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My4beautifulboys

Project home vs custom build

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My4beautifulboys

Just curious for those who have built new, which way did you decide to go? We’ve had plans drawn up by an architect for a 4 x 2, office, second living area for children. And we have been quoted on it by a fairly reputable builder. After since speaking to a financial planner, he feels that it is an exorbitant amount and expected it to be more in line with half of that cost. Which I dont feel is completely correct.

Are project homes built on the cheaper side vs a custom build, do you think?

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SeaPrincess

Project homes benefit from economies of scale. The plan is there, it’s been built, they know exactly how much of everything is needed. Variations add on because some items will need to be estimated, but we built and some of our variations were added cost, and some were reductions (overall, we added though!)

 

I’m in WA and we built with one of the builders who has a south-west division. FWIW, we started out trying to design our own, and it was way over our budget and lacking in many features that we wanted compared with the designs that we looked at with the same builder.

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Expelliarmus

We built with a project builder and it was finished in less than 18mths and we’ve been in it 4 years. Everyone I know with a custom build has had their builder go bust and it took forever to be finished. Some are currently bordering on homelessness as the rental is finishing.

 

I would go with project builder myself due to positive experience with them and poor experiences with custom

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My4beautifulboys

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve seen a project home advertised at a starting price of *$263K. So I don’t know how much above and beyond they go from that.

The quote we’ve received is a lot more than that. But a fairly high standard of features, fittings etc throughout.

We have been told the build will take 9 to 12 months, which I believe is true as we’ve received information from others, regarding the custom builder. To make it affordable we may have to cut back on certain features, room sizes, number of rooms, large outdoor area.

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JennaJ

We built custom because the slope of our block meant there would be so many variations on a project home, the cost was almost as much. We thought the extra cost was worth it as we ended up with exactly what we wanted. The whole build was finished within 12 months. Some project builders have a 24 month timeframe to be aware of depending on which area you live in. Costs & timeframes are kept down when they are building in the same area eg a new estate.

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CallMeFeral

Typically project is cheaper but there is less design flexibility (which is why it's cheaper).

 

The $236k would have at least $150k costs on top of it once you get to your actual tender though, and probably isn't for a good quality 2 storey build. Those seem more like $400k starting cost at the moment for a big one (and $700k final quote)

 

Pm me if you want more info, we're going through this process now (with a project builder) and have gone into quite a lot of detail. Would prefer architect designed (and passive house!) but it's a huge premium so here we are.

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Green Sage

From talking to others and building ourselves, a custom build can cost double what a big builder will charge for a similar home off their plans. Especially if your own architect has designed it.

 

Our friends got burned badly, they told an architect their budget, architect drew up a simple home, they went and got quotes from a builder and it was about double what they wanted to spend.

They went through a big builder instead, tweaked one of their plans, and got 90% of what they wanted for half the price. Meanwhile they had thrown away all that money on the architect plans.

 

So definitely worth talking to the big builders first. Even if you option up everything to suit your needs it could come out a lot cheaper.

Edited by ~LemonMyrtle~
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SeaPrincess
1582885565[/url]' post='18572062']

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve seen a project home advertised at a starting price of *$263K. So I don’t know how much above and beyond they go from that.

 

The starting price often doesn’t include things like:

  • Light fittings
  • Floor coverings (other than tiles to wet areas)
  • Window treatments
  • Painting

My parents are building at the moment, and they’ve estimated 12 months for 2-storey, but that’s Perth metro.

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Green Sage

Typically project is cheaper but there is less design flexibility (which is why it's cheaper).

 

The $236k would have at least $150k costs on top of it once you get to your actual tender though, and probably isn't for a good quality 2 storey build. Those seem more like $400k starting cost at the moment for a big one (and $700k final quote)

 

Pm me if you want more info, we're going through this process now (with a project builder) and have gone into quite a lot of detail. Would prefer architect designed (and passive house!) but it's a huge premium so here we are.

 

Depends on the builder. We built through boutique homes and their standard build (back nearly 10 years ago) had pretty much all the inclusions we needed. We hardly had to upgrade anything. Just a few power points, and some minor plan changes. I actually wanted to downgrade the showers but they wouldn’t let me cause it was no longer available, so we got a discount instead. All up we spend maybe $20k on added extras above their advertised price.

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FoxinSocks

We bought a block of land, and worked with an architect over a couple of years to design a house. Despite giving a firm budget, a modest spec (3x2 plus playroom), we ended up spending almost $50k on architect fees and approvals, and quotes were twice our budget. We even did sense checks of price with builders twice during the process, which didn’t raise red flags. Then, when redesign was required to reduce the price, the architects tried to bill us MORE.

 

We sold the land and bought a house. I’m seriously scarred.

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FuzzyChocolateToes

 

 

The starting price often doesn’t include things like:

  • Light fittings
  • Floor coverings (other than tiles to wet areas)
  • Window treatments
  • Painting

My parents are building at the moment, and they’ve estimated 12 months for 2-storey, but that’s Perth metro.

I haven't heard of painting being an extra but I agree with your other points. :) And it's not just light fittings but everything electrical. We built with a volume builder and electrical upgrades came to ~$10,000. LED lights throughout, extra power points ( standard is just one per room!) data points etc. Also, insulation in the walls was an upgrade, double glazed windows etc etc.

Edited by FuzzyChocolateToes
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My4beautifulboys

Yes I absolutely agree that the $236K can easily have 150k added onto that by the time it’s had a few changes to become a satisfactory suited plan.

 

Foxinsocks; sorry to hear of your bad experience. Our architect hasn’t charged quite as hefty as that. But it seems he does design with a range of budgets in mind, but I’d say more to the higher price tag range. We stated clearly before we started the design, that we had a budget to follow. He understood that, and agreed.

Now if we are to redesign and make alterations to cut things off. It appears that there’s going to be charges from him. It’s very stressful.

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SeaPrincess

Also, insulation was an upgrade, double glazed windows etc etc.

 

Insulation is required by law in WA now. It wasn’t standard when we built, and it was a key factor in our selection of builder.

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got my tinsel on

I think a lot depends on the project builder.

 

We did a knock-down rebuild 12 years ago. 2 storey, 5 bed, study, 2.5 bathrooms, double garage, 3 large living areas. Brick veneer and concrete tiles. Approx 360 sq metres in size.

 

Paint included - only paid extra if more than two paints used (1 for walls, 1 for ceiling). Painting to all doors, architraves and skirting boards included.

 

Roof and wall insulation was included.

 

Gas hot water system, gas cooktop, electric oven included.

 

Floor and wall tiles and tiling to wet areas included.

 

House demolished mid March, builder took over site first week of April and we moved in to new house last week of November. An 8 months build.

 

OP, I would look first at project home builders as there are so many designs and they can be modified. We recently (just for curiosity) attended an open home of a house the same builder and house design as ours. They had tweaked a couple of bits but it would have been at minimal cost e.g walling off one of the living areas to make an additional bedroom and making what is a huge main bathroom smaller to give more room to the adjacent bedroom.

 

Project home builders are willing to be very flexible.

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FuzzyChocolateToes

 

 

Insulation is required by law in WA now. It wasn’t standard when we built, and it was a key factor in our selection of builder.

You are right, ceiling insulation is standard. However, we upgraded the R value over the minimum and also had it placed in the walls at our cost.

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BusbyWilkes

Also OP, if you’re rural (which I think maybe you are, if I’ve remembered correctly) you may be limited with who you can build with. Is the project builder you’re comparing the custom build to close by to you?

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kimasa

We did project. DH has worked for both project and custom and there was zero chance he would go custom.

 

What's included depends on the company.

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Kiwi Bicycle

In laws did a custom build through a project builder. They had to as they purchased a triangle shaped corner lot in a subdivision. The company had their draughtman draw up the plans. It was then costed and specced ( for instance they were given X budget to purchase appliances from a certain supplier). They also wrote every single item, make and model to be installed ( MIL caught them trying to install different toilets, so out came the contract).

They came in on budget with only a few last minute upgrades ( FIL decided grass seed wasn't going to grow fast enough, so paid for ready lawn) coming out of their pockets.

A large enough project building company may accomdate this, however they were building other houses in the subdivision at the same time, so were already working in the area. In laws plans weren't hugely different to what they were building, it just had to fit into the site space correctly.

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Dadto2

It depends on the builder, we built 4 houses. initially it was tempting to get them to do everything, floorings, painting, electrical stuff, but it works out cheaper if they do the basic shell of a house and you do everything else. If it's $30/LED downlight with a sparky, the building company will charge $50, same with air con, painting, floorings etc We even used the same carpet company as the builder was going to use, but bypassed the builder and it was $1500 cheaper!

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born.a.girl

You are right, ceiling insulation is standard. However, we upgraded the R value over the minimum and also had it placed in the walls at our cost.

 

I think wall insulation must be compulsory now in Vic, too.

 

We had a small renovation done - basically just altered our whole side of the house. The new brickwork where the door was had to have insulation under the bricks.

 

The irony was we were making the glassed area much bigger, but no problems doing that, despite it facing west (which now has significant deciduous greenery protecting it).

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CallMeFeral

Depends on the builder. We built through boutique homes and their standard build (back nearly 10 years ago) had pretty much all the inclusions we needed. We hardly had to upgrade anything. Just a few power points, and some minor plan changes. I actually wanted to downgrade the showers but they wouldn’t let me cause it was no longer available, so we got a discount instead. All up we spend maybe $20k on added extras above their advertised price.

 

The $150k I referred to was not even about inclusions. Between site costs, hydraulic something, traffic control, tiger tails, stormwater something, BAL ratings, council fees etc, the tender price we've received from everyone we've tendered with has been at least $50-$100k just in standard things, plus another $50k because of our sloping block and what that requires.

Inclusions on top of that, but if you aren't fussy and there is a discount on a 'premium inclusions' type package then that can be a lot or a little.

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CallMeFeral

There are also now some 'project builder' arms that do custom designs but (supposedly) leverage off the main company economies and relationships but allow a high level of customisation. We are currently in the beginning stages of the process with one of these. They are supposed to be cheaper than full custom but still offer a lot of flexibility (and are certainly in the ballpark of one of the high end non-custom ones as we also got a tender from them). There are also budget project build places which when you are comparing between, you can feel the lesser quality, but if you weren't going from one to the other it might not be that evident.

Edited by CallMeFeral

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Green Sage

 

 

The $150k I referred to was not even about inclusions. Between site costs, hydraulic something, traffic control, tiger tails, stormwater something, BAL ratings, council fees etc, the tender price we've received from everyone we've tendered with has been at least $50-$100k just in standard things, plus another $50k because of our sloping block and what that requires.

Inclusions on top of that, but if you aren't fussy and there is a discount on a 'premium inclusions' type package then that can be a lot or a little.

 

The price we got quoted initially included all site costs and permits and approvals etc. That should be in the quote. Only thing that changed was an upgraded slab after they did a site soil test. So there was no extras to pay.

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CallMeFeral

The price we got quoted initially included all site costs and permits and approvals etc. That should be in the quote. Only thing that changed was an upgraded slab after they did a site soil test. So there was no extras to pay.

 

Ah, probably a difference in terminology. The OP mentioned a project home 'list price' of $236k. I'm assuming that's what's in the price books that they issue which is the base price for the house. Once a quote is done (with site costs and so on) it's usually a fair whack more than that.

I could be wrong, perhaps that's a quote price, but from the amount of it I suspect it's just the base price.

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My4beautifulboys

I really think that the list price of $236k is a starting figure. I imagine there would be a large amount of cost on top, to complete it. It sounds as though project builds are the best and most reasonable option.

We know of someone that purchased a brand new home on stumps, a reasonable sized home. But now it’s not big enough and have to spend on drafting and significant renovations. So I guess at the time it seems a good idea, but sometimes it’s not always ideal buying plan as is.

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