Sunday, 7 April 2013
It’s time to build a house–Part 1 Picking a Block?
So where did it start? I think it started when me and my wife were both waiting for our children to finish with the toilet. We did know this house was only going to be a short part of our journey through life. It was great when the kids were babies, now they were growing up it was time for our house to grow. Unfortunately extending our house was not an option. The question was to buy or build?
The first place to look was at our budget, how much could we afford? A meeting with the bank soon established what we could borrow, however we had to decide how much we wanted to borrow and set that budget. Don’t be fooled into borrowing too much, if you go the maximum will you still be able to live? I am a cautious guy so looked at what would be comfortable without effecting our family lifestyle (I would hate to lose our weekends away or the kids sport).
Now we had a ball park of what would could spend the question is what can that buy? My wife wanted to build, me I wanted just to be able to move straight into a bigger house. So we compromised, we started looking at what was available in the area we wanted to live in our price range. It was depressing. There weren’t many houses around in the price bracket we were looking at, and none felt like a home, and none were what I would call newish (under ten years old). I know when buying an established house many of the dreams and wish list items may have to be compromised on, but nothing came close. So far it looked as if my wife would win.
Having struck out with an established home its time to think new build. Now we have two questions (well about a million really). The first where is there land available. The second is what type of house is the dream? Luckily we live in a growing area so there were a few new estates opening to choose from. The best luck was that a new estate was about to open just next to where we lived. As it was going to be a first release of land, there would be a ballot system to gain land. To be in the ballot you had to select just three blocks from about one hundred. How to choose?
We spent hours looking at the maps, contour plans, checking the price list, sitting out at the rural land that would become the housing development. We had a few wishes. We wanted bigger than our current block, flat land, and hopefully a view. If I knew then what I know now I would have added to that large frontage. It is amazing how much effect how wide your block is affects your choices. A wider lot means you are less limited on house size, you may be able to add the third garage or pool and gives the builder more room to work. Sloping blocks limit house design and rapidly increase building site costs. Farmland and trees can add bush fire restrictions. Planned sewer pipes, water pipes etc. may limit whether you can build on or two story homes and add extra building costs. All of this needs to be taken into very serious consideration, a bad choice now could add up to a lot of money in the long run. As we only had one shot we had to try and pick the best blocks we could and keep the fingers crossed. We found a block 20m wide and 45m long, which in todays standards is big, not the biggest but big and allowed enough money left over to build the dream.
We were lucky in the lottery and got our number two choice; big. flat and an amazing view. Now to pick a home.