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Whether you’re building a home from scratch or preparing for some major renovations, it’s essential to have the right team locked in before any work begins. We sat down with two homeowners about what to consider about architects, builders and comparing quotes.

Both panellists – Wendy Robinson and Di Bremer – have built their dream homes and played an integral in choosing their home’s design and the team behind it. Read on for their tips and tricks to assembling the perfect team.

DECISION #1: ARCHITECT OR DRAFTSPERSON?

Building or renovating a home is a unique experience to the individual, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. This is evident in the different approaches our panellists took with their properties.

Wendy: “Our builders were confident that we could work with the drafting team in their office, and this proved to be correct. Most of their suggestions about changes really enhanced our ideas, and the 3D modelling they used really helped us visualise how our home was going to look.”

Di: “As this was our first new build, we chose to engage an architect, and it actually turned out to be a great experience.”

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Wendy worked closely with her drafting team to get the design she dreamed of for her Hamptons home.

DECISION #2: BEST PRACTICE FOR CHOOSING A BUILDER

When it comes to choosing the right builder, Wendy and Di both agree that it comes down to a number of factors: cost, level of service, communication, experience and plenty of research on the home owner’s part.

Wendy: “We knew the look we wanted for our home, which narrowed down the choice of builders considerably. At our first meeting we showed them a picture of the American home we loved from the e-plans catalogue, and they knew exactly what style we were after. This might sound simple, but not a lot of builders actually understood the aesthetic we were trying to achieve. Also, not a lot of local builders were available at the time, and we wanted to see evidence of their work.”

Di: “It's important to get the right builder for your project who will deliver what you want, for the price you want and with the level of service you need. If you don't quite click with a builder, then they are probably not the one for you. Communication is key in building your relationship, so read reviews and, if possible, inspect past or current projects for quality.”

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Di chose Axon Cladding to bring her modern farmhouse look to life.

DECISION #3: HOW TO COMPARE QUOTES DILIGENTLY

Whether it’s a new build from scratch or a renovation that has to partner well with your existing home, cost is usually the major influencer on the final decision. Sometimes you’ll want to shop around for a number of quotes, while other times the first pick will just feel ‘right’. The bottom line both panellists agree on: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Wendy: “We didn't actually shop around for building quotes as we were very happy with the team that drew up our plans. We actually did own the plans so could have used them to get other quotes, but we had already developed a good working relationship by that stage and really wanted them to build our home. The whole process went relatively smoothly and we are thrilled with the quality of our final build.”

Di: “Get several quotes. If a quote seem unrealistically low, it’s usually a cause for concern. The same applies if it's really expensive. Do lots of research online and talk to people who are currently building or have built in the past, asking lots of questions and comparing notes. You will quickly get an idea about whether your quotes are accurate.”

While there’s plenty to think about, building a home or renovating an established property always comes down to sound decision-making. Wendy and Di both played a critical role in their home’s success – and with the right people and the right products, you can too.


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