Custom built homes versus Project homes

I have been a builder in my own right for almost a decade now and during this time I have learnt a series of vital do’s and don’ts, which is central to the learning curve and experience of any building professional.  I used to work for a very large and popular project builder and then had the absolute contrast of working as a luxury custom builder, so it’s pretty safe to say I am very experienced in this realm.

Don’t get me wrong as both have a very important role in the building and construction market in Western Australia. However, I think it’s very important to distinguish the difference two realms, especially when investing so much money into the process.

I am a custom builder and if I can sell you one I will, as my opinion is designing something specific to your wants and needs that perfectly complements your site and which will give you a vastly better result. Of course that all depends of who is designing it – you will see consistent to all the material I write that there is a huge emphasis on design and the importance of employing the skills of a highly talented designer.

Another important point is to distinguish between qualified and talented, because there is a big difference. The project market is about volume and without it they suffer a great deal. It’s a biscuit factory; those scrumptious little tasty treats that you just want to gobble down, and by the time you have finished the packet wished that you hadn’t done it. In fact it leaves rather an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

In the project market they’re trying to create the illusion of value. In fact they’re trying to make their product look as inviting as possible compared to their competitor. In principle there’s nothing wrong with that as this is what the market demands.  When I enter a project builder’s display home, even I have to admit they do sometimes do look pretty good on the surface. Some, however, look pretty terrible and I wonder how they sell anything because if you take away all the beautiful fabulous things that make it look so inviting and imagine something different, what do you have? Imagine that same home with the beautiful timber floors removed, (which many in this market can’t afford), the lavish curtains and blinds, the expensive indoor and outdoor furniture, the stunning light fittings and wonderful pool complimented with expensive landscaping. What do you have? In reality it’s simply a standard home – functionally wise it has all the requirements of a house; 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a garage. But here’s the thing; does it really suit your personal requirements? Are the living areas oriented toward the north? Will the sun filter into these areas on a sunny winter’s day? If you answered no to any of the above, your dream home is well off mark.

A custom built home will be designed specific to your wants and needs. The living areas will face north and the sun will enter through your windows during those sunny winters’ days. You will have a front elevation that looks unique, with different ceiling levels and architectural features that will intrigue your dinner guests. I am a custom builder, not a biscuit factory. I only take on selected projects to ensure the highest level of design and construction. You only have to look at my testimonials to see the wonderful relationships I have created.

If you are after a project home that is a maybe a display in your local area, make sure you get an accurate price. What I mean by this, bearing in mind I worked for project builders for many years so I have plenty of experience with this, is ensure it includes the extras costed before you sign anything. You don’t want to be walking out of your prestart wondering what just happened. Ask for those costings and insist on an electrical plan – does it include the installation of my light fittings? Does it include air-conditioning electrical? You’re going to need air-conditioning right? So why isn’t it included?

Remember what I said about making their product appear to be of more value than their competitor? Well this is exactly what I am talking about! Don’t allow yourself be bullied by your sales representative saying things like; “Oh don’t worry about that, that gets done at prestart,” because the reality is the willingness to assist is going to be more favourable to you prior to signing. If you don’t like the costing of upgrading your kitchen cupboards at prestart, what is your alternative really? You either accept the price or your cupboards don’t get upgraded. My advice is to get each and every one of those items costed prior to signing. The reality is that you are going to be far more aware of what your building project is going to cost you. Forewarned is forearmed.

Here’s the thing – after going through the whole scenario at looking through your options with a project builder you will have to take on board the hidden extras; the many extras that actually shouldn’t be extras. On a lighter note the general rule of thumb is one light point and GPO to each room and seriously, who can exist on a practical level like that? You might actually find that the Custom Builder may not actually be that far from your reach. It’s all bricks and mortar. How fantastic would it be to have a design that is practical and functional for your family, meets the individual specifics with regards to orientation and maximises the topography of your particular site? Only a gifted Custom Builder can achieve that for you.

Never rule out the Custom Builder as there are so many fantastic advantages of progressing with a small builder, especially the personalized service. To be able to deal directly with the owner of the business that is actually building your new home as opposed to having to jump through a series of hoops to speak to the right person when using a project builder, is a great luxury.

If we are unable to help you for whatever reason, we will always explain why and point you in the right direction. This way you will walk away fully equipped with the necessary information required to approach your next project.

Remember it costs nothing to talk, so if you are considering building your own home, speak to us first for honest, informed advice that’s based on your best interests and not ours!

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