Ask Your Custom Luxury Home Builder These 10 Questions

Shot of a senior couple meeting with an agent to discuss paperwork at home

Choosing a luxury custom home builder in Perth is a completely different experience compared to a ‘volume builder’ such as those offering house & land packages. Rather than focusing on superficial quality (i.e: great looking finishes, with lesser quality where you don’t look), a custom home builder gives you more control over the long-lasting quality of your construction.

It’s also important to do your homework on home builders; asking the right questions could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache when building your luxury custom home. To ensure you’re going into the search with the right information, there are four things you should consider before talking with luxury home builder in Perth:

  1. Your desired lifestyle with must-haves and nice-to-haves
  2. A target budget that realistically reflects the above
  3. The size, orientation and accessibility of your block
  4. Known neighbourhood zoning and building restrictions

With this knowledge (reducing variables and assumptions), you can get a more balanced idea of what your builder is able to offer. So what questions should you ask a luxury home builder?

1. What are the ‘standard’ features included in the price?

Basic minimum standards for a new home build are set down in the National Construction Code (NCC), though this is largely for compliance with Australian Standards (AS). It doesn’t specify the brand of appliances, for example.

For example, what kind of door hardware, towel bars and cabinet hardware is included; basic or premium? Check if energy efficient features — insulation, double-glazed windows or low heat transfer materials — will add to the total balance owing. Even things such as the quality and thickness of concrete will vary between builders and designs.

Get clear about what your home builder classes as standard inclusions around specific flooring, fixtures, appliances and materials used throughout.

2. How long might approval and construction take?

As your home is a custom build this might not be possible to answer at an initial appointment. However, a home builder should be able to offer an indication of the number of jobs currently in their pipeline. With historically low interest rates and the knock-on effect of government stimulus in the form of home builder grants, Western Australia is currently in a building boom, with longer than usual approval times and start dates.

Getting an estimate of start and completion dates will allow you to better plan your living situation, especially if you have to sell your current house first or you’re going to be renting. In discussions about timelines, ask how long you might expect permit approval to take, which could be anywhere up to 45 days in some instances.

3. What materials and finishes are used in the display home?

Seeing a finished luxury display home property is the best way to experience the quality of the design and build (not just glossy 3D-renders) to see if it feels and sounds like home. Stannard Homes currently has three display homes in Perth: The Aria, The Coco and The Soho.

4. What is your payment schedule?

Building a luxury custom home requires a vast amount of materials and labour, all of which have a cost. Ensure you understand what you’ll need to pay at each stage of the build and that your lender has access to this information in writing. We never want clients to feel they’ll struggle to meet financial obligations such as renting a home during construction or arranging the sale of a current home.

5. Is landscaping design included in the purchase price of a luxury home build?

You’re likely imagining the handover of the keys to your luxury custom home, picture-perfect and ready for the removalists to set everything up. But is your garden going to be the remains of some yellow builders sand?

Agreeing to landscaping at the outset means one less thing to think about come moving-in day. That way gardens can be factored into the timeline to be completed in the final phase of installing fixtures. Stannard Homes can point you in the right direction for a landscape architect, or we’ll be happy to work with your preferred supplier. For a limited time, Stannard Homes is offering an exclusive Sam De Vries landscaping pack.

6. What can I customise?

A custom home build means different things to different home builders. Some home builders claim to offer ‘custom home builds’ but only allow cosmetic changes, such as the colour of kitchen cabinetry. For others, custom means architectural modifications, such as expanding rooms, adding extra rooms, altering the roofline and more. Be sure you’re clear on what you’re getting, and start planning your dream luxury home design.

7. What additional or special services do you offer?

A home is more than just the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the building. You’re designing a lifestyle and showcasing your personality, so ask if your builder can add to the experience with professional interior designer consultation. Getting help with modern home interior design might include guidance on colour and material selections, furniture and lighting.

In terms of service levels, it’s worth asking about the frequency of updates that you’ll receive about the progress of your custom home build. If desired, Stannard Homes can offer weekly or fortnightly construction updates on your home build.

8. What warranty does the luxury custom home builder offer?

In Western Australia, all registered new builders have a 6 year statutory warranty period, during which time they are required to remediate confirmed construction defects. Verify that the builder is registered and can provide this warranty.

You’ll also want to get the individual warranties for electrical appliances. At handover the builder should provide details such as warranties for appliances and so on; in the case that there is an issue you can contact the manufacturer directly.

9. What insurances are you covered by?

As a minimum, a builder in WA must hold Home Indemnity Insurance (to protect owners against financial loss if a builder cannot complete residential building work or meet a valid claim for faulty or unsatisfactory building work because of death, disappearance or insolvency), as well as Construction Works & Public Liability Insurance for any accidental incidents to the public or subcontractors onsite. Your insurance needs are specific to your circumstances and should be discussed with an advisor who specialises in the matter.

10. What agreements does the luxury custom home builder have with subcontractors?

An experienced home builder will have built a network of subcontractors, including plumbers, electricians, concreters, solar PV system and HVAC installers. These connections often benefit you, the customer, with ‘better than retail’ rates, as well as the peace of mind that work is carried out to the highest quality. Ask how arrangements are structured, and whether you have the opportunity to suggest suppliers if desired.

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