Sunday, 13 July 2014

Building a house or 2, part 1, Block buying

Hi my name is Sarah and my partner and business partner Matt is to my right. 
Recently we put up a photo on our facebook business page of our property plan, both to be developed in the popular family friendly location of West Launceston- close to the Cataract Gorge,  later this year. 

Our faces may look happy in the photo above, but let me tell you what this has personally taken to arrange this project - which is the development of two houses on different blocks (next to one another), one for re-sale and one for potential re-sale (we are undecided on that bit yet).

I have made the decision to share with you the steps we have needed to take since Feb last year (2013) which includes our journey right from the block buying stage.

This is a real account of what those wanting to build and arrange the building of their home design will have to do!

I hope I can provide a useful and really clear insight into the process of planning your building projects. Because as we have learned, a one stop shop for information to help us plan our project from scratch has been a challenge to find! Lucky we love a challenge. 

This first blog - below - will be covering the process of buying a block and what thoughts and strategies we had at this stage of our project. 

Block buying
Feb last year we looked out our window, down across our large backyard and over our fence to the vacant block behind us and decided let's build! This process of deciding and buying a block of land we found relatively straight forward and convenient seeing as though the block was right outside our back door and that we believed we were in the position to buy this block and make clear decisions around its use/ benefits and purpose in moving forward.

Our current backyard and the block we purchased behind us.
 Important things we recommend when buying a block of land:

Don't ever pay the asking price !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Can you afford it? 

Buying a block means paying for the utilities once committed (rates and water bills) and in many peoples cases, paying for additional loan costs because chances are they may already be paying off another mortgage from the home they are living in and are needing to take out a loan to buy this block of land.
Depending on the building option you run with (in our case, fairly heavy and lengthy building project timeline) you will find that you are neither generating an income from this purchase or decreasing your outgoings as you juggle the bills and payments of the existing dwelling you live in while you prepare this block for building. So be strategic in your thinking when you buy a block, aim to take away the emotion when buying and then follow my next snippet of advise below (even before you buy)

Talk to your accountant!

Your bank and their systems will indicate to you whether you can "on paper" afford to buy a block of land. However back this up by visiting your accountant as they can actually provide "advise" as to whether they think you 'actually' are in a position to afford the block of land and whether you can afford to achieve your future goals in and around this potential purchase! THIS IS V. IMPORTANT!

Why are you buying a block of land?
I actually cannot wait until some of my later blog posts come to life to discuss this question further, because anyone who has purchased a block of land to build, I am almost certain in this day and age and economic client/ council crazyness will ask themselves this question the entire way through their project lifespan. 
But at the initial stages, ensure you have had the discussion with either your partner, trusted others, bank and accountant, as to your intention or purpose for the land you have your eye on. Basically, avoid an impulse buy and give yourself every chance at succeeding in an financially efficient way.
We purchased the block behind our exiting dwelling because we see value in the geographical location, we see the opportunity to build on our existing dwelling which creates an opportunity to build two developments in unison which aims to decrease overall building cost ( like buy in bulk and save type mentality) we also saw the opportunity to Maximise the earning capacity from our existing block of land by being able to build a townhouse on it (building a home on a free block of land), and then proceed to build a larger family home (in comparison to the home we currently live in, which for our family of 4, we are quickly outgrowing) - we love this area so why not give ourselves the option to live basically in the same street - as mentioned at the beginning we are actually undecided about whether we will love into the larger home which we build and are therefore making cut and dry decisions about the build in order to not get to emotional on our building expenses - later blog on this one to come!!
You see all the thoughts we considered in this process not to mention our future goals of progressing towards property development, other income streams etc...(later post to feature on this).

Other things to consider when purchasing a block of land!
Visit your local council, and really do your research as to the blocks - serviceability! If it doesn't have serviceability in place you have just added further costs to your budget. 

Bottom line is in my view -buying a block is where alot of unseen money goes to in the initial stages. You really do need a plan in place before comitting to this type of investment/ purchase. 
Another bottom line is - visit your local council and triple check that your intention for use of your block of land can  become a reality. Rules and regulations may be the downfall so start fact finding!!

So many more blogs to come following this! it is literally unbelievable how many steps and decisions come into play when being extensively involved with building your own home.

Stay tuned because in my next blog I will be covering - 
Soil tests

Launceston Plumbing and Gas Pty Ltd, for all plumbing, natural gas and lp gas jobs
0438 274 269 or email to

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