The Construction Process of a House in Perth

GUEST BLOGGER
Sanjay
sanjay@pembertown.com
25 January 2014


In my last contribution to Nix’s blog I wrote about the differences between buying and renting and I hoped it gave some of you some insights into how property purchase works here.


This latest article is about building a home in Perth from my own personal experience.


When we first moved to Perth in May 2010, one of the ‘dreams’ we had (and most others would have) was to own a little piece of land here to call our own. Well we wanted that in Singapore, but it was a distant dream. That dream was possible here and has now become a reality for us.


After renting for about 2 years, we decided that it was time to start looking for our own place. We looked around at established homes for over 6 months, but after viewing at least over 30 homes every other weekend in different suburbs, they were either over our budget, not suitable, too old or needed too much work.


So, finally we decided that if we wanted a house the way we wanted, buying a block of land and building was the best option.

Being in finance myself, I knew what had to be done and what was required so I got our pre-approval for a loan sorted and we set out in search for our future home.


The search for a block

It was decided that we would get nothing smaller than 500sqm of land. With 3 young kids, having a good sized yard was important for us. Plus we had to fit our 10ft trampoline and swing-set and ensure there was plenty space for a vege garden.


Generally there are limited land lots for sale in the established and older suburbs and if there were some available, prices were too high. So we focused on the new suburbs and land development sites. Still it took us almost 2 months before we decided on a suburb called Piara Waters and block size of 637sqm. We would have loved to get a large 5 acre rural block, but will have to reserve that as a retirement plan when the kids have moved out.


The contract price on the block was $267,000 and was sold by a large land developer (Stockland). The block was not your standard rectangular shape but had a narrow frontage (10m) but opened up to the back (25m). This meant the price was also slightly lower than a square block of the same size but it suited our purposes.


Titled or non-titled

When buying land, it is important to know if the land has been titled or if it’s still ‘in the process’. With new land sites, the issue of titles for the land can be anywhere from 1 month to 2years away.


*Always check if the land has been titled or when it is expected.


This can affect a few things:
  • Getting finance approval
  • When your builder can start construction
  • Extra expenses – extending current rental contract
In our case, titles were expected in March 2013 (we signed the land purchase contract in Nov 2012). Our titles were finally issued in June 2013. And 3 weeks later, the finance was settled.


Construction

Building your own home can be a good experience or could also be the kind where it ends marriages!
  • there are many different builders to choose from (price, quality, features, extras)
  • visit as many display homes and get ideas about what you want
  • list down whats important for you and specify design features 
  • narrow down to 4-5 builders and present your specifications
  • Let the builder reps propose their design plans based on your specs – they take their standard home designs and incorporate what you want.
  • Double check the full quoted price and what it includes – get a second opinion and from others who have built
  • Decide on your builder.

We went with a mid-range builder as they had some quality inclusions which we liked.

It was going to be a 4 bedroom house with 2 bath/toilet, plus a study, theatre room and activity room. The ceiling height was 30 course (which is slightly higher than the standard 28 course) and open plan living in kitchen, dining and living areas. Our building contract was about $225,000.


The building time itself ranges from about 5 months to 18 months depending on the type of property you are building and which builder you use. But the average is about 7 months.


Our concrete slab went down in September 2013 and we had handover in May 2014, so was about 8 months, well 7 if you take away the Christmas and New year break.
  • Concrete Slab (foundation)
  • Bricklaying walls
  • Roofing
  • Internals

It is important to consider what the builders do not provide. Most building contracts are just for the shell of the home. After getting your keys, you may find yourself still having to spend another $20-$40k, if not more for installing flooring, window treatments, indoor painting, landscaping, air-conditioning and fencing (if not provided by the land developer)


Many of the main builders can include these extras, but it would be at a cost. But it can save you the hassle of getting these done on your own and moving into a fully completed house.


After we received our keys in May 2014, we had just over 4 weeks to get ourselves and our new home sorted before our current lease ended.

I spent over 2 weeks painting the internal walls (after work till 9pm and weekends) with some help from my dad and a friend. 1 coat of Primer and 2 coats of paint…It was a big house to paint. Once that was done, we got the air-conditioning guys to install the aircon, changed light fixtures, installed blinds, additional paving, ordered carpets for the rooms and laminate timber for the living areas. Plus little things like putting a letterbox, clothesline, and got a landscaper to lay grass on our side yard. With about 5 days to spare, we hired a 3 tonne truck and with the help of family and friends, moved everything over in a day and just had to tidy up our old rental.


Its now January 2015, and I would say that most of the house is completed with a little additional paving at the back of the house and building a sand pit for my kids…which I hope to get done in the next few weeks.

Was it worth all the strain, arguments over colours, financial stress (lots of it) to have our own place? YES!

Corny as it may sound, I was sitting outside in my alfresco watching my kids play in the yard 2 days ago and actually felt that I love my new home (yes LOVE)…and looked over at my wife and told her I was glad we decide to get out of renting and… out of Singapore.


At this moment all is good, but situations may change tomorrow. But for now, I will just enjoy every second. Here’s a set of pics of construction at certain stages and my yard.



My little haven


From asingaporeanson: 
Please allow me to express my appreciation for taking time and effort to pen your construction journey. Congratulations Jay, enjoy your house. You deserve it.

4 comments:

  1. Good on you, Sanjay! It's a well written article, concise and to the point. Thanks for the info. Will be very useful when my turn comes to build a house.

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  2. We've been living in Perth for 6 years. Like you we rented a house NOR for a year and then decided to own our own land and house. We spent about 3 months looking at established homes and got tired of the process. Then suddenly opportunity knocked in Mullaloo and we bought a newly built house, just minutes from the beach.

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  3. Good on you mate! Thanks for sharing.

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