If you’re thinking of building your own home, you probably have a lot of questions you’d like answered. To help you on your way we spoke to some of the experts in Marlborough. We caught up with Hamish Ryan of Hamish Ryan Construction, Nicolle Hook from Jennian Homes Marlborough and Mike Wightwick from G.J. Gardner Homes.
We asked each of these Marlborough based experts the same seven questions about building a home, read on to discover their answers.
Question 1 – BM: Buying vs building… In your opinion what is the major plus of building in Marlborough?
Hamish Ryan: The major plus is getting a house designed specifically for who you are, how you live and for the site. There is nothing like living in a brand new home that is warm and takes advantage of the latest technologies.
Jennian Homes: Building your own home brings you an experience that you just can’t get through a house that was built and designed to someone else’s likes and wants. By building your own home, you get to choose what layout suits you and your family, the colours are all to your liking and you can’t beat the feeling you get when walking into a house that you have spent your time designing and watching grow. It brings a different joy than purchasing one already built.
G.J. Gardner: Being able to design and build a home with what you prefer and not having to compromise on having what others have built for their lifestyle. To be able to take advantage of all the new technologies whether it being insulation, appliances, automation, security or just in vogue colours and décor.
Question 2 – BM: What things should a person consider when they are deciding on a builder to help them create their dream home in Marlborough?
Hamish Ryan: The relationship between the builder and client is extremely important and something which can be overlooked. You are working together for usually around a year, or more so you have to have a mutually respectful and trusting relationship. We have responsibly declined builds because we felt that we wouldn’t gel with the client. The relationship is a definite key, and we are proud to that our clients often go on to become our friends. Other considerations are whether you are happy to have your house built by a franchise in the volume building market or whether you want more freedom and involvement in the process. Is your builder a Master Builder and do they have a record of happy clients you can talk to?
Jennian Homes: The most important factor in choosing a builder is the stability that company has and the reputation of that Company in the area you are looking to build in. At Jennian Homes we offer a Completion Promise that puts us ahead of the rest. What this means is we guarantee your build will be completed; this gives such security when you are investing your money and trust in a Company.
G.J. Gardner: This is a very good question, what is important today is choosing a builder who can offer security in the project, ensuring that the job is completed promptly, uses good and reliable subtrades and has good construction management abilities to ensure you get your home built to your expectations. Also, it’s important to choose a builder who can offer a fixed price contract, with no hidden costs or PC Sums. Ask for references and to see work done prior so you can be happy with the decisions you make. Having a good look through their showhomes is one way to see the builder’s work first hand. Consider the longevity of the builder, have they been around a while, do they have a good reputation, etc.
Question 3 – BM: What is the most frequently asked question you get asked by people who are thinking of building their own home in Marlborough?
Hamish Ryan: How much will it cost and when can you start!
Jennian Homes: What our square meter rate is? This comes down to the level of specification the client wants in their house, and the other question is, when could we start to build their home? At Jennian Homes we are very lucky to have a solid team of builders behind us and this allows us to start our clients builds once title is received or we have council approval.
G.J. Gardner: What is the square meter rate? This is a very difficult question to answer. Every house is different and this effects the square meter rate. We advise people not to focus on the square meter rate but concentrate instead on the value the builder can offer you through the build process.
Question 4 – BM: What’s your #1 piece of advice for people who are building their own home in Marlborough?
Hamish Ryan: Plan, plan and then plan some more. Don’t be in a hurry to get your drawings finished and the house underway. Be one hundred percent happy and know your plans inside and out before you start so you don’t feel the need to make changes during the build.
Jennian Homes: Don’t concentrate on the dollar figure… Look at what you get for that dollar and always build with someone who gives you amazing service from the start, as this is what you can expect throughout your build.
G.J. Gardner: To use a Builder that has a good history and a good financial record.
Question 5 – BM: There’s a commonly held belief that the process of building a house is one of life’s most stressful situations. How do you make the process easier for people in Marlborough?
Hamish Ryan: We do the stressing and worrying for them! We project manage the entire job, so any little issues that arise (that don’t need client input) are dealt with promptly and behind the scenes. When something arises that does need client input; we will present all the information and the options to overcome it and work with them to find the right solution for them. We have an incredible team of long-standing staff and subcontractors working alongside us whom we trust and that minimises stressful situations arising. We have excellent communication with our clients, and we never limit the number of site visits or times you can speak to us about your home. It is our privilege to work alongside our clients to create what is usually the biggest and most important asset they own. We don’t take that responsibility lightly, and we endeavour to make the experience an enjoyable one.
Jennian Homes: We work on two things here…. Firstly communication, if the clients feel they know exactly what is going on with their build, then there are no surprises, and any questions can be answered promptly. The other is our RAVE system where they can log in to see everything that is happening with their build right down to the dates and who is on site. This system has proven to be such a bonus when building with Jennian Homes.
G.J. Gardner: Having a good system and communication with the client helps a lot to ease the stress of the build.
Question 6 – BM: How can one best build a Marlborough home that’s going to stand the test of time?
Hamish Ryan: We recommend using an architect when you can. Yes, it can cost more, but they also work to budgets. You will get the most functional and best house for your budget using an architect. If your budget is not as expansive as you would like, it might mean having less square meters overall, but the spaces you create will be smarter and be more functional. We also advise clients when working through the interior choices, not to follow trends and use the best materials that they can afford. If you choose items that are natural and quality made, they won’t date, and you will create a timeless space that you will enjoy for years to come. A bright yellow kitchen might be quite cool and trendy now but how long will it take before it looks dated? Keep the trends to the items which are easily changed and the expensive items, such as kitchens and tiling, classic and neutral.
Jennian Homes: By building with a company that has already been standing the test of time and has grown with the changes in life, weather and products. At Jennian Homes we have been building homes for over 35 years so have grown and changed to keep up with all new and more efficient products to the market.
G.J. Gardner: By using a good builder with a brand, especially a nationwide brand who has a great working relationship with key NZ Suppliers who back their products.
Question 7 – BM: If somebody chooses you to help them build a home how does the process unfold?
Hamish Ryan: Because we are not a volume building company, each of our builds has an individual process, and this depends on what stage the client is at. A few clients come to us with a full set of working drawings and building consent already issued. We then tender the job or agree on the price and begin construction. Other clients may have a piece of land and a head full of ideas and need help to guide them from that point. With current timeframes, lots of our clients have engaged us to build their home early on in the process to ensure that we can schedule their build in. Rather than tendering plans once they are complete and then having to wait until the chosen builder is available to start, the contract price is negotiated. As soon as the building consent is achieved, we can eliminate any delays to starting as the job has been booked in. The other benefit to this is that we work with the architect/designer and client while they design the house and we can share our product knowledge and experience. This can have a significant impact on costs as we can give architects alternatives to either increase productivity or in products which are priced more effectively. Towards the end of the build we usually also construct all of the hard landscaping elements under a separate contract.
Jennian Homes: Firstly, we would have a sit-down meeting to go over all of their wishes for their new home and find out where they want to build, do they have their own land or do they need us to find some for them? Once this is established, then we will do a site visit to get a great feeling of how they want the house to be positioned and the kind of living they want out of the house. The next step is to get the perfect plan and with Jennian Homes having over 1000 plans to choose from this isn’t too hard, we can also design them one from scratch. Going through the plan once one is selected or designed to get it one hundred percent right for the clients, then we can give a very accurate Fixed Price Contract. We will then go over the price to make sure all parties are happy and then send it away to their lawyer to also check before signing anything. Once all is fine, and the clients have signed their contract and gone unconditional we are off to the Council with working drawings and approval then the build just flows on from there! Easy!
G.J. Gardner: The first thing we do is discuss the client’s requirements and wish list, to come up with a design with their budget in mind. Once this is agreed upon we will take care of the drafting of the plans and council requirements on the client’s behalf. Once this is complete, and we have worked through all the bits and pieces and agreed on a Contract price the build is slotted into our build program which flows through a set construction program.
At Bayleys Marlborough we’re the experts in real estate and can help you find your dream section. Contact us today… We’d love to chat!