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The preliminary works contract

Before you sign the dotted line on the HIA building contract you sign up on a Preliminary Works Contract (PWC).

The PWC is an agreement that you enter into with the builder to have them build your house. It outlines the site costs, house plan costs, estate costs and all other costs. It's the document that puts a price tag on the build of your house with your chosen variables (upgrades, extras, etc) and outlines the scope of work including soil testings, etc.

Some of our upgrades we had already settled on. The one that I wasn't prepared for was picking the facade for the front of the house. We have tried to cover off most of the upgrades in the PWC so that they are already financially allowed for as these costs will flow into the HIA contract. Any extras or changes we make at the HIA contract signing stage we will need to be paid for on the day rather than getting incorporated into the contract/mortgage.

We covered off most of the bigger ticket items like the facade, the incre…
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Picking the floor plan

Picking a house design from a floor plan is challenging. You have to find ways to visualise the space, the size of the rooms and the layout - placement of doors, windows and in the kitchen and bathrooms - placement of functional things like benches, sinks, cupboards, etc.

Initially we picked a floor plan and decided it would work great. We then had an opportunity to walk through a nearly completed one and realised the kitchen was way to small to meet our needs. Both in terms of bench space and storage.

So we visited a few more display homes and reviewed the floor plan books again. We tentatively picked one and again walked through a near complete one. It was better. I had a few different concerns but definitely the kitchen now worked.

Still unsure about making such a big decision (and spending lots of money on it) I went back through and compared floor plans to our rental house. Previously I had measured every room and made a to-scale plan. (This is a great way to move furniture aroun…

The land is official

Last week we paid the holding deposit on the land and last night we signed the Contract of Sale document.

It's officially ours! We need to pay the 10% deposit (less the holding deposit) within 28 days.

Since our land is untitled (ie still looks like a farmer's paddock) there is a lengthy process that will need to happen between now and when the builder can start on the house.

Everything that is normally in an estate needs to be added - roads and footpaths, sewage and water mains, fire hydrants, electricity for houses and street lights. Once all of this in place then the land can be pegged out as per the subdivision submitted to the Council and then each of those blocks will be given their own land title and the ownership can pass from the developer to us.

When that happens we not only pay for the balance owing on the land but the application for permits to build can be submitted and our house will finally be underway.

Between now and then we have to commit to a floor plan an…

The land release

We are underway! We had a unique opportunity to get in on a land release and we went with it. We were prepared. We'd taken a few day trips to check out the area. We'd investigated the daily commute options and discussed it.

With the help of the masterplan for the estate, which is in Wallan, we think we managed to actually stand on what will be our block to take the above photo and the one below.

So far we have paid the holding deposit. The next step will be to sign the Contract of Sale document and then pay the balance of the deposit.  Titling is due June 2018. We'll be watching the previous stage to help gauge if ours will run to schedule.

In the pipeline

For quite a while now I've had a project running in the background that has steadily been worked on - buying or building our own house.

We looked at established, new estates and display homes in most regions of Melbourne - South, West and North. Each time we would circle back to a house and land package in the northern region of Melbourne.

So earlier this year we dropped into the Homebuyers Centre display in Mernda and had another chat with the Sales Consultant. Picked a few house plans that we liked and hit the project hard!

We had our finances reviewed, looked at our borrowing capacity and deposit capabilities. It all came up very positive. So we signed up with the Homebuyers Centre as our builder and started to watch for land releases that fit the requirements and the budget.