The ins and outs of project homes

Mar 21, 2017

When it comes to building a new home, project homes have become a very popular option amongst Sydney-siders. Knowing what to expect and how to navigate the process will help you secure the house of your dreams.

Legacy Property has talked to two industry experts, Icon Homes Director Adam Crawford and Eden Brae Home State Sales Manager Bill Hawie, to get the lowdown on project homes.

Icon Homes Director Adam Crawford says there are many good reasons to go for a project home.

“One of the biggest advantages of building a project home is that you will be building an architecturally designed home at an affordable price,” Crawford tells Legacy Property.

He says there will be numerous “house designs to choose from, all of which will have their own style and are flexible to fit on different sized blocks”.

An often-overlooked upside, he adds, is that project homes have a fair degree of flexibility in terms of aspects like changing floor plans and choosing finishes.

Crawford says that while alterations to the external footprint of dwellings are commonly restricted by law, internal changes to home layouts can often be made.

“Many clients explore the options of changing layouts, or increasing and decreasing room sizes to meet their own preferences,” Crawford says.

One negative, Crawford concedes, is that the design of a project home is less personalised than one helmed by an architect.

“Although project homes do allow flexibility to modify designs to meet their own brief, it is more difficult to entirely meet a client’s preferences through a project home build in comparison.”

Eden Brae Homes State Sales Manager Bill Hawie also backs the suitability of project homes for family living.

Specifically, he says project homes make good financial sense because they are energy efficient, which translates into cheaper household utility bills.

He also advises that prospective buyers decide on a floor plan that closely fits their needs to guard against a blowout in customisation costs.

“Complete customisation will escalate the construction price,” Hawie tells Legacy Property.

“Choose a design that broadly suits your needs and fits on your block of land. Most builders will already have a high level of quality finishes and inclusions.”

To keep the process of building the home moving quickly, Hawie advises clients to be prompt when accepting the tender and building contract, to be ready to engage on colour selection and make sure their financing is ready to go.

At a glance: The project home process in 10 steps

  1. Plan your budget and speak to your lender.
  2. Choose a design that suits your needs and fits on your land. Talk to your chosen builder about upgrades and any design changes you want to make.
  3. Review the indicative price provided by the builder and decide if you want to go to formal tender.
  4. The builder will submit a formal tender which will give you a final, fixed price including any additional site costs that will be incurred in the building of your house.
  5. Sign and return the tender being careful to check that the tender pricing is fixed and doesn’t include any “Provisional Allowances or Costs”in relation to site costs during construction.
  6. Work with the builder to finalise the house design including any special requests or changes.
  7. Attend your colour and tile appointments to choose bricks, roofing, tiles, paint colours, bathroom and kitchen features, carpets and more.
  8. Sit back and enjoy watching the construction of your new home.
  9. Experience the joy of moving into your brand new home when construction is completed.
  10. Within the first 6 months, report any building defects to your builder so they can fix them.