“Through this process we had a house designed exactly as we wanted”.
We purchased a fairly difficult site to build on, and for 2 months we visited every display home we could find in Perth and looked through hundreds of plans of numerous builders. We had a very specific design in mind for our corner block. We wanted a reverse living house with garage at the back.
We ended up working with three builders, of which all were very set on that fact we couldn’t build what we wanted on our block due to the high slope (4m fall back to front) of the block. We accepted this, as we assumed since they were all telling us the same thing it must be true. During this period each builder drew up plans from our brief that in a round-a-bout way matched what we wanted, but none really ‘fitted’ perfectly. Even though each builder knew what our budget was they all came out higher, one was even $200k higher than what we had originally told them – and to get it back down to within our budget we had too many things.
This process was very frustrating, the main reason being was that we weren’t getting independent advice on whether what these builders were telling us was actually the case, or whether it was that just what they wanted to do, rather than what was possible. I did some more research on what our options were and stumbled across a couple of Building Brokers, one of which was New Home Building Brokers. Interestingly enough the two other brokers we contact did not return our calls.
We met with Tristan within a week of speaking to him and it was very interesting to get ‘his opinion’ on what we had been told, with a lot of what he said making sense. He was very open with us, and we waited on getting final pricing back from two of the builders before we made any decisions. Tristan was aware of this and was happy that we took this approach.
Tristan then went and did some research of his own for us to find what we had already, that there were no products available that suited our design brief. Because our budget was so tight we decided that we needed to have our plans drawn and then use the tender process to find a builder that fitted both our budget and ability to build on our ‘terms’. Tristan was invaluable in this process, as he was able to recommend a designer that could draw the plans to our brief, at a very reasonable cost. Through this process we had a house designed exactly as we wanted, without having to worry about costly changes that you experience through a builder.
The design was finished quickly and within a month it was ready for tender, this Tristan handled and we received quotes back from a number of builders. This then enabled us to evaluate each builder on their merits and price, knowing that what we were comparing was the same across the board without hidden costs or shortcuts. Tristan’s independent advice at this point was critical in us being able to know exactly what everything meant and he pointed out all the things that a ‘person off the street’ just would not notice.
In the end we didn’t choose the cheapest builder, we chose one that was going to provide us a flexible build, in that we would be able to work closely with the builder on a number of items. Tristan throughout the process he stayed very independent and was able to offer advice on anything we asked him, and he did it in a way that was easy for us to understand. This was a very different experience to the ‘salesmen’ approach we received from the builders directly.