Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wisdom our choice – 21/05/10 deposit for tender paid

There were a few key points that we were looking for in our new home.

·         Affordability

·         Standard and bonus inclusions

·         Downstairs bathroom, large study, good sized kitchen

·         Drive through garage

·         Four large bedrooms

·         Rooms we were actually going to use (e.g. no need for formal living or dining)

·         Alfresco with provision for second kitchen

Few simple requirements we thought, however turn out to be almost impossible to find! After numerous visits to display villages all around Sydney, we realised that our favourite homes would be between Wisdom and Masterton. In particular we were really happy with the inclusions that Wisdom homes were offering for a small price. The homes we liked were the Aspiration and the Impression. That is until we made a visit to Oran Park and saw the Manhattan. Give us 36 squares, no extra ensuites, downstairs bathroom and perfect! We really liked the layout and modern styling including the sunken home theatre room. The sales reps at The Ponds Display Village for Wisdom Homes were very helpful, as we bugged them with hundreds of questions and ideas. In the end it was a very tough choice between the Impression and Manhattan but we made up our minds and decided on the Manhattan 36 at last. So $700 was paid to draw up a tender and the waiting game began.
I wont add any photos of the display home but they can be found here:

Land! - What you need to know

Some key points when buying land:
·         Design guidelines / restrictions. The Ponds has very strict guidelines that must be followed including landscape if you're after their $5000 rebate. There 8 pages in fact which can be downloaded from the ponds website. Basically covers setbacks, house exterior textures (render / cladding etc), solar shading, articulation, driveway and concreting as well as many, many more. They might have had good intentions with these restrictions but it has become slightly ridiculous in my opinion. They will not even accept certain bricks or colours.
·         Orientation – We wanted ours to face either north or east (solar and auspicious reasons)
·         Classification of soil. Have a pre purchase soil test done if possible. Typically you will have either M class or H class soil, the latter being slightly more expensive to build on as it requires a thicker slab. You definitely want to stay away from E or P (Problem site) soil. H class can cost 5k to 10k more.  In my opinion though, the stronger foundation u have, the better it is.
·         Check for sewer lines and manholes. Building over these is something you want to avoid
·         Trees. Some may have to be removed and this can cost you a pretty penny
·         Find out the slope of the land. The flatter it is, the less site costs you will incur. You will also avoid having to build retaining walls etc
·         Width of land. Will the house you want fit? Beware of narrow “smart lots”. Check each dimension carefully. Remember corner blocks require you to leave more space.
·         Is there recycled water? Will save you from a rainwater tank.
·         Check for soil salinity. If it is classified as saline soil you will have to pay extra for a layer of protection between the slab and the soil. Also you will only be permitted the use of exposure grade bricks which may narrow your choices a bit further.
As you can see, buying land is not as easy as it seems!

Friday, April 22, 2011

27/02/10 – Land Reserved

It was a late February Friday afternoon and new blocks of land were scheduled for release the next day.  It wasn’t even dark yet and there were already lines of cars and people camping out in eager anticipation of next morning.  It was then we knew that we too would have to camp out if we wanted our dream land. And so we did, spending the night in the car and hoping that number 8 in the queue would suffice.  We did however get to spend some time with some of our future neighbours, which made us glad to be hopefully part of such a friendly neighbourhood.  Luckily enough as the sun rose the next morning; we were able to secure the land of our choice. Very lucky indeed.

A Reservation fee of $200 was paid on the day and a 5% deposit was to be paid 21 days later and contracts exchanged.  What next? You wait for the land to be registered. An estimated month of July was given however ours registered earlier in June. It is pretty import to keep track of when the land will be registered as you only get about 1 week from that day to pay off the land. The land we picked is located in the Alba neighbourhood and has a very funky street name. Our little piece of Australia:

For those that don’t know, The Ponds is a new suburb about 1 hour from Sydney City. It is close to shops, schools and has sports fields, tennis courts, cycling tracks and is pretty close to public transport also. The M7 isn't far but the library and leisure centre is even closer. Plenty of parks to be found as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hello World

Welcome to our Blog! This is my first post so firstly I will give you a bit of background information. The first few posts will be backdated as a lot has happened and there is a fair bit of catching up to do. The purpose of this blog will be for reflection and perhaps a few tips and advice for fellow home builders. This house is to be the third house we will have built in Sydney. The last being built in Newbury, Stanhope Gardens with Mirvac Homes. Photos are attached for that feeling of nostalgia. Our main reasons for selling were a small kitchen, lots of waste of space, clubhouse levies, and we wanted a smaller house to suit a family of three.
So after a very long search we decided to build in The Ponds. This area would be most suitable for us due to its affordability and decent sized blocks. As a bonus it is situated quite close to Quakers Hill station and there are no ongoing levies to pay. Here our journey begins.