Brooks Reach Building adventure

Come with us now on a tale of the mighty house building.

Land Contracts

November 7th 2011 marked a special day as paid the initial deposit on our own lil block of land. Stockland advised the next step in the process was for their people to send our lawyer the contract of sale for the land. Our friends had previously used Lucinda Hick from Cause Conveyancing http://www.causeconveyancing.com.au/index.html to help purchase their apartment and recommended her services. We engaged Cindy and she sent us a quote right away; $990.00 to cover our land contract and ensure the settlement goes smoothly for us. Cindy was one of the few people that actually responded to our enquiry and was certainly the most affordable. *Note: our land contract was pretty straight forward we didn’t need to hire a lawyer.

Our land contracts were sent for review to Cindy on 17th of November 2011. The meeting was quick (around 45 minutes or so) and Cindy answered all our questions. The only concerns that really popped up were that in the contract Stockland had advised they have until mid year 2013 to release the land to us. Cindy stressed this was to cover any rain delays and in the circumstance of finance being an issue to fund development on the estate. Stockland has completed many developments in the past and are a well established company so we know finance won’t be an issue. With all our worries put to rest we signed the contracts.

On the 21st of November we paid $9,000 as the final deposit amount. Contracts were exchanged on the 28th November. I assume Cindy is hanging onto the contract until settlement as we haven’t really received any paperwork from her since.

Settlement is due around June and when we officially own the land we’ll pay Cindy her fee.

Now, onto the Tender process!

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The beginnings of our home .. Clarendon Homes meeting.

(continued from previous post here.)

B & I rushed over excitedly, discussed the lot specifications and confirmed we’d paid the initial $1000 deposit to Stocklands. Deb had the initial plans and paperwork ready to go when we got there.

We decided on building the ‘Kenthurst’ (Clarendon have since renamed and slightly tweaked the plan now being known as the ‘Kentville 24’.) Our 4-bedroom home would be 23.54 squares; 218.70 sqm with a break down of the ground floor 182.886 sqm, garage 33.89 sqm and porch 1.95sqm.

The original floor plan .

Because we signed our paperwork and paid Clarendon $1000 that day, we saved over $9000 with different promotions and packages that Clarendon were running at the time. We got the ‘Lifestyle Plus’ extras which is said to include $21,000 worth of extras. See brochure here. Now because we also paid a deposit on that day and the land will be fairly flat (less than a metre fall) we also qualified for the ‘Smart Build’ promotion saving us $4000. In total a savings of $13,000. We were glad we had done our homework and knew what our budget was and that we wanted to go Clarendon. I think it would have been really easy to be pressured into signing something right away for fear of ‘missing out on the promotions’. While we know we got a great deal that really suited our needs, the truth is all builders offer different promotions throughout the year – So if you are looking to sign with a builder in the near future check out what else is being offered and if the builder of your choice isn’t offering as much as another builder, use that to your advantage and persuade them to throw it in as a means to get you to build with them.

On the 7th we also collected the following documents from Clarendon Homes:

  • Draft floor plans for our home to be built on our specified block of land
  • Brooks Reach Clarendon Home & Land flyer for the Kenthurst (which detailed some of the inclusions in out package)
  • A ‘Siting instruction’ for how our house would sit on the block of land
  • Clarendon Residential Group Privacy Statement
  • Clarendon Homes Construction Journey timeline
  • Clarendon Residential Group permission agreement for sign erection on construction site – This means Clarendon are allowed to have signage on the site as the build. It is not necessary to agree to have signage during the build, but we figure it will help keep Clarendon accountable and if any passers-by happen to notice dodgy things going on in the lot they can inform Stocklands/Council/Clarendon right away.
  • Clarendon also presented us with the ‘initial estimate’ – around $450,000 (inclusive of land and house). Right away we noticed there were a few errors in the document. Deb instructed we take it home and email back any errors or issues we had.

Here are some of the costs we had in our initial estimate:

  • Gallery façade: $5,900 (this was meant to be a free inclusion and was later rectified)
  • Automatic door opening unit for double garage: $720
  • 6.5 HP single storey AC, Brivis system $10,600
  • Melamine shelving to all robes:  $1,000
  • Double vanity in ensuite (we were later instructed our bathroom layout/size did not accommodate for a double sink. We were also told at our tender meeting a double sink would be around $1,200 not the $500 originally quoted to us by Deb.)
  • Rheem intergrit HWS $650 (control pad not included in this price)
  • Hills security system $1,420 (4 zones with 1 voicenav, 3 passive infrared detectors, 1 internal siren, external strobe and horn siren, power pack and battery back up.)
  • Stone bench top $1,500 (Actual price was $3,710 PLUS $396 for additional 300mm overhang for breakfast bar. We were really disappointed with the initial ‘estimate’ we were provided.)
  • Robe to bedroom 4: $500 (we discussed this at tender and indicated some of the plans we had showed it was included so we got it for free.)

Plus additional site costs that did not indicate a breakdown at this point.

After studying the initial estimate we emailed back our concerns to Deb and she essential just told us to take note of those things and we can clarify those at the Tender meeting. Looking back now there are a lot of things we should have got in writing that day. That’s something throughout the whole process we wished we knew from the beginning. We lost landscaping, privacy locks and various other items that were promised but never included as we didn’t have them in writing.

Woot! We’d signed the initial paperwork for our new home.

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