When you’re embarking on getting a new home built, it’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because you are at last building the home you want. Terrifying because there’s so much to think about—and you can so easily go over your budget.
Now Tiffany has moved in to her AMAZING new home, we thought we would check back with her and see if she had any other tips and tricks to share:
Check all of your appliances are working. Although we had bought our oven some time ago, it wasn’t until it was installed and we went to use it that we noticed it had a fault. We ended up without an oven for two weeks whilst we waited for it to be serviced/repaired. It was very challenging hosting friends and family who wanted to come for dinner to celebrate the big move (thank goodness for slow cookers!). If you are building through a building company, the final “walk through” should cover this (if appliances were included in the install).
Pack in advance and label all boxes – “cushions, cutlery, kitchen items, bedding” etc. This way, the boxes can be placed in the relevant places within the house to speed up the unpacking process.
Call out to friends and family for help – not just for heavy lifting but also to help clean prior to the move too! If you cant afford a commercial cleaner or your building company does not supply one as part of their contract, be prepared for a days work in cleaning (you will be surprised how well dust can hide e.g on top of architraves, in draws etc).
Organise draws and cupboards based on functionality and use, and buy trays and boxes to store items so they look nice and tidy.
Make sure you are happy with artworks or paintings locations before hanging them up – this will limit damage to paint (even if you do use adhesive hooks).
When you are moving in, ALWAYS start with making your bed (and no, not for the reason you may think!). If you are tired after the big shift and don’t get everything done, you still have a bed to sleep in
Make sure you have essential items to avoid a trip to the supermarket. For example, milk and toilet paper!
Be ready for pets. Pets need time to settle in to a new home and to feel comfortable with their new surroundings. Keep cats inside for a week or so to get used to the smells. If you let them out early they are likely to try and make their way to their old home. If you are keeping them inside (even in the garage) and still want to be able to secure the home, ask for pet senors to be installed. This allows you to turn the alarm on without it triggering by the pets.
Ask your painter for the leftover paint. For those ‘whoopsie’ moments that need touching up!
Don’t worry if its not perfect or if the outside areas are not complete – good things take time! Sometimes its not a bad thing to live in the home before making landscaping or decorating decisions.
Ensure the home and your contents are insured accurately.
Have all documents ready for the final inspection (if you are organising these things yourself) e.g as built drainage plan, waterproofing product specs and applicator warranty, electrical certificate etc – this speeds up the COC process. If you are building with a building company, trust that they will have this under control – but feel free to ask for updates.
USB powerpoint. These are very handy in rooms where you like to charge your phone and plug in USB devices e.g the side of the kitchen bench, bedrooms etc. Picture attached.
Sensor lights. Our tread lights in the hallway and our strip lights in the bathroom have got to be my favourite! They turn on via sensor, so as you enter the room the lights turn on. Awesome for little ones when getting up at night to use the bathroom. We also put a sensor light in the scullery, so if you are half asleep and craving a midnight snack, there is no need to find the switch!
Check your slide shower/rain head are going to work for you based on your height. I purchased a rain head that I just adored, but unfortunately, the removable shower head does not slide all the way down the rail, so its too high for me to enjoy without getting my hair wet each time! My Fiance just loves it though – and I will never hear the end of it!
– Some great tips in here – whether you are building with a company or managing your own build, there are always those small things you didn’t expect or think about at the time. Thanks for sharing Tiffany!
Tiffany agrees to share her build mistakes and lessons so you can avoid them.
When our Customer Relationships Manager Tiffany and her partner set about building their dream home, they thought they knew exactly what they wanted. But building is a dynamic process, and no matter how well organised you are, there are always surprises – and lots to learn. As the building of their home has gone on, Tiffany has had to change some of her ideas. “The experience of building has taught us a lot – and made us think about what we’d do differently next time”, says Tiffany. “I’m happy to share my experiences, to help others get the home they want without making costly mistakes”.
Think carefully about the position for your home
Most people want all day sun, so they position their home to be north-facing. But the view you’ll get is equally important. You may need to compromise. “I decided to face north-west to maximise the beautiful view too – and I definitely don’t regret this decision. To me, being able to see the sunset from my living room is wonderful”. Tiffany is also grateful that her partner insisted on marking their home out on the section, using dazzle and string lines, before they finalized the design. “Doing this made us see clearly that an extra window that was missing. Without that window, we’d miss out on that view, as well as extra light into the room”.
Check whether your roof and downpipes will be seen
Tiffany’s home has a mono pitch roof, and she was set on having a black roof and copper downpipes to complement the black ply and cedar cladding. But she found that both the roof and the downpipes couldn’t be seen unless you hang out at the back of the house – so the expense wasn’t worth it. “So I’m left with a black roof that will get extremely hot in summer and no copper downpipes – we changed them at the last minute to black coloursteel”.
Careful that your need for privacy doesn’t limit your light
Like many people, Tiffany wanted privacy in the bathroom. She splurged on a privacy glass (Etchlite Obscure), so no one can see in and no one can see out…but she also tinted every single window in the house. “The bathrooms now have limited natural light”, she sighs. “On the plus side though, I don’t need to invest in blinds!”
Think about your shower waste
Like many people, Tiffany wanted a tiled shower, with full size tiles flowing from the floor of the bathroom, into the shower and up the wall in one nice straight line. But she had to think again, because she hadn’t asked for a trough waste to be located at one end of the shower. Without that, she was left with a centre waste. That means the tiles had to be cut up to suit the fall of the shower base in to the waste, as the photo shows. Other options you can choose for your shower include a mitred recessed shelf (the most expensive option), a recessed shelf with a trim or a standard glass shelf.
Decide in advance where you’ll place your beds
Tiffany now sees she didn’t think enough about where she wanted to put the beds, in relation to where the windows would go. “I have one room where I have a high window on one side and a low window on the other. It’s not very common to put a bed under a low window, so I have been restricted as to where to place my bed. That also affected where to put power points—they need to be near the beds”. Tiffany also realised too late that a high window is on the side of the house that has a great view. “Why I didn’t switch those two over, I will never know!”.
How do your doors open?
Tiffany wishes that she’d checked that her home’s interior doors didn’t open directly onto wardrobe doors. She didn’t – and has less access to the wardrobe as a result. “Luckily for me, I’m using robemasters, but to get to one side of the wardrobe in one of my rooms, I have to shut myself inside the room first!”. Tiffany and Dan also learned not to fix heavy items (such as TVs or heated towel rails) on to a cavity slider. The bathroom design can’t work with something being fixed to these walls.
Get your fire installed before you gib
If you are using a gas fireplace, make sure you get it installed before the gib is put on. Tiffany learned from experience that it will only cause more stress if you leave it to a later date.
You may need a range-hood extension
If you plan a mono pitch roof, like Tiffany has, and have your kitchen in the middle of it, you’ll need to allow for a range-hood extension piece. She learned that a standard range-hood can simply not reach the roof. You can either chose a pre- manufactured extension (though you’ll see the joins) or you can get one custom made. For Tiffany, this was the best option. “Not too expensive, and worth considering”, she says.
Some things to check that you have allowed for in your budget
These are some costs Tiffany forgot to add into her budget;
– Engineers Inspections
– Water and power used during construction
– A 10% contingency fund for when those unplanned costs arise!
Weigh up how much you can realistically do (owner care)
It sounded like a good idea at the time to do a lot of the work themselves, and hopefully to save some money. But Tiffany realised that she and her partner paid dearly in time and energy. “We have spent many weekends working on the house, and missed out on too many fun activities as we spent time painting the exterior cladding (photo below). I have learnt a lot during the process, but am looking forward to having my life back too!”
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Our identity as a strongly family-focused business, and our friendly, practical brand get a terrific boost as we welcome to our team Tiffany Bax as Riva’s new Customer Relationship Manager.
Tiffany fits perfectly into our Riva family focus because she really is family – she’s Danielle’s sister. But that isn’t the main reason we hired her. Tiffany also brings with her brilliant skills in understanding and meeting customers’ needs. She’s spent her whole career honing those skills.Learn more
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Finding a section you love is hard. And when you do, it’s probably not going to be perfect.
‘Oh well’, you think. ‘So we’ll need to level it out, or build a pole house, or build around that stand of protected trees…how hard can that be?’
All new home builds have to start with planning. And planning is also where many of them run into major difficulties, and costly delays.
We live in a country where sections of land may well be hilly and uneven, contain water (on the surface or below it), or be prone to slips or other problems. All of these must be well identified and taken into account before any building can take place.
Here’s a checklist to make sure all these things are in your new home building quote:
- Allowances for foundation work and excavations
- Detailed description of roofing type and material
- Cladding description, material and type (such as bricks, weatherboard)