Brooks Reach Building adventure

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

4 weeks til Handover

After several attempts to get through to our site supervisor, darling hubby made contact on Monday and got the following brief updates:

  • Plumber has been overseas so the stormwater pit and sewer vent will be moved next week upon his return
  • Taps in vanities, showers, sink have all been installed
  • Electrical mark up has been done
  • Shelving has been installed in robes and pantry
  • Painter is meant to be back sometime late this week/early next week to complete the second and final coat of paint
  • Toilets to be installed later this week/next week
  • PCI (Practical Completion Inspection) Walkthrough will be 2/3weeks then a week following to allow for any touch ups etc and we should get keys first week of August if everything goes to plan. We’re aiming for the second or third week in August though just in case, don’t want to be getting our hopes up to high at this point.
  • Not sure when water tank/gas hot water system will be done – I assume sometime over the next two weeks!

I received a call on Monday to say there was an issue with our splashback. We originally chose to upgrade a ceramic tile splashback in the kitchen to a Metaline panel spanning the entire bench length (around 3m). It was one of our most expensive upgrades and not an easy one to make. Last week that splashback was meant to be installed, but apparently issues have arisen over the past few months with bubbling and YHK (Forstan kitchen company that Clarendon Homes uses) no longer endorse the product. A lady from YHK offered a free upgrade to a glass splashback for us which we have accepted. We now have to wait for a call from their supplier to arrange a measure up onsite and they can try and match a colour for the glass to a paint swatch. We’ll be sticking as closely as we can to a metallic green with gold flecks (like our original splashback). The lady said it can be installed after handover but I adamantly stated we wanted it done beforehand. Hopefully we’ll get a call soon arranging the site visit so we can get it behind us.

Freedom furniture are delivering our new couch/armchairs on Friday so we have to store them in our tiny apartment til the move. 

<—This is what we’re getting for the family room. It’s called the ‘Harry’ and it made me love it even more; I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!

Rather than getting another couch we chose two accent chairs. Chevron is amazing!










This has been my favourite purchase for the house so far other than my gorgeous Green Apple Kitchenaid stand mixer (thanks Grandma Judy!)

I have heard that getting the keys can be a huge anti-climax but we’re trying to stay positive and excited about it all. Hopefully only a few short posts away from the grand tour 😀


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 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 .. Land purchased!

Darling Husband (DH) and I had been looking and purchasing a home for some time before we decided we wanted to build. There were a few suburbs in the area we liked but the homes were either too much work to do up or way to expensive for us as first home buyers.

We decided we’d engage a few builders in the area, email them what we wanted in a house and what our budget was. We had already spoken with our broker and calculated ourselves what we could afford in repayments.

A few responded, though most didn’t. One company called us and told us to buy land first and then go and see them at their display homes in Shell Cove (even though they have an office in Wollongong close to where we work). We really liked the look of Wisdom Homes but unfortunately no one ever got back to us. Wisdom didn’t have any display homes near us and if they couldn’t respond to an enquiry we didn’t want to drive an hour or more to their show homes and then spend the building process chasing them.

Clarendon Homes responded quickly with some nice ideas and addressed most of our questions. DH’s boss had also built with Clarendon in the past which also gave us some peace of mind. We decided to set up a meeting with the consultant at Clarendon’s display homes in Haywards Bay. She was lovely, answered a lot of our questions and showed us some beautiful home designs. We were strict on our budget from the start, giving her the maximum we could spend on house + land. Not once did she try and push us for something that was above our means. She listened to everything we had to say and what we wanted in a house and by the end of the meeting we walked out with three possible floor plans to look over and an idea of how big our block of land should be if we wanted to build with Clarendon.

We had a lot of trouble finding affordable land in the suburbs we were wanting to build. If we found some potential land we liked, we would scope out the site, take some pictures and email them through to Deb and she’d let us know if it was suitable. Everything we found seemed to be too steep a gradient to build a one story house on. Deb suggested we have a ‘smaller’ footprint and build a two-story place. As much as we liked the two-story homes they were more expensive so the trade-off wasn’t really worth it. We became disheartened and continued to go to open homes across the weekends. We were lucky to have my ‘mum’ Nat along on some of the showings which helped with our confidence and knew an extra pair of eyes is always appreciated.

One weekend in November we contacted Deb about a new estate in Horsley that had just released several blocks for sale. She wrote back and invited us back to Clarendons display homes to discuss potential lots that might fit our need. We went over the price/size of the lots and picked out a couple to check out. Later that afternoon we went over to Brooks Reach estate and met with one of Stocklands sales people, James. We discussed our needs and the particular lot we had decided on. James put on his boots right then and there and walked with us to the lot. We loved it. There was still a lot of levelling to be done and at this point there were no roads or anything in place but standing there with Branden, looking out at the mountains I knew this could be the place to build our home. We walked back to the office with James and told him we’d take it. He laughed and commented on what an easy sale that would be! He didn’t want us to sign/pay right away, so instead he sent us home with some brochures to read through and sleep on it. He was holding the lot for us for two weeks but on Monday 7.11.11 at 12.12pm B called through to James and had him process our $1000 deposit on the land.

We were so excited we wanted to sort out our house plan right away! Deb arranged to meet with us at Haywards Bay after work that same day.. (to be continued)

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