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4 tips for working with builders and designers on your custom home

By christian / Saturday, 06 January 2018

4 tips for working with builders and designers on your custom home

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to live in your dream home.

All that’s left to do now is to design and build it.

Simply buying a house already on the market is not what you’re after. You have the perfect design in your head, and you can see the finished product already – a custom home that is tailored to your needs, your personality and your budget.

But to make this dream a reality, you’ll have to work with a variety of professionals from all walks of life. And you’ll also have to manage these relationships over the course of the build, and handle any disagreements or challenges that might arise during the project.

This can get complicated, especially if you haven’t had much direct experience with builders and designers before.

So we thought we’d share some of our 30 years’ experience in custom residential development, and give you our top 4 tips for a hassle-free home design and building experience.

1. The right financial planning will allow you to scope the build properly

Your financial situation – including your borrowing capacity and existing assets – will obviously inform the scope of your custom build, and determine the location and type of property you can afford.

If there are limits on what you can spend, or if you have certain priorities in mind (such as using the highest-quality construction materials) then your team will need to know about them sooner rather than later.

The best designers and custom builders will be able to help you plan the best possible outcomes within the parameters you have set – so be sure to be clear and upfront about your intended spend.

After all, your dream home is also a major investment, and you’ll want to ensure that you get the most out of your custom build. That means keeping an eye on your finances from the get-go.

2. Find a reputable builder by asking the right questions early

Right Questions to buildersWhen choosing the right builder for the job, make sure you understand the kinds of projects they’ve worked on in the past, and what they expect from their clients.

Ideally, you will be looking for builders with experience in custom-built residential homes, who understand the area and have a good reputation with their clients and the local community.

After doing your initial research, compile a list of potential contractors and start interviewing them, either in-person or over the phone. At the bare minimum, a good custom builder will be able to provide you with a straight answer to these questions:

  • – Do they offer a free, detailed quote?
  • – Are they experienced in custom residential development?
  • – How long have they been in business?
  • – Do they hold the correct building licenses to operate in your area?
  • – Can they provide you with references?
  • – Can they also offer any concept design and development services?

By doing your due diligence on potential contractors, and getting clear answers on these sorts of questions, you can avoid the risks and ensure that you have a reputable construction team on your side from day one.

3. Choose architects and building designers who understand your vision

The design team you put together will help you bring your dream into reality, and provide the documents (working drawings, floor plans) that will transform your vision into something that builders can deliver.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you have a positive and friendly working relationship with the design team, and that you find people who respect and support your ideas while bringing their own experience to the table. In Australia, architects are state-registered and regulated, and governed by regulations which vary from state to state – be sure to research this as well.

Consider putting together a small scrapbook of homes or home designs that you find inspiring, so that you have something to discuss in person with prospective designers. They’ll definitely have their own portfolios to show you as well!

4. Save money and hassle with an all-in-one design and building team

saving time and moneyIf all of the above sounds like a lot of legwork – well, it is!

Long before the fine details are worked out, and before the shovels have hit the dirt, you will be making crucial decisions around your future home, knowing that any single one of these decisions could have a big impact on the finished product.

This can be an extremely daunting prospect to first-time buyers, and even property developers may find it difficult to manage the people and choices involved in a custom home project.

To save yourself this legwork, consider a builder that also provides in-house design, planning and management services.

Ideally, a builder who can provide full end-to-end construction services, including concept design, planning management and subdivisional assistance, can save you a tremendous amount of time and hassle – especially when it comes to finding the right people for the job.

Of course, these tips represent only a few tiny (but important) steps in your journey to a dream home.

But now that you’re in the right mindset, you can start on the research and legwork you’ll need to find the perfect team and get your custom build started. And if you need some strategic advice, why not reach out to our team today to learn more?

Good luck!

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We were always welcomed on site – something we realise is not always easy to manage. Equally important was the response to our many queries and questions. They were accepted graciously, and dealt with.

John and Ruth McIntosh


  • Gilpip Homes (Vic) Pty Ltd
  • A.B.N 90 619 188 993
  • CDB-U 51761

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