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Custom Designs - Sticking to a Budget

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The property market and home buyer lifestyle needs are changing which is driving demand for custom designed homes.

House purchasers are looking to put their own stamp of approval on a home and modify plans to suit different land sizes.

Today’s home buyers are looking for choice in home designs. Land lot sizes have reduced significantly in recent years which has forced purchasers to look for more efficient designs to maximise space.

Cookie cutter designs are not working for a significant number of house hunters. Custom designed homes are an ideal solution for many as they allow the buyer to design an organic home that will suit their individual lifestyle needs.

The majority of changes relate to either adding a room or introducing a granny flat to generate an additional revenue stream. There has also been increased demand to design a home that is suitable for three generations which is a cost-effective solution for many families.

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Top five tips to consider when building a custom designed home:

1.  Site analysis
A thorough site analysis is a starting point which will ultimately determine the budget. Look at the cost per square metre first and work within this rate. The block fall, dimensions, location, parking access and topography of the site all need to be factored into the design. Views matter too – the design needs to also consider the aspect to maximise the potential of the site.

2.  Intellectual property
It is quite common for purchasers to bring designs from a large builder and ask a smaller builder to replicate it for a reduced cost. This is considered copyright and can leave buyers open to litigation cases. It is important to be organic in the creation of a new design.

3.  Set a budget
Confirm with a lender how much can actually be spent on the home after the land has been purchased. The draftsperson or architect need to know an agreed budget before the design process begins to ensure there are no hidden surprises. It is also recommended that a 15 to 20 per cent contingency is set for unexpected costs or variatio

4.  Energy efficiency
With rising energy costs, it is important to consider up front what measures need to be undertaken in the design to reduce these fees. Solar orientation is important. The house needs to be designed to maximise sunlight exposure. To keep it cool in summer consider windows with double glazing, shades and window tints. Well-lit homes are important and reduce electricity use.

5.  Feasibility reports
Quantity surveyors can add significant value at the beginning of a project and could be engaged at the end of the concept design phase. Design feasibility reports usually cost around $2,500 and are often used at different stages ie concept design stage, before lodging for development approval and when obtaining a building approval or construction certificate.