The demand for housing in Sydney is rising. The weather is great, and because Australia’s population all resides within 50km of the ocean, we’re pretty much a nation of beach lovers. It could also be that the interior isn’t that developed – or particularly conducive for habitation. Either way, a lot of us end up in ‘beach houses.
Urban dwellers are mostly restricted to apartments. They may not have the space or budget to fork out on a house with a yard, so they buy a flat or rent one. It offers the convenience of cosmopolitan amenities, but can be crowded, with no outdoor access. If you’re lucky, you might get a tiny balcony and a parking slot for your car, but you generally don’t have room.
Some residents are lucky enough to buy in the suburbs. They may have a job with good access to credit, or maybe they saved up. Many of these first-time buyers want as much bang as they can get for their cash. Buying in the suburbs offers more square footage than the same amount can rent in urban centres. It’s also more spacious, especially if you have a family – on two legs or four. You can get other amenities, like a yard and a pool.
However, your credit line will dictate the type of home you can purchase, so you may end up living in something far smaller than you’d prefer. Or maybe your location will be remote, to justify the ‘fairness’ of the list price. This is the first reason some home owners would rather build instead of buying. If you put part of the budget towards an empty lot, the rest of the money can be channelled into construction.
Because it’s your build, you can design it exactly the way you want, including any special needs or quirky features you can’t get with a cookie cutter gated community. Customising lets you inject your personality into your home, strengthening your emotional attachment and making it fully yours. It also deepens customer satisfaction, because owners don’t have to compromise. When they’re buying, they may have to settle.
For example, they may pick a house with fewer bedrooms, just so they can get a pretty view. Or they might sacrifice yard finishing for a larger kitchen. When you build, you can specify your exact dimensions for every room, and you can have other requirements installed, like wheelchair ramps, skylights, or cat flaps. You can even have them build you an office instead of converting a regular bedroom. The ‘office’ can have corporate layouts to help you focus.
When you buy a ready-made house, you’re likely to keep it as is, because any modifications will cost extra. Building from scratch allows you to be as fussy as you like, dictating everything from the shape of the windows to the colour of the roofing tiles. Construction has to be approved by your local council, but when you work with a good builder, they’ll deal with the government on your behalf, acquiring all the necessary permits and approvals.
Instead of spending months touring houses, you can sit with your builder and tell them the type of house you want. They’ll visit the site, get guidelines from the council (e.g. height limits and utility lines), then draft a sketch. Some builders have 3D technology so they create a model of your dream home, allowing you to review every aspect including colour schemes and furniture. You can ‘pull off’ the roof and explore the floor plan, or take a virtual tour.
The weather in our part of the world makes outdoor dining possible year-round, and by customising your house, you can tailor that experience for yourself. You can build an alfresco dining area complete with in-built pizza ovens, outdoor heating options, and bug repellent devices. You can also install a pool and tasteful fencing.
Design your dream
Using the right construction crew is a big part of it. Some crews are comprehensive, so they’ll cover everything. They operate as builders and project managers, helping you select pool builders, landscapers, hardscapers, plumbers, electricians … all the labour you need. They will coordinate all these teams using house plans you’ve approved, and they’ll help you source building materials as well.
Because the cost can be overwhelming, they’ll allow you to build in phases and pay as you go. Work with a company that has experience, a solid portfolio, and a set of completed houses you can evaluate. With the right team, building a custom home design is the best housing investment you can make, in terms of cash, time, and emotion. It’s also the best way to truly own the house of your dreams, so build, don’t settle.