First home buyers Alanna and Henry received the keys to their brand new Ausmar home in November 2020. Alanna has been kind enough to share her top 10 tips for other first home buyers to make the experience just as enjoyable as theirs.
Building a home can be such a daunting process, especially when it’s your first home. I was putting off the process at first because I just didn’t know where to start. When the Federal Government announced the HomeBuilder grant we knew it was time to bite the bullet and start seriously looking into building our first home. We learned a few things along the way – here are our top ten tips to help make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
1: Do your research
This is cliche, I know, but it seems like there’s an infinite number of builders, with an infinite number of floor plans. It can be so overwhelming! We started the process by looking online at builders in our preferred area to see their style of homes, what other customers were saying about them and their price points. We found this to be so helpful in narrowing down the initial list of display homes we wanted to look at.
2: Visit display homes
Some of the homes we thought we’d love turned out to be pokey and impractical when we visited the display home in person. Visiting the displays was a really good way to get a feel for the designs we had shortlisted, as well as better understanding the different quality and inclusions provided by each builder. Ausmar’s Lockyer display at Newport was the first home we visited, and the last. We just kept coming back to it because we loved the way it felt, so we knew it was the right home for us.
3: Compare established homes to new builds
We looked at buying a few established homes, but when we compared them to the price of building new, we realised we’d be sacrificing on the style and age of the house if we bought something that was already established within our budget. Building new, and from Home in 8, meant that we could get exactly what we wanted within a quick timeframe that wasn’t much longer than the settlement period of an established house. Being eligible for the first home buyer and HomeBuilder grants also helped our decision!
4: Use the expertise of New Home Consultants
Our New Home Consultant Tyrone was so helpful. We didn’t realise that on top of knowing all about what Ausmar had to offer, that he’d also be able to help us find the right block of land. He’s worked in the industry and area for a long time, so he made lots of recommendations on the type of home that would work for our lifestyle and budget, and what land was available for sale in the area. Tyrone presented us with various land options and helped us to decide on the right option.
5: Spend time in the area you want to live before you buy
Both Henry and I grew up in the Bayside area, and I also work nearby. So we knew we loved the area and wanted to buy our first home here so we could be close to family, friends and work. We already knew a fair bit about Stockland’s Newport development, but once we seriously started looking at building, we went for more neighbourhood walks and visited the local cafes to get a better feel for the area. It helped us to be sure that we wanted to build in Newport.
6: Trust your Atelier Design Experts
We were pretty confident that we knew the style of home we wanted – lots of neutrals, with a slight coastal vibe. This was cemented when we saw one of Ausmar’s display homes at Newport designed by Darren Lockyer. It was the exact look we were after, so it made our colour selection process much easier. We’re told we did it in a record time of 2 hours! Having said that, there were a few things we got caught up on – such as the colour and texture of carpet. We thought we wanted a dark grey, but our colour consultant suggested we go with “Andersens Hazel Grove Everett” which is more of a ‘greige’ to suit our tiles. It took a little bit of convincing, but we’re so glad we listened to her advice because it looks absolutely amazing! Remember, interior designers do this all day everyday, so they know what works.
7: Choose a reputable builder
We’d heard so many horror stories about building a new home, and I’ll admit, we were a little scared of the process initially. We’d done some research on Ausmar before signing our contract and found that they’d won lots of awards and had a really good reputation with past customers so it helped put our minds at ease. I think it made all the difference for a positive experience by picking a professional, well-regarded builder.
8: Speak with your bank early
Finance was really the only hiccup we experienced. Our bank needed lots of documentation from us, and they weren’t prepared for such a quick build. We were really lucky that they turned everything around quickly in the end, and could make all of our progress payments on time, but it did stress us out initially. I’d recommend that you have all of your ID and credit history documents on hand, and speak with your bank early to ensure you can get into your home quickly.
9: Choose a home design that will grow with you
Ausmar’s Bellevue design was the perfect choice for us. It gives us enough space for friends to visit and stay, and will still be suitable if we’re in this house when we decide to start a family. If we move, we know that this design will also suit other home buyers at different life stages.
10: Move your partner to another state for the duration of your build
Look – this one’s a joke. I do not recommend moving your partner to another state when you’re building your first home! Henry works in the army and was deployed straight after our colour selection, not returning home until after handover. We were unable to even speak with each other throughout most of the build, so while I missed him a lot, it was probably helpful that we couldn’t keep going over our selections and wanting to make changes! I’m so glad our supervisor Liam kept me completely in the loop and was happy to answer any of my questions.
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