Sunday, 10 August 2014

Site Start!

Finally, our site works begun on the 28/07/14, who would of thought we could be excited about a bull dozen coming and scraping our block of land. We were very excited as this mark the beginning of our new family home. After months of looking at land, going through display homes, making big decisions organising finances and more it was now time to sit back and observe the construction of our new home. When I say we were excited I mean all of us. As we walk our boys to school and kinder each day, we walk right past our new build so walking past on the day the earth moving equipment was there was quite a highlight for our 4 and 6 year old boys.

 We Got Slabbed & Framed!

We met with our site supervisor on the 29/07/14 and he was hoping to have the plumbing in and slabbed pour on Friday, but as we were expecting a fairly rainy week would more likely be early the following week. On my way home from work the next Wednesday night I saw them smoothing out the slab and thought to myself "ooh, better take the camera in the morning and take a photo of the slab". The next morning on the 7/07/14 at 8:30am most of the first floor frame was up! These guys are moving quick. Initially I was a little worried that the slab wouldn't have cured properly, but reminded myself these guys are professionals and know what they are doing. By Friday the second floor frame was up (below).
Now, you can imagine the kids excitement to actually see how the house will be. I have made a habit of missing my turn and driving past every single time I come and go, haha.

 Below is the view over our back fence, talk about keeping an eye on your build!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Color, Tiles and Electrical Appointment (Simonds Gallery)

Having signed up with Simonds Homes last month we were given a CRC (customer relations consultant) who will be our contact at Simonds. They also sent through login details to the MySimonds website. The website has all the details of the progress of our build, shows us everything that we have completed and every step to come. The MySimonds website is also loaded with videos explaining all the different stages and what is happening behind the scenes and seems to be updated in real time as items are ticked off the list.

On wednesday were to attend our gallery appointment. This was a full day booked appointment 9am-3pm in which we would make many many decisions, one after the other after the other and so on! While there was a lot to decide on it was really an enjoyable day. The consultants were really helpful and helped guide us through the process without trying to 'sell' which was lovely. The first thing we did was go through our electrical plan. Our consultant took us through the house plans and we added some down lights, extra power points and tv points (see the picture below).

The blue were existing standard lights and existing wiring and the red are extras. The double line circle are downlights and the single line circles are standard lights. The little arrows are power points (single & double).

Next was my wifes time to shine, the gallery items which included
Garage Doors
Tap Ware

So many decisions! Below is our choices:

We also chose our tiles which I don't have photos at this stage.

Overall this was a fantastic day that we thoroughly enjoyed together. Our excitement levels have stepped up another notch as we move a step closer to building our future home.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Choosing A Builder & Design

This one was easy for us. We have looked through many display centres over the last 2 years and came to decide on Simonds Homes, we just like their homes!

We sat down with the sales agent and told him what we liked and didn't like about a few of the houses they had. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for him to alter the plans to suit our requirements, at a relatively low cost. We sat for a couple of hours and went away with a modified Torino design and a sales estimate.

During the next few days we decided on a different plan, the Avalon. A quick phone call to the sales agent and he got to work on making the Avalon into what he already knew we wanted. Brilliant.

The following week we attended an appointment to go over the plans with the Simonds sales agent and signed off on the modified Avalon 3512. We also paid a $1500 deposit at this point.

Standard Avalon 3512 Plan
Above: Standard Avalon 3512 plan

Below: Our modified Avalon 3512
Modified Avalon 3512 Plan
Starting at the ground floor, it was an easy straight swap for the front living room to become bedroom 4 and the "library" room to become our study.
We also took out the wall between the powder room and toilet, and inserted a shower making this a full bathroom, which will serve bedroom 4 (our guest room).
The pay off for the bathroom above was pushing the laundry upwards to accommodate the shower, which took the massive pantry down in size to large-huge.

Upstairs, bedroom 4 is replaced with a balcony (fingers crossed no one builds a double behind us, this will have ocean views for now). Bedrooms 2 & 3 were pushed towards the front and the WIR's rotated in place. When then decided to shrink the massive master WIR's to a still large size.

It's really not a lot of changes and was quite easily done by the sales representative. +1 for Simonds, thank you very much.

The Dirt - We Bought It

Ok, so we bought some dirt last week! Having looked around at many of the available lots of land in our area we finally came to a decision. We are on a budget so we had to way up:

1. Location
2. Cost of the land vs size
3. Site costs
4. Size of the house to be built on the land

Location was tricky, as there is loads of developments in our area. However, in the end it was easy, close to the boys school and ten minutes walk from the beach.

We decided to buy a slightly smaller block in the location we wanted, this saved us some dollars.

An easy decision was to find a flat block. We were looking at some slanted blocks that would have seen our site costs sky rocket 200-300%. We figured every dollar saved removing the dirt we just bought would come in handy towards our build. Not to mention having to use a custom builder on some of the slanty lots, that was not an option for us (from the investigating we did the custom builders were approximately $4k per sqm dearer).

With the smaller block and the low site cost savings we could afford a double storey! Building a double storey home would give us more backyard space than if we bought a larger block with a single storey home, so we were very happy with this.

Background Pre Build

Having decided to make the move from outer eastern Melbourne down to the Bellarine Peninsula early in 2012, we started searching for searching for land and sold our first family home. It was mixed emotions on selling as we had brought our first two sons home for the very first time in that house, however we were very excited of things to come.

It took us some time, but without going into all the details, we finally moved to the beautiful surf coast town, Torquay, in late 2013.

Having studied our options and looking at land for several months, we finally decided on a lot literally a stones throw away from the primary school our now three boys will attend.

We are so excited to be building our own home and going through the whole process I thought I'd do this blog for something to look back on in years to come. Of course I have benefited from reading many other home building blogs around on the web and hope that some of you will benefit from mine :)