Before you sign on the dotted line, here are 4 questions to ask your building company

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Building a new home is exciting, but it can also be daunting if you’re doing it for the first time.

You’ve probably heard stories about people who’ve lost their deposit and their builder couldn’t complete their project. Or people who were stung with unexpected bills, for items not included, during the building of their home.

It’s important to have confidence that your builder will complete your home on time, on budget, and to the specifications you agreed.

These are four questions you should ask your building company before you engage them, to give you the peace of mind that your hard-earned money is going where it’s supposed to.

1- Is my deposit safe?

Before work can start on your home, your building company will ask you for a deposit.  The deposit gives some certainty to the builder that you’re committed to the project. However, some building companies use the deposit money for things like paying bills or subcontractors.

If your building company does this, you could find yourself in a situation where the company can’t complete your home because they’ve run out of money.

So how can you be sure that your deposit is secure?

The best way is for that money to be held in a trust account. This ensures neither you nor the building company has direct access to that money until the build is completed, or if there is a legal dispute.

Another way to make sure you’re covered is through a Master Build Guarantee.

With a Master Build Guarantee, you can claim up to $50,000, or 10% of the total build cost, for loss of deposit.

At ZB Homes, you can be confident that we place your deposit in a trust account to ensure it’s completely safe. In addition, all of our projects come with a Master Build Guarantee, so you’ve got that extra piece of mind.

2- Where does my money for progress payments go?

Progress payments are money paid by you to the builder during the construction of your home. This is what the building company uses to build your home.

It’s important to make sure your progress payments are actually going towards the construction of your home, and not to pay off other bills the building company has.

The best way to ensure your progress payments are going towards your home is to pay for the work after it’s been completed.

Ask your building company when they will ask for progress payments, and seek assurance that you won’t be paying for work that hasn’t been done yet.

The exception to this could be an establishment fee, which is commonly paid at the beginning of construction.

This fee pays for the administrative costs associated with getting your build underway, like council consent fees, architect fees, geotech reports and engineering fees.

With ZB Homes, you’ll only pay for work once it’s completed.

When we complete a part of the build, like the roof, we’ll then invoice you for that part.

The only exception is an establishment fee of 5%, which we ask for after the consent has come through. This helps us take care of the administrative side of things so we can get your home underway.

3- Is all my money going to my build?

When you’re paying to get a home built, you might expect all of that money to go towards the construction of your home.

However, some building companies have additional overheads that they build into the cost of your home. For example, they may need to pay for things like franchise fees, head office costs, group national marketing and employee perks.

Check how much of your money is actually going towards your home to make sure you’re not paying for anything extra that doesn’t benefit you.

At ZB Homes, your money goes directly to your build. We don’t have to pay high head office and marketing costs or franchise fees. We simply use your money to build you a quality home on time, on budget, and to your specifications.

4- To complete the build, will I be expected to pay anything more than what was quoted?

When building a new home, people can be blindsided by extra costs if they aren’t included in their contract with the builder.

Ask your building company to clarify exactly which costs are and are not included in the specifications of your package.

Some building companies charge a rate per square metre for building the home itself, and you think this is what you will pay. Often this rate is low, so you think you’re getting a great deal, but they may leave out costs associated with the build, like:

  • Drainage
  • Site works
  • Floor coverings
  • Heating
  • Geotech reports
  • Engineering reports

For example, some companies don’t include engineering fees in their rate. When engineering reports are needed, the building company arranges this and then sends the bill to you, the client. However, if you weren’t expecting it, the extra cost could put you under additional financial stress.

Make sure your building company isn’t leaving any of this stuff out to keep the perceived cost of your build down.

At ZB Homes, everything in the specifications is included (except window coverings). That means floor coverings, engineering reports, geotech reports, and consent fees are all part of the package.

There are situations where some aspects of the build may cost more. These are called variations. Variations are when you change something that has been listed in your specifications.

5- Why choose ZB Homes?

At ZB Homes, you can have confidence and peace of mind that your home will be built on time, on budget, and to your specifications.

We’re fully transparent – you can see inside our house and land packages to see exactly what your money goes towards, and what it does not. By not having extra costs like a head office and franchise fees, we can keep the cost of your build down, giving you more money to enjoy your beautiful new home.

With the flexibility to add your own personal touches and the confidence that you’ve chosen a builder with 25 years of experience, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you’re getting what you pay for.