We are almost there! well at the tender process anyway. Choosing the right floor plan that will fit under your budget is probably one of the hardest things you could possibly make a decision on when it comes to building a house. There have been sleepless nights and tension in the household due to frustrations when reviewing and making floor plan changes to our chosen floor plan. We have learned quite a bit about building a house in general but there’s still so much more to learn.
We shortlisted three builders based on our budget, floor plan requirements and standard inclusions. They are Masterton Homes, Clarendon & Fowler Homes we also had Wisdom Homes in our list from the start however we just could not find a floor plan that suited us and our preferred inclusions would have put us way over budget. Clarendon’s Sherwood design was a front runner at one stage however we were disappointed when the estimates had come through as it was about $20k over. We attempted to make it work by choosing a smaller design and adding a lifestyle option but unfortunately we arrived at the same amount. The deal breaker was the addition of a rumpus and alfresco for $27k that didn’t include the flooring and $10k to remove the rumpus wall to create a more open plan. For the $37k we get additional 40m2 but not much else included. They had also estimated quite a high amount for non standard site costs which was quite significant and would not have left us much for upgrades for big ticket items such as ducted air-conditioning, kitchen cabinetry and electrical.
Fowler Homes was a dark horse and had only come through in the late stages of our shortlisting process. They seemed to have a great inclusions package and their floor plans are very similar to the Clarendon Sherwood. We had a initially looked at the Portofino design which was had a grand staircase and a void feature on the formal living area. Again we couldn’t get the estimate to an amount that we were comfortable with so we turned our attention to the St Tropez 40 which had the floor space that we wanted however the rooms were on the small side. Our daughters will be in their teens in ten years time and we want them to have a good amount of space.
I liked the Fowler Homes offering and it deserves its place as our second option but what probably changed our minds was the staggering non standard site cost estimate which was the highest of all builders. Some would argue that it’s best to overestimate than under but for first time home builders especially for a KDR this is a scary amount that has to be factored in which in essence decides which house you can build with your budget.
This brings us to our chosen builder and design. Today we paid our tender acceptance fee with Masterton Homes and in the next few weeks the building contract will start to get drawn up and will be presented to us. I believe now we are in Step 3 of their building process but we’re still finalising our variations and inclusions, we are expecting a revised tender in the next week to include provisional allowances that we have discussed. The design that we have chosen is totally left field and a design that is not very popular because the way that is has been presented as it appears dated. We find it strange that they have not made a MKII version of this design to suit a more modern taste. Our chosen floor plan is the Santorini Entertainer 41 which has been heavily modified it looks almost nothing like what you see below. The Santorini is one of the bigger floor plans that is in their two storey build collection but in recent times it is probably the least popular design due to its angled doorways and walls which is such a 90’s look.
After 5 revisions to the tender, I think we may finally have a the final revision which can go straight to planning. It has been a long drawn out process and something that we have spent a lot of time on considering this process had started back in February. One thing I will say is that unless you have previously done your own research and planned the house you’re going to build expect to spend at least 6-8 weeks perfecting the tender and the floor plan. This delay in this process is not necessarily the builder’s fault, there have variations to the tender that we requested to be put in and then take out out the two weeks later. This is mainly due to budget constraints and prioritising other variations above others that are less important. Always prioritise structural changes above anything else because this cannot be done post handover and it also cost a few thousand dollars which you may have to take away from something else if you are budget conscious.
We extended the Bedrooms 3 & 4, the Garage by 700mm and the first floor living room by 500mm. We should have done this from the beginning of the tender luckily there was enough funds in our provisional allowance that we were able to sacrifice to make these variations.