Saturday, January 29, 2011

Premliminary Contract Page by Page

The prelim contract is a many paged document with house plans (basic), location of house on site and over 100 points that need careful attention to ensure everything you asked for is included,  the plans are drawn correctly, nothing has been added by mistake and it is the first opportunity to see how much it all costs. It took us about 2 hours to go through with our SC so I will try to make this as brief as possible.

The Nolan 45 Chateau sits fantastically on the block of land which is 1000sqm giving us ample usable space for a pool and a garden and the plans with the alterations we have asked for look close to spot on. We notice a few errors like the gym room part of the triple garage is too large and no provision had been left for a workshop/storage area. No door on powder room and who left that sill bit of wall there by the WC, the laundry layout is wrong and the air con pad needs moving over as there will be no where to put a washing line. No problem, a few scribbles and lines drawn on, alterations made and photocopied.
What are all those in fill areas over the garage and windows? Aaargh it's fibreboard which will be painted, no way that's ugly so we request that gets changed to brick knowing it will cost more but it will be worth it for the aesthetics.
Draw on position of pool and it's far enough away from the house that we won't need additional reinforcing, no extra cost there then.

Now it gets interesting.

  • Nolan 45 Chateau fixed price package including butler's pantry, triple garage and grand outdoor room 2 comes in just shy of $367k including site fees (must get a breakdown of the figures so I can see what we were charged for site fees). We had guesstimated $370K so that was no surprise.
  • Land has slight fall so will need some cut and fill.
  • Soil is 'S' type which means slightly reactive so it doesn't expand or contract much when it goes form dry to wet and vice versa. However the engineer recommends upgrade of the slab to suit 'M' class soil and some concrete piers to support the weight of our massive house. This will cost slightly more but it is the chance you take we you do not opt for a fixed site fee. However be aware that a fixed fee is usually based on the worst classes of soil and you may end up paying more than you needed on site fees.

The contract lists all the additions and alterations with costs and we are surprised to see that we get a credit for some of the things we didn't want or reconfigured. But mainly it is debits so the upgrade price is slowly climbing over the $400k mark and we are only halfway through. We also have a list of things we forgot to mention for the initial wish list. I'm starting to feel faint!
Some upgrades are quite reasonable price wise and others seem over the top like $1500 to put 2 additional shelves in the butler's pantry - they quickly get deleted as we can get those done at a later date.
  • Cedar cladding to the massive outdoor room is going to cost $8k now I am going to pass out! We agree that it is an indulgence and quickly cross it out.
  • Ceramic recessed shelves to shower $384 seems good value.
  • Timber and glass cavity slide doors to study and en suite almost $6k. Hmm need to give that some serious consideration. Let's keep going and come back to that later. Oh but they will look so amazing.
  • Electrical provision we have included $10k and hopefully will get a credit if we manage not to spend it all when we do the electrical plan.
  • Huge kitchen island with extra caeserstone gable ends, additional kitchen cupboards, pot drawers and extra oven approx $8k - no negotiating on this we have such a lovely kitchen where we live now that we will not accept any compromise in our dream home.
  • Reconfigure bathroom and floor to ceiling tiles in bathroom and en suite approx $4.5k
  • Ducted reverse cycle air con $14k. Oh but we get a free i-Text control (whatever that is) as part of the promo.

Grand Total = $440k ....... so far as we would also like

Timber stairs $8k
Bricks and roof tiles $7k
Solar guessing $4k
Security system around $1500
Upgrade carpet $3k
Picture windows to dining room $3,400
Upgrade doors to butler's pantry and powder room guessing $2k
Render to portico $1800

Then there will be the additional cost of finishes on kitchen cupboards and vanities plus we want to go for wall hung vanities which will obviously cost more.

Looks like we will come in around $100k+ over the base price, may have to reconsider those fancy doors to the en suite and study?

Didn't sign off on anything today as we wanted to go over the contract in fine detail again as surely we've missed something or can save money somewhere.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Boral Bricks

Can't beat a family morning out to a brick display centre in the baking hot summer sun with no shade and the heat bouncing back off every brick surface from all angles. You'd think being Queensland that they'd put up a shade cloth or 2!
Anyway sun hats at the ready we peruse the display and confirm very quickly that only the linea flat roof tiles in charcoal grey will do for us, not that we'll see much of them way up there on a double storey home but we know they will look beautiful. Might need to consider making a view hatch to the roof just so we can show them off, erm may be that's getting a little carried away? Must be the affect of the heat.
Nice, simple display can get a feel and over all impression of how the brick looks on a larger expanse, better than the 6 bricks stuck on a white board at Studio M.
Like one brick from the standard range and another from the category 5 upgrade will see if we can get that priced by our SC.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Prelim is Ready

Got a call from our SC today letting us know the Preliminary Contract is ready for us to give the once over. Booked to do this Saturday as we will  have to go through it point by point to check our wish list has been added correctly, see how much we've spent so far and if there are any alterations that need making.
Looking forward to Australia Day at the beach tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Shall We Have? A Trip to Studio M

Time to get serious about what finishes and colours we want to put in the house as surely the preliminary contract would be ready soon. Nice drive down to Robina, found Studio M really easily where we were greeted with a warm welcome and as this was our first visit the young lady showed us around explaining which finishes and products were standard, upgrades or included in the Neo Dusk promo. She was quick to point out that she didn't know any prices and that would be covered in the colour selection appointments. I found that both frustrating and disappointing as I like to have all the facts at hand before making a decision. Might as well put a kid in a toy shop, tell them to choose anything they like and hope they have enough pocket money to cover it when they got to the check out. It could end in tears!
After the whirlwind tour my partner and I were slightly shell shocked we'd spent so much time designing the interior that we had given no consideration to how the exterior might look. No one said there would be bricks, roof tiles, window finishes, gutters and downpipes to decide on. First time house builders naivety had just struck!

Bricks: nothing in the standard range grabs us, picked 3 options in different upgrades so will need to go to Boral and Austral to get a better idea of how they look.
Roof Tiles: oh those flat ones are lovely. Another upgrade. Charcoal grey
Garage: slimline in a colorbond finish. Dark or light which will it be? Yeah at least this is standard.
Gutters and downpipes: standard to match roof or garage
Window frames: is that all the choices? Not impressed better go for black then.
Glass: clear is standard wonder how much to get grey tint.
Carpet: the promo carpet is not great and will need replacing in 3-5 yrs. Will cost about $2500-$4000 to upgrade. At least the carpet guy could figure out approx square meters and help us with costings
External door, taps, basins, toilets all promo. Well that's an easy choice then.
Wardrobe doors: mirror in all bedrooms plus one set of glass for master suite. The frameless ones look nice but how do you open them. Finger prints all over them and a couple of chipped nails and presto I have them open. Nice looking but zero points for practicality.
Baths: upgraded to extra deep and long baths
Floorwastes: upgrade to smart tile
Basin wastes: upgrade to chrome pop-up
Staircase: has to be the timber finish and yes you've guessed it that will be another upgrade

That just leaves the kitchen and bathroom benchtops, cupboards and vanities and paint colours. Not much then!!! We have been here 3 hours already and I am losing the will to pick up yet another laminex sample so quit while we're ahead. (Having a touch of deja vu and design fatigue after only having done this for the business 6 months ago). So with heads in a spin we take a very tired and fed up 4 yr old to the beach as promised what a great way to unwind.

Can't recommend enough how important going to Studio M as much as possible prior to your colour selections is. Otherwise you could find yourself super under prepared and in for a lot of very fast decision making. Give yourself the chance to make considered choices that you know will work for you before hand rather than making snap decisions you could regret.

We will definitely need to come to Studio M again as there are all those laminates to go through before we can narrow down exactly what we want for the kitchen and bathroom finishes. Also can't make up our minds whether to go browns or greys at this stage.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Wow what is happening 75% of Queensland is underwater and now Brisbane is a wash. Fortunately both our home and business are up high and dry. Have lost power at work so had to shut and am now either at home watching the news or looking at the flood water rising over the Centenary Highway and near our block of land which an elderly neighbour reckoned may have gone under in '74. The land is fine but unfortunately the same can't be said for so many others whose homes have been completed trashed. It's going to take a long time for Brisbane to recover from this.
I also couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the news coverage of the Toowoomba tsunami at first I thought it must have been a third world country having a flash flood not a town right here on the doorstep. Absolutely terrible - they had so little warning.
Many suburbs here are totally cut off with no power or food and the media only seems to be focusing on the CBD and inner suburbs and the flood peak on Thursday. Let's hope it doesn't go as high as they are predicting and goes down quickly. I have been on the weather site and the river is at 13m at Jindalee.
Strangely it is a beautiful sunny day and there are loads of glorious butterflies everywhere.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Prelimary Contract

CSC e-mailed us to say that our preliminary contract has been ordered.
Also reminded us to check out Studio M and not leave it all until the selection appointments.

How exciting it's really starting to happen now.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Possible upgrades we'd like to have.

Extra Bi-Fold Door

Kitchen Window

Cedar Cladding

Technica 600mm Ovens

Mirror Robe Doors
Butler's Pantry

Ohhhh What A Nice Sink
Super Smart Doors - I bet they cost loads!

Nice pool (Lindrum at Underwood)

Stair Lights - Lovely Carpet

Extra Large Bath (add $200)

Cantilever Stairs
"Oh Yeah Baby"
 (add $8000)


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Studio M

Back to work after a lovely relaxing break.
Got e-mail from CSC today with address of Studio M, Tile Studio and electrical. Even provided a little map to make it easier for us to find. Everything is in Robina which is on the Gold Coast and will take us about an hour to get there but hey we can always make a day of it and go to the beach afterwards, if it ever stops raining! The beach would not a bad idea with a 4 yr old in tow as he'll be a bit tired after the drive and going round a showroom. Luckily for us he loves looking at house plans and choosing colours especially if he can take samples home with him so hopefully we can keep him engaged long enough to start getting a feel of what's on offer.

Studio M have samples, colours, doors and door handles, kitchen and bathroom ideas, taps, tiles and much more for you to put your mark and style into your home. They are open Saturday 9.30 - 3.00 so you can have a browse, start gathering ideas and see what options are available.This will be worth a visit as we haven't really given this much detailed thought and believe you can never be over prepared. Nothing worse than turning up to the colour selection appointments without an clue then ending up making pressured decisions which you may live to regret. (Think we'll get Nana to look after the boy when we have our selection appointments).

Websites Studio M and Tile Studio