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22ndJul2020

IGTV: What comes first the land or plan?

  • Article by: Samara Amadi


What comes first- the land or plan?         

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Samara:

Hi, welcome to our very first live! My name is Samara, I'm one of the co-founders of Homeshelf. If you're not familiar with Homeshelf, we help people looking to build, providing options of designs and builders for all kinds of builds. Knockdown rebuilds, custom, townhouses and new estate builds, to save you time searching around all the builders and their websites.

...So tonight, I really want to delve into a topic that comes up a lot when I'm talking to people. What comes first, the land or the plan?

...To keep this more simple, I'll be focusing more on estate builds ...

For this reason, I've invited Matthias from Aston Homes to chat with us tonight. Aston Homes are an experienced estate builder in Melbourne's West & North.

Hey, Matthias.


Matthias:

Hi, Samara. Good evening.

Samara:

...Thanks for coming...  Let's jump straight to it. When I'm talking with people looking to build, one of the first questions that I'm always asking is, "Do you have land?" Would that be the same with you?

Matthias:

Yes, correct. That is ultimately, of course, the perfect starting point to see okay, where is the customer at? Has he started the process already? Yes, he has done a commitment already, and then it gives us a reference point to start with, okay, he has got a certain size block of land. That helps us because then we can start saying, "Okay, only these type of floor plans or home designs will fit."

Samara:

Yeah, definitely. There are a lot of different standard plans to fit the estates and most builders have a range of plans to fit those standard block sizes.

Matthias:

Absolutely, yes.

Samara:

If you haven't chosen your land yet though, for people that are still in that discovery phase and still thinking about how much it's going to cost and what land they should use. What are some of the things they should be looking for when choosing land?

Matthias:

Okay. With land, we have to look at a couple of angles. One is, it needs to be sufficient for what they're actually trying to achieve with the house. It needs to be accommodating to the style of house that they're looking after. The size is important, not to go too small if they're expecting a big and wide entrance, for example, if we have an eight and a half wide block, and then the customer's disappointed if they only have a relatively narrow or a single garage. You need to make sure to come first to a builder, talk to us and we can give them an idea, "Okay, for what you want, look roughly in the section of that size because we can obviously help with that."

That's one aspect, but obviously, one huge aspect of your land is living. So living in a sense of, we need to make sure the location suits the lifestyle. It is very important to not underestimate, "Oh, it fits in my budget. Ah, we snatched this one up." But then they realize, "Oh, actually it's not close to a freeway entrance and I always need to travel quickly to the city," or something like that. "What is my lifestyle like if I want to be always out. I'm a dad, I want my kids under my arm. I want to go to a cafe." Well, I need to choose something where that is there.

Samara:

Yeah, definitely. When looking at the different blocks, some of the things I hear come up are setbacks on blocks...

Matthias:

Yes, correct. Setbacks are just one of those rules... You don't have to know all those rules. That's what we are there for. We will tell you all these things... Let's say typical question is, "I have a 350 square meter block. Why can I only put a 22.5 sq home on there?"

And that is because there is something called the Res Code.. it's to protect you and your neighbors that you all have a really nice place to live. And that for example says, "Well, you can only put a house that is 60% covering your land.".. So from the footpath in the front to when the house starts, you have to have a certain distance. And that is usually something around four meters.

If we go for really smaller lots, under 300 square meters, it changes, but again, very technical, but you don't have to worry about all these things. We will help you with that...

Samara:

Yeah, for sure. And... the way the plans are made, they take into account those setbacks anyway, like a 12.5 x 28 plan is going to take into account those front setbacks and the typical space that you need around the home.

Matthias:

Absolutely. That is exactly what ... we as the builder, we have to do...

The other day we had somebody come in, he said, "Oh, I have a 40 metre long block." And he said he's got a 10 metre setback. And that is then obviously a different scenario. But on usual terms, what usually happens and how the lot sizes are currently, you can pretty much go to any catalogue and at least from our builder side, I can say those fit.

Samara:

And minimum house sizes as well, I've heard with some blocks for instance that are quite large and people, maybe they've got quite a tight budget and they want to put quite a small house on that lot. Some estates have guidelines as to the size of house you can put on it?

Matthias:

Correct, but that now is something that you would have to then discuss when you buy your block of land and you have the idea to just put a really small house on a quite large of a block because usually, those sizes that you just mentioned are really very, very small. So it's very unusual. Someone who wants a big land usually wants also at least a decent size house. So it's not very common to get that request, but if, then I would highly suggest talk to your land agent and say, "Look, this is my idea. Can I do that?" They will be the ones who know their estate guidelines.

Samara:

Okay... So... thinking about people's dreams about their home, they've been thinking about it for a long time. Some people may have some ideas on their design... maybe with a wide entry or rear access to the garage and things like that. Those things are going to... require a wider frontage, and that's going to be important to think about when you're choosing your land.

Matthias:

Yeah, exactly....

So to make sure that works, probably the best way is to.. start talking to somebody who you feel comfortable with, a builder, someone like us and say, "You know what, I always dreamed of this and that and that, how can we achieve that?" And then we'll start that conversation. I think it is important to understand that if you spend that much money, find a builder where it is a journey that you can do together... We have the expertise to say, "Okay, we'll puzzle it together. We'll make that happen."

Samara:

... And builders, have thought through all the different options and ways you can fit that on. And often their layouts have been tried and tested and they've built them before and they know that those kinds of plans work.

Matthias:

Well, it's crucial to know that it works. If we have a customer in front of us and he in the end says, "Matthias, let's go, let's build this thing." And I say, "Yeah, it's all great." And then he comes into his home and he says, "Oh my God, what have I done? This is nothing like I imagined," so that is exactly what we're trying to avoid. And there then comes experience from head-down, from directors down to drafting, to us, to make sure to listen to, "OKay, did he say he needs three living areas, really? Okay. Do you really need that?" "Yes."

Okay. Then we'll puzzle it together or in our case, most of the time, we have already a floor plan there that accommodates that.

Samara:

... So it's really about getting to know what their vision is and how they want their home to be, because often it's something that they've thought about for so long... Some people have a really strong vision... of what they want, and just really want to be guided...

Matthias:

Yes, it's usually not in between. Either somebody has a very clear idea, "I want this," or someone says, "You know what? I just want a home." All right, beautiful. Then we'll ask lots of questions and find out what does that mean, because everybody is different, everybody has an individual personality and that's important to reflect it in your home.

Samara:

And ... that's where walking through a few display homes before we've even looked at land, might help to get those ideas about whether you need the wide frontage and whether you need a study at the front or all that kind of stuff and just really having a good idea...

Matthias:

... A house is not just from pictures, scrolling through your phone. No, go out, and experience how the consultant talks to you, experience what is it, look at the quality... That's key to find something where you are in the end, not just happy with, but you want to love your home, ideally.

Samara:

...Once you've got an idea of what kind of home you want and you're looking at the land and you purchase your land, how does buying land work?... Can you tell us a bit about (that) in terms of a first home buyer?...

Matthias:

Yeah, so let's just say somebody found the land... So then you go to the land agent and you'll put a holding deposit down, something like a $1,000 ... And (usually) you have to pay something like five to 10% as a deposit....

Then it is not your land yet... So they still have to make the roads, make the footpath, put all the drainage in. And then finally once it's ready, say after six months, they've done already a lot of work ... then (they) come and say, "Okay, now... it's going to title and then settle," ...Feel free and ask your land agent how that all works...

And then hopefully in that meantime, after you've deposited your land and ...ideally three to six months before that land gets handed over to you, you need to speak to someone like me, who then works out your house. It's important not to leave it to the last month just before (it titles), for the following reason, you say to me, "Matthias, yep. This is the house. I want it." Go, we start our process. Our process, even if we are fast to go on site, we'll usually take 12-14 weeks, or let's say three months.

That is not just us doing paperwork. We need to make sure that we get the permits from the council that we're allowed to build your house exactly how we designed it for you. The developer has a say, if they like the colors to make sure the state has a high value, everybody needs to look after each other so that obviously we all want to try and achieve a good investment that the prices will go up and we all have safe and secure money.

And therefore, they will make sure that the colors and everything is correct and it is all good for the design guidelines. So they approve it. And there is communication back and forth. If there's communication back and forth, it'll always take some time. So what in the end result is, we want to make sure we don't spend time after you got your land handed over for six months, where we don't build yet because in that time you will... pay interest on that amount that we paid for the land already.

And we want to avoid that. You just pay for interest for nothing. That's why to save money, leave yourself a buffer, ideally of about five months. We're comfortable, can lock everything in, do color selection. Everything is stress-free, that's the reason of that.

Samara:

So as soon as that land is titled, you can build on it, if you're ready, you've gone through all the plans and applications with the builder, that kind of thing.

Matthias:

If everything is ready, it is only a matter of weeks, not a matter of months anymore, so that is important to know. But it is impossible to even, if we have the plans ready on the day you say, "Mathias, I want to go and deposit," we can't go next week and build your house because we need to have the permits and there is background and we need finance and you need to sign some papers and all that needs to happen. And it's also good like that. So if we don't rush, we don't do mistakes.

Samara:

Yeah, definitely. So with the build... for budgeting, if you paid for your land and you know what that costs, and then you're budgeting to go back to the bank and do the building, most builders I would say, would add on upgrades and site costs and things onto their build price. I think with Aston, you guys work a little bit differently with your Turnkey pricing, so it's a little bit easier for most people.

Matthias:

Correct.

Samara:

So in terms of working (your budget) out, usually most builders I would say add on about 20% to an advertised price or whatever, to take into account the popular upgrades and the site costs and things like that. I know you guys have some great packages with the Turnkey product that makes it a little bit easier.

Matthias:

Yeah, so 20% is a very gentle number to say. That would be great... I don't want to talk about any other builder because I don't know exactly. What I confidently can say is what we do...

Now at Aston, we display exactly how you get a home if you do not upgrade anything. So our displays have, we call them everyday inclusions. So it's basically, for other builders what would be a luxury pack, a big luxury pack. So that means stone benchtops and floor coverings and heating, cooling, even the front landscaping and driveway, because we know actually, you need this. The customer needs it. It's like selling somebody a car, but no, the wheels are not included. Sorry.

So our whole idea is, if you come to us and you like the home, we don't trick you. There are no surprises. It is exactly that, what you get. And if you want to upgrade, then that's your choice. You know exactly why and what. So if you want, who knows, maybe a skylight and raked ceiling, that is the ceilings on an angle. Well, of course you can have that. But for someone who just wants a really nice feeling, premium home, you don't have to upgrade with us.

And then there is no extra charge, even site costs. With site costs, it's a difficult one obviously because everyone has a different block... It is not about making more money when we charge for site costs, it's about the gamble of what happens if your block is the odd one and it can be scary if how much rock we have to sometimes pull out of one block.

So important is, I highly suggest always to fix the site costs and with us, especially at the moment, that is just simply included. We can include it in the price and then it's all good.

Samara:

Okay. Pretty easy. So I guess we've covered the picking, choosing the land, working out what you design, what elements in the design are really important to you and a little bit about the costs and things... What comes out of this is that it does make it easier if you can choose your land before, because then you have a lot more options when it comes to choosing the house design. It makes it easier to have a look at what's out there when you know what your parameters are.

Matthias:

Yes. So important there is, have an idea before you buy the land, roughly what's out there for that size. And then yes, go ahead, purchase that land because we have to fit that house on your block. The orientation, all these things are all council regulations and rules. We have to make sure everything is correct. And it is a beautiful, livable home that you love.

Matthias:

So in the end, you need to get your land first obviously, because then we need to tailor your house to it. But as you said, if there is something missing so far, there is an important conversation to have. And when talking about budget or talking about land and needs, so there is this trifecta of what we have to find that ideal...

We should never go over your budget because that gets you into trouble, very simple....On the other end is the needs, so what is the absolute necessary things that we have to achieve? If I have two children, well then I'll definitely need a three bed, ideally, probably a four bedroom home. There's no arguing about it.

And then lastly is your requests, your dreams, what you love to do. So we have this triangle and ideally, we'll find somewhere in the middle because obviously, especially dreams and budget usually go in the other direction. We need to find that realistic balance. And when we find that, that is the key then that everybody... You have the ideal home, you found the best balance between budget, needs and dreams.

So when you do your budget, coming back to your land, you purchase your land and you went a little bit overboard, you got yourself a cracker of a block, but you actually have only $160,000 left for a home. Then you're in trouble because you didn't budget properly. Always go conservative with money... But from my point of view, go conservative, leave yourself enough space and some buffer for a beautiful home because in the end, that's the whole idea you want to do, you want to build.

Samara:

I think that's pretty good.... Well, we've covered a lot. I'm really glad that you could join us for our first Insta live. It's been really great.

Matthias:

Thank you Samara, for inviting me. It was a pleasure. Thank you so much....

So if you liked what you heard, please feel free to actually go to our website, astonhomes.com.au, or come to one of our displays, just come in, have a talk to us. I'm confident we can help you out.

Samara:

Thanks Matthias. Thank you. And yeah, feel free to go and have a look at Homeshelf, we've got a build guide there, which has got all the standard lot sizes and some plans that fit. So you can get some good ideas there of what size plans fit on different lots. Always feel free to ask me any questions.... Hope you guys enjoyed it...We'll see you soon. Thanks.

 


 

 
Published: 22/07/2020
Author: Samara Amadi
Company: homeshelf.com.au
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