide the following services?

o Site inspections to ensure the characteristics of the site are taken fully into consideration in the design process? Yes No

o Elevation sketches of the house in 3 dimensions to show what the house will look like when built? Yes No

o Preparation of documents and plans and lodgement with the authorities for their approval? Yes No

o Check for easements and utility locations (e.g. sewerage pipes) that could affect the design and siting of the house? Yes No

o Check with Local Government or private certifier to ensure that plans include any special requirements before lodging? Yes No

3. Contract

o Does the designer provide a standard contract? Yes No

o Have you obtained a copy and read it carefully? Yes No

o Will it accurately cover any agreement you have reached with the designer in terms of costs and service? Yes No

4. Deposits and fees

o Have you ascertained what deposit the designer requires up front? Yes No

o Have you ascertained how the designer’s fee is calculated? (e.g. fixed sum or percentage) Yes No

o Are there additional costs involved in varying the plans once they are complete? Yes No

5. Timeframe

o Have you ascertained how long it will take the designer to draw up your plans? Yes No o Does this fit into your timeframe? Yes No

14. Building complaints

The Building Services Authority has a website that keeps a record of disciplinary proceedings against builders. On the BSA site should check the record of each of the builders on your list against the information on this website. No guarantee that you will not experience problems with a builder but past history often determines future behaviour. You can then cull from your list any builders that you doubt.

15. Queensland Master Builders Association

The first step in process is to decide on the type of home you would like to build and to work out how much you can spend. You then need to make a list of local builders that can build your chosen home style within your budget. One way is to go to the Queensland Master Builders Association’s website at www.masterbuilders.asn.au. They have a search function that will provide you with a list of local builders in your region. Contact details and links to websites are included but no detailed information. This means that a lot of searching is required to find key information so you may want to consider other sources.

16. Other sources

If you want another way then advertisements in property supplements, magazines like Homebuild, website searches and display homes will provide more information in easier to use formats. Identify those builders that specialise in the style of house in your price range. Make a list of these builders. You might even want to create a file with information printed off their websites or sourced from property supplements and magazines.

The 10 Steps to Designing and Building your Home

1. The land Maximising the investment you have made in your land, not only as a financial investment but as an emotional investment is important. You’ll want to build a home that will make best use of your land and its aspect to enhance your lifestyle. Our design consultant will visit the site with you to ensure that the design incorporates what you want and makes best use of the attributes of the site.

2. The plan You have decided to build. You may know exactly what you want or you may just have some ideas. The first step is it to turn these ideas into a concept plan. Sit down with one of our design consultants and discuss these ideas. Look at designs and photographs of homes we have built. These will help clarify what you like and what you want in your new home.

3. The investment At this stage you’ll have a draft plan. Go through our inclusions brochure and decide what you’d like. Once you have done that our consultant will be able to give you an estimate of the investment you’ll be making in your new home.

4. Soil test and contour survey The next step is obtaining an engineers survey of the site. This is a legal requirement and it is essential safeguard in ensuring that your home is built with proper foundations and on the correct position on the site. This is also the point where we require a deposit to cover these costs. Once the design consultant has this information he can finalise the design with you and provide a base price with standard inclusions.

5. The final price quotation At this stage we can give you a quote which includes all the details. You’ll need to go through this thoroughly with the consultant to make sure that you are happy that it’s exactly what you want. With this signed off it’s time to turn your dream into a reality and that begins with signing the contract and paying the balance of the deposit. With that paid can get on with preparing the building permit applications and all the paper work that’s involved to get the plans approved.

6. Colour and finish selection Now it is time to meet with our colour consultant who will assist you in colour selection and those final touches which will your turn a house into a home. Our inclusions brochure is a great start here and it’s worth browsing through it before your free appointment with our colour consultant. And in the meeting you’ll see sample finishes too – so much easier when you can see the real thing.

7. Beginning the build This is your dream home – it can’t be thrown up in a few weeks from mass produced elements knocked up offsite and still maintain the quality you want. So we’ll agree with you on a reasonable time to build your home without compromising quality. With all the paperwork done we’ll begin the preplanning and within a few short weeks construction will begin…

8. During the build It’s hard to keep away from the building site while your home is being built! You are encouraged to visit the site on a regular basis however, it is standard practice to be accompanied by your site supervisor due to safety requirements. You’ll meet the building Supervisor at the beginning and he will keep you up to date on the progress and explain each stage.

9. Completion When everything is complete and when we have thoroughly pre inspected the house it will be time to hand over the keys. But before we do that we’ll accompany you on your own inspection to make absolutely sure that the home we have designed for you has been built as promised.

10. Moving in You’ve moved in but we still want to make sure that our promise to you to build the home you want is kept. The six month maintenance period is your opportunity to make sure that we have kept our promise and a further six year structural guarantee.

Beginning the process Give us a ring on 1300 858 177 or visit one of our display homes at Brookwater and in the QMBA village at Daisy Hill. You’ll get the opportunity to meet one our consultants and find out how easy it is to design your own home. We hope this information has been of assistance and wish you well in building your new home!

Matthew Dore
http://www.djbuilders.com.au

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