Readers share: How Donna approached building her first house

by Chris Lang on February 13, 2013

Building a house

Just like buying a house, building one is not without it’s own pitfalls. Donna S. shared with us a few tips from her first home building experience, and we though you may find them useful:

“In January 2010 we purchased our land dreaming of a smooth ride and having our beautiful first home ready for the summer of 2011! WOW! What a roller-coaster of events it has been and some very valuable lessons learnt as we head into the summer of 2013.

So our land had settled and we picked our builder, we had our first meeting and discussed the steps – onto soil testing! We briefly skimmed over the idea that soil testing in some cases can uncover an added expense to the standard slab included in our base price but it was unlikely to change. Awesome, we have a fair idea of what costs we are up for, what we can afford, and so we can go ahead with our modest but brand new house!

Tip #1 – Expect the worst, hope for the best

Of course our soil test uncovers that we are required to go from the most basic slab to the most extravagant, expensive, out of this world, monster-of-a-slab you could ever come across!

Tip #2 – Dust it off, don’t let it get to you

Oh well, never mind we say! Yes we are up for an added expensive, but that’s building right? So we dust it of and remind ourselves that our newly designed slab now resembles a basement bomb shelter! What more could you want?

On to the council! Our builder submits the application for final permit approval. We are underway – now we sit and wait.

Tip #3 – Don’t sit and wait

As we wait and wait we decided to do a little digging. It turns out our builder was sitting on the councils response to our application for a permit. Lets just say this document alone is responsible for the felling of a forest – its not small. Our builder fessed up and said they’re not really equipped to deal with the requests from the council – we now had the added pressure of taking on the council ourselves.

Tip #4 – Find someone who knows what they’re talking about!

After reading over the documents from the council we quickly realised we also weren’t equipped to deal with such requests. We talked to a local town planner, someone who knew the inns and outs of council jargon and how to efficiently and cost effectively deal with their requests. Yes they cost money, more money but this was money well spent. Council was requiring us to provide a number of surveys on our land due to our location at a very hefty cost, our town planner swiftly managed to eradicate the need for one of the surveys thanks to his experienced knowledge in council bylaws, this alone saved us $30,000. Money well spent!

Tip #5 – Have patience; if you don’t have it – learn it

So as we roll into the summer of 2013, we hope to find a smooth ride ahead of us for when we finally start our build. We still have our land, but no house as yet. Maybe its just meant to be? After all we did start this with no children and now we have 1 and 1 nearly cooked – add an extra room onto the plan you say?

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