Apr 29, 2015 12:23 pm
In a hypothetical scenario for a custom build, would you go with the building group you were absolutely impressed by consistently over the last few years even though you knew it would cost more, or one that you think do a good quality job on the build but you think 'meh' when you look through their displays & completed houses?
We're in the process of being right at the start of engaging for a custom KDR and want to get the build project managed through design & build. We've spoken to a few small build firms, and I keep coming back to one. I know that we may have to amend our aspirational plans (which is fine, they're not set in stone) to be able to build with them, but the finish will be top notch. I love the look of their homes regardless of whether they're trad & super slick modern, and they have great reviews and have been easy to deal with even when we were tyrekicking 4 years ago.
On the other hand, there's a company where we've checked out their displays, looked through their custom builds and the quality is good, and for the price point we could probably get whatever we want and then some, but their exteriors etc just leave me quite cold; I suspect that they use a couple of different building designers who are a little bit stuck in a niche design wise and they just don't inspire me.
Just musing, might not get any replies but would you go heart over head? I can endlessly justify it... just wondering whether I'm being stubborn and unrealistic. We're planning to stay in the home for 10+ years (planning!).
Both companies have excellent reviews.
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice2
Apr 29, 2015 2:42 pm
I'd go with your gut choice. If you're doing a KDR I'm assuming you're attached to the area and want to live in something you're going to love long-term. You want to love it from every angle - building (even more so for a KDR) is such a fraught exercise as it is, you need to love the result. Heart!
Jen (& Dave)
Plantation Bronte, Ormeau Ridge, Gold Coast QLD
12/03/2015 - Commencement...
26/08/2015 - Handover!
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice3
Apr 30, 2015 8:51 am
Thanks Ilaeria. I *feel* like I'm doing the right thing (and quite frankly DH is quite happy to leave the planning to me - as long as I stay around budget and he gets to do the electric / cabling choices!) was just putting it out there in case I'm being really silly.
After all, how many times do people build in their lives - apart from a few who make a hobby of it, I'm guessing you only build once or twice.
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice4
Apr 30, 2015 4:56 pm
I suppose it would depend how much extra the cost was. Don't forget also that the display houses you preferred may have had a lot of hidden 'extra's'. You can also ask the cheaper builder to quote you on an exterior that you like. (we picked one from another builders display because our builder also is rather unimaginative!)
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice5
Apr 30, 2015 5:33 pm
Yep, makes sense ajansen, however because they custom build every home they don't put any prices on their display homes. So we've given our a sketch design, budget, the type of finish we want and they've indicated that its definitely achievable. Once we've done the full design we'll get an itemised cost breakdown.
The other company do have 'off the plan' houses, as well as custom, but we'd go through their custom design process. However both their off the plan and their custom houses I have been very about.
We'll go through the design process with the first builder, as that isn't a significant outlay. Then I guess if it's just going to be way too expensive we'll consider our options (ie - redesign some sections or walk away).
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice6
Apr 30, 2015 7:28 pm
I can offer my view having been through similar. We landed on the project build side and are nearing the end of the build.
I still have a yearning for the custom build esp for the design but realistically we have a better outcome with the project build.
Mainly because we are financially constrained. Both in reality and in mind set. We have friends who are doing a custom build which will be lovely but their costs are huge. Their constant decision making is draining (for them) and constant trying to manage the builder... And still keep a good relationship with the builder!
With ours we had a limited choice in selections so we don't have that constant thinking thing.
Even so I find it is such a brain drain. Constantly reviewing ideas and choices, thinking about what else, reviewing contract conditions, looking at what to do after handover, trivial details which just take heaps of time to think about and may go no where. But one thing is that the cost is somewhat constrained. So at least we know we can afford the build.
Our custom build from the get go was estimated to be about $300k over the base price of the project plan we ended up with. I've never heard of a build coming in under budget...
Good luck. Would love to see the custom build... Just wanted to let you know what we did
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice7
Apr 30, 2015 9:02 pm
I think it depends on how much design input you want from the builder. If you know what you want and specify it fully, the lack of design flair in the cheaper builder won't be an issue. However, if you are after the design input of the other builder, then you are paying extra for that design - which may well be worth it if it gives you the house you are after.
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice8
May 01, 2015 8:42 am
oneJohn, we know what we want inside the house and need some help refining it, and the split level of the front, however I don't actually know what style of facade we want.. so yes the input from the designer is really important there. I can picture a few bits and pieces, and certainly have a scrapbook of ideas so hopefully that helps some.
yvonneh, I have admired your house - it looks great. You should be really pleased with what you've built - absolutely loving your gardening plans too. Although I'm sure it would have been disappointing to find the custom build was so over budget. This firm also do the project side of the build too, so they do design + build, I guess similar to some of the project builder's custom design process. So in that way at least they do the project side of it, as the husband said why don't we get the design done independently and then contract out the build; however I work big hours and don't have the mental capacity to be a hands on project manager - and he can't organise his way out of a paper bag (it's ok, he knows!).
We'd still obviously have to make a raft of decisions and get independent inspections, but I can't see the process as being *that* different to some of the smaller project builders, except that we'd be dealing with the same people all the time (their tradespeople are permanent with them too, and move from one build to the next). That's one of the real selling points.
Ah, what an interesting journey this is going to be. Thanks for all your input. nice to be able to muse somewhere.
Re: Heart vs Head - Builder Choice10
May 01, 2015 1:43 pm
Your dilemma sounds identical to the one we faced. We ended up going with the custom builder that we felt really good about right from the start. We did spend alot of time talking to project builders as well as another custom builder, and found that once we started comparing like with like (eg the finishes; appliances; quality etc), then the custom builder wasn't really much more expensive. We haven't regretted our decision once. Other than an upgrade to our footings which we appreciate was necessary, we haven't had any nasty surprises with cost escalations and the builder has bent over backwards to give us what we wanted. If you've already done your background research into the custom builder, I'd give another vote to 'go with your gut'. Best of luck whichever way you go.
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