What do I need to know about building a custom home?

In the world of high-end residential construction, one type of house stands out above the rest – the custom-built home. Building a custom home typically involves a lot of planning, design work, and a large budget. They can require multiple contractors and builders, and sometimes even architects. However, the final product is something that most people dream of owning.

While custom builds come with some risks, many homeowners choose to take the plunge because of how rewarding they can be. You’ll find yourself living in a stunning home that was custom-designed and built just for you and your family, with unique features to suit your family’s lifestyle that no other home has.

Some things to consider before building a custom home:

Custom home builders can build a beautiful home in your dream location in Geelong.
2022 HIA Western Victoria Regional Housing Awards, Best Custom Home, Torquay’

Once you decide you want to build a custom home, it is easy to get excited, and you may want to start right away. But it is not as simple as pouring the concrete slab and bringing in the tradesmen. Plans can be complex, multiple steps are involved, and it will test your patience. But, if you have the right team of experts, the whole custom build process can be an enjoyable one.

Do your research on custom home builders

You want a builder who is trustworthy, reliable, skilled and experienced. It’s important you take time to research architects and custom builders by asking friends, family members and co-workers for recommendations. You can also check online reviews or even knock on the door of a recently built home you’ve watched be constructed to ask the owners about their custom build experience.

Here are some important questions you should ask your builder:

  • Are they licensed?
  • Are they insured with all necessary and relevant insurance?
  • Have they ever had outstanding disputes with the state building commission or experienced bankruptcy?
  • How long will the building likely take, and what is the timing for crucial project stages?
  • Who will be managing the construction and the work site?
  • Are they getting referrals from their previous clients?

Don’t hesitate to visit their recent projects and enquire about the details of your building plans to ensure they understand what’s involved.

The holy trinity

The three most important people you’ll hire for your custom home project are the ones who will help determine what the end result looks like: the architect, builder and interior designer. But many others are involved in the building process — plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, landscapers — and they each bring something unique to the table.

Read all the details in your contract

The contract you sign with your custom home builder is often one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during construction. It lays out how each party will work together, what responsibilities both parties will have, and what happens if something goes wrong.

When reviewing your contract, it’s essential to ensure that the following important elements are included:

  • Builders’ insurance provisions and workmanship warranties.
  • Verify that the final price stated in the contract aligns with the agreed-upon amount, and understand the allowances and conditions concerning potential cost variations.
  • The contract should include detailed drawings and plans, a transparent payment process and schedule, and deposit requirements.
  • It is essential to have a cooling-off period stipulated in the contract after signing.

Spend the time to read your contract before you sign it and make sure you understand all of the details. If you don’t fully understand it, do not sign it. These precautions will help protect your interests and make sure you have a clear agreement with your builder.

Know your limitations

There are many factors involved in making a home look great, including design, materials, and the craftsmanship of the trades. People often think they know more than they do about construction, and even though you may have the best intentions, accept your limitations. You hired an expert for a reason, lean on their knowledge to build your dream home successfully.

Is your floor plan functional?

The location and block of land will significantly influence the layout, orientation and custom design of your new home. How big is your property? Do you have a sloping block? These are factors needed to be taken into consideration by your architect during the home design process to create a floor plan that is unique and workable. You don’t want to build something that looks great but isn’t practical.

At the same time, take some time to think about how you will live in your new home so that what is designed will be functional and suit your particular needs and the way your family lives. Is there a certain part of your home that needs to be accessible? Do you want a kitchen island that’s big enough for everyone to gather around? Does the dining area need to be open to the rest of the house, or could it be tucked away somewhere else?

Design with the future in mind

Have a long-term vision. If you’re building a home you want to stay in for years, consider what might be valuable down the road: extra bedrooms, a home office, and a more functional laundry room. As your family expands, so do your priorities.

Custom Home Building with Hamlan

The beauty of designing and building a custom house is incorporating exactly what you want. Our talented architects and interior design team are experts at turning our clients’ dream custom homes into reality.

You will see countless customised Hamlan Homes throughout the Greater Geelong region, dotted along the Surf Coast and beyond.

Check out our client homes in Ocean Grove and Torquay here.

Custom houses in Geelong, an ideal location for families.
Acreage home built in Bannockburn.
To find out more about building a custom Hamlan home

contact us today.

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