To Build a Home in 2024?
What is it really like building a house in the current economic environment? As we reflect on an interesting and also volatile few years in the industry we thought we would share some of our thoughts and advice to anyone who may be wanting to embark on the new home journey. You will be asking some questions, where do we start? Do we renovate or build new? What are the ‘standard’ inclusions? Does every builder offer the same inclusions? Read on to find out about the Weststyle process, inclusions and journey.
What does the economy say?
Supply chain issues, price rises and labour shortages reached a peak through 2021 and 2022 but have settled this past 6-12 months.
CoreLogic reports suggest that growth in both labour and material costs is easing in WA from a recent high of 4.3% in late 2021 down to 0.2% in this September quarter of 2023. Yet unfortunately we still face labour shortages and therefore will have to wait at least another 12 months for a positive turn in the cost to build a new home.
Build or renovate?
The decision between building new and renovating is typically based on circumstance. Building a new home is popular for those that want complete control over a customised layout for their home and don’t want to compromise. With the lifestyle changes that have occurred over the last few years with adapting to the COVID-19 situation, people have worked out exactly what they need from their home, adding in spaces for working and exercising from home, or designing for multi-generational family requirements from the onset.
Renovations are popular for those people that want to reduce waste and carbon emissions. It results in being able to stay in the location that they want to and if it is a small-scale renovation then it will be more cost effective as well. However, more often than not, some compromises are needed to deal with existing structure or services.
What to ask your builder?
Be as prepared as you can be going into a meeting with a builder or designer, understand your non-negotiables and be confident on what your total budget is. Have a wish list of items that you could live without but would like to include if the budget permits it. Some important questions to ask:
Timelines; how long are their current jobs taking to build?
Inclusions; what exactly is included? What items will be left for you to complete?
Supply issues and price rises; do they foresee any problems within the next 12-24 months with their current trade base and suppliers?
The business; how long have they been building homes? How many homes do they build a year? How many staff do they have and who will you be dealing with throughout the process?
Accolades and testimonials; what awards have they won? Can you visit display homes? Or view testimonials from previous clients?
What to expect…and what does ‘Turnkey’ really mean?
A turnkey home should be a home that is priced with absolutely everything you need for your family to just ‘turn the key’ and move in once it is complete.
Some builders will advertise their homes as ‘turnkey’ but what you need to look out for are items that are commonly not included, or have allowances applied to them that might not be quite enough for what you are wanting. Some things to keep an eye out for:
- Siteworks and retaining
- Blinds / window coverings
- Data cabling
If you do have ‘allowances’ assigned to some categories then we would recommend doing some research and talking to your builder about the appropriateness and relevance of these figures to make sure you are happy with your selections and don’t incur any cost blowouts.
What about Weststyle?
Weststyle are a family run business founded in 1968, we guide clients through the design and build process from start to finish, taking a holistic approach and considering the entire lifespan of the project and the building. From client lifestyle, to site sensitivity, budget and personal aesthetics, our skilled design, management and construction teams execute to the highest possible standards.
At your first enquiry you will meet our Managing Director, also President of the HIA WA, Tony, our Lead Architect Mary and Senior Designer Peter. This is your team throughout our entire process. Our clients spend time with other staff members which include our interior designer, accountant, site supervisor. We pride ourselves on collaboration and not only do we all work well together, we have fun together to. You will never feel ‘handballed’ from one department to the next, we are all on this journey with you. You will have the design team at immediate hand throughout the entire project lifespan.
At Weststyle we begin the process with a blank page, we are focussed on delivering what our clients want in their dream home and committed to achieving this within their budget. This means that our bespoke homes are completely customisable and this isn’t limited to the design and layout, we are also flexible with styles and construction methods. Following the design phase and council approval some builders may lock you in and build only what is on the plans, this does ensure an efficient process but you may miss design opportunities. Weststyle’s flexibility and customisation runs throughout the process and our designers will always suggest small changes and improvements if they see an opportunity along the way.
For most custom builders, including Weststyle, items such as landscaping and window treatments are included, absolutely everything is included if the client and budget permits. We are passionate about delivering a polished and complete product at the end of the journey.
How do we determine the costs of a custom built home? Weststyle have been building homes for over 50 years. We draw on this experience, assess the needs and wants of the client and the level of finishes they are after, taking into consideration their overall budget and the size of the home they want we will work out a cost per square metre which will provide an accurate estimate for their home. Moving forward with the design of the home our in-house estimation team will fine tune the price for construction. Cost per square metre gives people a good idea of what their home will cost to build at concept stage but once the design is finalised and pricing becomes more detailed this square metre rate doesn’t apply as different spaces have different costs (for example garage vs kitchen).
Advice from our team would be to view testimonials and examples from past clients, we encourage potential clients of ours to do so. Testimonials are one of the best ways to really find out what the customer service experience is like from the builder and this is so important. We don’t have permanent display homes, our clients are kind enough to let us open their homes to the public upon completion so that we can showcase our work. All of our clients will happily let us bring potential clients through their homes to see and feel our design styles and workmanship, it is a fantastic way to reassure clients of our skills.
As our vision statement says, our objective is to ‘Deliver the perfect home, with exceptional service, every time.’