Build, don’t buy; an industry expert’s top tips for first time buyers in 2013

By Darren Wallis

Darren tnWould-be first time buyers should be thinking seriously about building their home instead of buying in 2013.

Blogger: Darren Wallis, G.J. Gardner Homes

With record low interest rates and financial incentives for first ‘homebuilders’ who build instead of buy, we should see an increase in Australians taking the plunge into the property market.

To stimulate building and boost demand for new homes, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia state governments offer up to $15,000 as a first-homebuyer construction or new home grant for first home buyers building their homes.

In addition to state government incentives, newer homes are easier to rent and more energy efficient, repair bills are few and far between and typically there are better tax benefits for depreciation on newer homes when compared to existing older properties.

First homebuyers often rule out building a new home because the process seems overwhelming, complicated and expensive—but working with an experienced and trusted homebuilding company makes it easy and could save them thousands.

The attractive aspect of building a home is that homebuyers can design the perfect home that is modern and matched to their budget and lifestyle. But some ‘first-homebuilders’ make the mistake of not doing their research before taking the plunge into building.

I cannot stress the importance of researching land, building companies, the market and generally talking to the right people—with the correct information.

The process of building a home can be daunting and complicated, even if you have built a home before, but by talking and consulting with experts you will be able to make an informed and strategic decision.

The experts can help familiarise you with your local property market, research the area where you would like to build and know the ins and outs of building a new home—including timeframes, potential additional costs and choosing the right block of land.

Here are my top tips for first homebuyers deciding to build

- Before buying land it’s a good idea to take a registered builder to see it. They can point out potential problems with the block that may increase the cost of building.

- Choose a local builder, someone who knows the land, is conveniently located and has a reputation to uphold in the community

- Has your builder won awards? This is a good indication of quality of work and of someone who prides themselves in their craftsmanship

- Meet the registered builder to talk about your home as well as the admin, estimating and construction team who will be responsible for the day-to-day happenings while your home is under construction

- Check that your builder has a diverse range of plans so that you have a better chance of finding a style and design to suit your budget

- Ask if you will be allowed to make changes to the plan to custom design your home.

- Ensure your contract includes certainty of a fixed price on all possible items, particularly foundation and slab costs

- Discuss suitable times for onsite inspections while your home is under construction

More helpful hints and tips about building a home can be found in the ‘Get the Facts Upfront’ website and free booklet.

To learn more about first homebuyer construction and new home grants in your state, visit the below state government websites:


South Australia

New South Wales

 About Darren Wallis


G.J. Gardner Homes CEO, Darren Wallis, has spent the past year taking his company from good to great,expanding into the United States, raising significantly increased revenue, implementing an improved business model and winning several awards – not to mention the birth of his first daughter to add to his family of four boys.

Wallis has worked at G.J. Gardner Homes for the past 18 years, 11 of which as the CEO. Since taking on the top job, the group has grown from 20 offices in Australia to more than 110 in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Professionally, the last 12 months have been especially noteworthy both for Wallis as CEO and the company. As G.J. Gardner Homes’ CEO, Wallis has made tough business decisions involving carefully measured and calculated risks that have ultimately led to G.J. Gardner Home’s success today. On a daily basis, Wallis ensures that the company’s vision and direction is clear so the team is equipped to achieve the goal of becoming the world’s number one homebuilder.

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