Buying / Working With Your Land

Buying / Working With Your Land

The first step when thinking about building a new home is choosing the right block of land. Unfortunately sometimes it’s not as simple as it seems, with a lot of factors to consider. To give you a hand we’ve listed some of the most important considerations below.
What if our block ticks some, but not all of the boxes below? It’s often going to be difficult to find a block of land that is perfect. The best thing you can do is make the purchase with your eyes wide open, that way you’ll avoid disappointment later as things may pop up. While we don’t generally get involved in land purchases, we’re more than happy to help you in your considerations. A quick phone call or email to us may give you the peace of mind you need to know your decision is a good one.

This may go without saying but it is a rule for any realestate purchase. Your location is extremely important not only for your own personal satisfaction but also for future considerations. Consider the proximity of your block to things like transport, workplaces, schools, shopping, healthcare and pleasing views/serenity. It is also important to keep in mind potential negative aspects stemming from Local Government & Developer Guidelines or Conditions, nearby hazards (large overhead power lines, landfill, swampland, etc) and displeasing views or noise.

There are also restrictions in a lot of areas regarding what can actually be built and other conditions may be imposed on you. E.g. what building materials are allowed, colour schemes, Energy Ratings above the BCA requirement, etc.

Because of the recent changes to the energy efficiency requirements orientation of your home is crucial. As a rule of thumb, the narrow ends of your home are best on the West and East with the wide sides facing north and south. Living areas should be facing north if possible.

It is not uncommon for a potential client to liase with us in hope to build a new home on a block they have recently purchased only to discover when we sat down to find a design a portion of their block has a building easement. Typically easements are there for sewer lines and most are ‘no-building easements’ which mean you’re not allowed to build over that line for any reason. This also includes not installing something like a pool or garden shed in that area.This means effectively your ‘building area’ we have to work with has now been made smaller, and can create a number of design challenges.

When purchasing a block of land it is important to look at certain aspects which may or may not save you money on your site costs. These include things like:

  • The slope of the block (is it reasonably level or will it need to be excavated – gentle sloping or flat blocks are generally more preferable because they can be easier and less expensive to build on).
  • Location of the relevant services (electricity, water mains, sewer mains, gas lines, phone mains, etc).
  • Soil Type (this can greatly affect the design and materials used in the home and sometimes require importing/exporting of soil).

Note: More and more builders these days are putting standard items used in the building of the house in with the ‘site cost’ allowances. Why do they do this? – Simple, their homes look like they are better value. If they pull $XX,XXXX out of the house price then when you compare it to other builders they seem to be cheaper.

At Mellross Homes we do not beleive in this. Upon completing a site inspection and obtaining relevant information in regard to your block of land we will give you an allowance to cover your site costs and you will know exactly what you are paying for.

It should go without saying, but sticking to your budget should be of primary concern. Having enough money left at the end of your build to fully finish your home will give you a lot more satisfaction than being at the end of your tether and living in a half completed house.

As a guide you’ll want to reserve 10-15% of your building price for the finishing touches (carpets, landscaping, blinds, light fittings, clothes line, mail box, reticulation, etc).

This is important to note that a block may have restrictive covenants on the title. These may impose certain conditions on your build which may again result in additional costs. It is best to quiz your real estate agent or local council on what covenants may be in place on a particular block of land you may be interested in.

Your R Codes (residential design codes) on your block will dictate certain requirements that must be met. This is probably more relevant if you’re purchasing a block with the intention of subdividing later. If you are purchasing and hoping to subdivide as a means of investment, we highly recommend not taking the word of the real estate agent as to what can be done. Instead, pay for a feasibility first to ensure you can do what you’re hoping to do. For the most part and the majority of buyers, it’s not anything to worry about.