It's an exciting time when you make the decision to build a new home.

It's an exciting time when you make the decision to build a new home. 

BE INSPIRED: It's an exciting time when you make the decision to build a new home and there are a number of ways to ensure your dreams are realised.

BE INSPIRED: It's an exciting time when you make the decision to build a new home and there are a number of ways to ensure your dreams are realised.

Trust is a major factor here, as we are committing probably the largest amount of money in our lifetime to something intangible. At this stage, it's still a dream and we need the experts to make it a reality.

There are several different approaches to building a new home, but I'll look at the two most popular options - design and build (custom) and a project home (from a portfolio of fixed price and set plans).

A custom-designed home would require a sit-down meeting with an architect appointed by the builder, who will require a brief from the client. This list of requirements from this meeting is to accommodate your chosen block, determine the size of home required, price parameters, views, style of home and a host of customised instructions to be reconciled by the architect. You may want a pool or a triple garage, and that's the beauty of the custom process, to be able to tailor your home exactly to your requirements. 

The benefits of the custom process are getting the house design you want, capturing optimum orientation and views, within the price guidelines you requested. 

The cons of this process are mostly the unknowns. The cost is harder to gauge until final plans are drawn and estimated, trusting that the architect will deliver exactly what you are looking for, and the time factor, as this is a slower process in the initial planning stages. 

Project builders tick a lot of boxes for many people. From the beginning, as you walk through their display homes, you get to view their work, their particular style of home and a price is available on inquiry. Leafing through the portfolio of plans available, a sales consultant will be able to site suitable plans onto your chosen block and a price (estimate) is given. Some variables are to be expected, bushfire ratings and energy ratings. Covenants that may apply are estimated until slab engineering, soil testing etc is completed.

The fact that you have a ballpark figure for your build is attractive to many people, as they can compare 'apples to apples' with a simple walk through the display village. Suitable for first home buyers, investment properties, those on a budget and for clients who know what they want and are happy to get on with it. The cons of this process are compromising on some aspects of your new home design. Inclusions and size are fixed and more difficult to change and can incur higher margins as variations.

Paula Ross is an Albury interior decorator, paula-ross@hotmail.com.

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