Building a new home can be one of the most exciting times in your life and you want everything to turn out right. The best way, of course, to see what’s available is to visit display homes – window shopping on a grand scale.
But, before you do that, think about how you live and what you want. The big questions are: How long do we want to live here? What will our family look like in five years, 10 years? How will the house need to adapt to accommodate this?
Think about the design of the house itself. What do we want in the kitchen? Will we be entertaining a lot? Do we need a bedroom / nursery near the main bedroom or do we want our sleeping area zoned away from the children’s bedrooms? What sort of living areas do we want? Is it likely we would put in a pool later?
Research online – look at plans and façades and see what is included and what costs extra. It’s vital that you work out your budget up front so that you don’t fall in love with a house you may not be able to afford.
Note down all the questions that you want to ask the consultant. If you have already bought land, take your land specs – size, orientation, etc – with you and check that the designs you are interested in will suit your block.
Take a tape measure, and the measurements of any large pieces of furniture that you will want to bring with you so that you can check that they will fit.
When you visit your selection of display homes, bring the kids along and get them engaged in looking with you. If they hate something, you can discuss it immediately.
Measure specific spaces such as the fridge opening in the kitchen, bearing in mind that fridges need at least five centimetres all around to work efficiently. Do the same in the laundry to ensure your appliances will fit.
Interact with the home. Get into the shower or bath, especially if you are tall or heavy, to make sure there are no awkward surprises later. Stand up close to benches, reach up to cupboards, think about the positioning of appliances in the kitchen. Sit or lie on the floor, especially in the bedrooms, to get a feel for the room sizes and layouts.
Remember that the display home will be the best of the builder’s work, so if the work isn’t perfect here, it will probably be worse in “real life”. Look closely!
The display home will also be well-appointed and many of the fixtures may be upgrades. You are probably not seeing the standard home, but the luxury version. Ask the consultant. Tell them your budget and discuss the extras and variations.
Lots of photos and videos are essential, but remember to differentiate between the homes you visit, so that it doesn’t all become a big blur. Each time you go to another display, take a photo of the board outside first or, if there isn’t one, write the details on a sheet of paper and photograph that before you go in. Comment on the video as you walk and note things you particularly like and things you would change. Put your family in the shot to get an idea of size and scale.
Weekends are likely to be the busiest time in most display homes. Make a shortlist of your favourites and go back during the week, when you can look around at your leisure and ask all the questions you want of the consultant.
Images: Evergreen, Spring Farm
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