Article: Speak Easy

What To Expect  When You’re  Expecting To Build  A New HouseWhat To Expect When You’re Expecting To Build A New House

REINZ told us on December 14 that Northland achieved a record median house sale price during November, up 21.2% to $515,000. Compare that to $590,000 for some brand new house and land packages at Kotata Heights, Whangarei. It’s obvious that purchasing a new build is worth seriously considering. One of the benefits I’ve always personally enjoyed is your neighbours in a development of new housing will probably have similar lifestyles to you – ten years into a good career, professional people with good family values. People who care about property upkeep. Fewer irresponsible people. 

Anyway for you, constant reader, I hereby offer some guidance on what to iron out with the builder when you elect to have a new house built off the plans.

Some builders may quote a cheaper price for a similar sized home by omitting to include essentials, so here are some things to consider:

• Check whether the builder has a loss of deposit guarantee, structural performance guarantee and materials and workmanship guarantee

• Get agreed completion dates written down (few houses are built in less than 9 months; up to 12 months is normal)

• Check to see if your builder can offer a 3D walk-through tour of the house you’re choosing (most great building franchises offer this on their website)

• Get advice on the provisional sum you may be charged.

A Provisional Sum (PS sum) is money a builder allows when they don’t know accurate costs for some items. These estimates, if too low, can be setting everybody up to fail if the price of a certain material is larger than anticipated or if it fluctuates. Remember NZ lacks competitive prices on building materials since we have so few suppliers.

• The Building Code requires homes built in certain locations can require extra engineering, bracing and finish protection, so be sure your house is being built on a zone where earthquakes, high winds and corrosion are taken into consideration in the build cost.

• Excavations, earthworks and the foundation: ensure these costs are factored in.

• Check precisely what the area of your home means. Decks, patios and cobbled areas and stairs: do these all affect the supposed floor size of your home?

• Landscaping is a rather large variable. There are houses in the subdivision in north Pukekohe where some houses literally have AstroTurf, which is a dirty word. Get a good model of what the green stuff is going to look like.

An ideal way to find a builder whose flavour you like is to head to Use the easy online magazine reader to flip over the last few issues of PropertyPlus. If you can manage not to be sidetracked by my hypnotic columns, you’ll see great new build options offered by at least eight Northland building companies. Head to their websites, play with their 3D tools and start designing today.

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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