Monday, March 28, 2011

The Land is Ours

It's official......the land is ours! Settlement happened at 3.45 this afternoon and all went to plan. As we've just got back from holiday in Vietnam I finished work early today which was great as it meant I could go with my family to run shouting "It's ours, it's ours!" through the long grass all over the block. We looked pretty crazy but hey who cares?

Now all we have to do is complete Studio M on Friday, finish packing this weekend and move into our apartment on Monday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Prices

Just received a copy of the final variations we asked for. The garage/storage area has been rectified giving us a credit of nearly $1250. Nice.

Wardrobe doors upgraded to mirror for $210 each
Timber and glass doors between familyroom and hallway $1848

Oh and then we were charged a $500 admin fee which Metricon waivered in the very next sentence. Glad to see Metricon are being fair, it feels like we have set a great foundation for the building relationship we are about to have over the upcoming months.

The problem with builders is they work from plans and it is all about room sizes, layout, building code etc and so they forget that for you as the client it is about building a special home, a nest from which to raise your family. I feel it is important right from the outset to get them to see it is about you as a person and not the plans. So get to know your supervisor, be on site as much as you can, chat to the tradies, build a relationship by engaging them and by explaining that room is for my little boy, that one is where we'll spend family time etc etc so they see it as a home and not just another house. Give it a try you'll be surprised how these matcho guys suddenly open up to you, telling you about their families and how they then go the extra mile to give you a top quality job. Well it certainly worked when we did the build for my business and other renovation projects so it'll be something we continue in to this build as well.

Tam biet (good bye) from Vietnam.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Out The Price of Things

Greetings from Hoi An Vietnam, we are having a fantastic holiday but felt to share this gem of information.

We have a rough plan for our electicals and started to panic about costs once the number of downlights went over 70 having heard they were $100 each! Quick bit of maths tells me that's $7000 just on lights......Noooo!!! That can't be right.

So plan b quickly start to cross things out or go for what would seem to be a cheaper option. Not happy with having to compromise on our dream house Sandy made a really brilliant observation....How can we do a budget when we have no clear idea of how much everything costs, would it not be easier to just ask Metricon in advance? Genius!!! Just shoot off a quick e-mail to the CSC asking how much for lights, power points etc etc.
Got a lovley email back with the following prices:

External double power points $152 each
Outdoor lights (not flood lights) $134-$170 each (up and down light, depending on the finish, etc)
Ceiling fans $275 each (white, 4 blade, 52 inch)
Cfl downlights $105 each (full price, does not include credit for batten holder of $63)
TV point $80 each
Telephone point $95 each
Satellite/ Foxtel point? $160 each (satellite)
2 way light switch $54 each
3 way light switch $79 each

Internal double power point $63

Now doesn't that make things so much easier? So the moral of the story is if there is anything you need to know just ask Metricon.
Now we can go back to our plans with a much better idea of what we are spending.

That's all for now as we are heading off on a boat trip this morning and there is so much wonderful food I am yet to sample here in beautiful Vietnam.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Studio M Selections Booked

The CSC called today to inform us that we can do our tile and colour selections in the morning on the 1st April and the electrical appointment the same day in the afternoon. Wow now it's getting super exciting, she even thinks that it shouldn't take too long for the building approval to go through! We have been allocated 2hr 30mins for tiles, 3hrs for colour selections at Studio M and 2 hrs for electricals. Sounds like we are going to have a big day.

Now we'll get to see if all our careful planning and preparation pays off, we are even taking the house plans and the laptop on holiday so we can go through the electrical design again! Now that's dedication. I wonder if we can come in on budget? Allocated $10K in contract price for lights, power points, etc, etc,etc but it sounds like we may need to spend more than that.

Hmm what shall we have?

Really hoping we get some good consultants who will be able to offer suggestions, ideas and assistance when needed to help us achieve the finishes and look that we are after. Lots of decisions to make and we certainly don't want to get it wrong.
I've heard some shocking stories about the electrical appointments (pun intended!) so let's hope it doesn't turn in to some big April fools joke!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The final contract is signed!! We went over the plans and contract with a fine tooth comb before initialling and signing in the relevant places, all in all it took around two and a half hours of checking and scribbling. There were a couple of mistakes but nothing that couldn't be rectified like the gym/garage area was still showing a store room with tiled floor and the wardrobe doors were down as vinyl and not mirrored. We also decided we would like to add a set of doors between the family room and hallway so this area can be closed off when we have the air con on rather than trying to cool and heat such a massive space. Easy to draw on the plan but it means revised drawings will need to be issued so I hope we don't get charged admin and redrawing fees as it will make the doors a very expensive addition!

At final contract you get more detailed plans and drawings and even cabinetry designs for kitchen, laundry, bathrooms etc, seeing them really starts to bring the house alive in our imagination. Sandy was very pleased to see that they had the kitchen drawn exactly as requested, it looks really smart and will have heaps of storage. Finally it's starting to dawn on us that this house is huge, so much for our original plans of down sizing!

Metricon ask for a 5% deposit plus evidence of your ability to pay like a letter of finance from your lender. We had neither of these as until the house in finalised we can't set up the building loan, however our SC explained that it was OK just to sign a form explaining we were awaiting settlement of the house prior to finance, cool another signature so that part was easy. For the deposit we had two choices either pay nothing today and Metricon will just accept the contract but do nothing with it until the cash appears or put down another $2,500 and the process will keep moving forward as we are showing a commitment. No brainer, pay the $2,500 and keep the build process moving. The next stage is the plans will go to Council for building approval and knowing Council this could take some time and we don't want to be living in the studio apartment for any longer than we need to.

Metricon will contact us soon to organise colour selections and electrical appointment, how exciting.

OK so how is the budget looking? I have to say not bad at all, we are getting really good at guessing how much things cost so it didn't come as a surprise to see that we have now spent $85K over the base price. We have already factored in the brick and roof tile selections, air con, upgraded stairs and lots of additional doors, floor to ceiling tiles in bathroom, en suite and powder room and brick infills over all ground floor windows and garage.
For those of you agonising over whether to go for brick infills it cost us an extra $1,800 which we felt was good value when you consider how big the house is and how much smarter it will look once built.

So we are doing our sums as there will be a few extras once we get to studio M but not many as we have put so much of what we would have added at colour selection into the final contract like bricks and roof tiles, upgraded wardrobe doors, extra tiles, upgraded doors and stairs and so on.
Additional upgrades still to come will include:
carpet and underlay approx $3,500
bigger handle on pivot front door hmm guessing $300
round down pipes not the standard square box type, no idea of price
diamond gloss finish to some cabinets in kitchen, no idea of price
silver kickers for kitchen, again no idea
bigger architraves, no idea
render to portico area, approx $2,000
may be down grade the cantilever stairs, saving approx $3,000
electricals hopefully we can stick to the $10K provision in the contract!

We are thinking we can keep the studio M extra extras under $10K (optimistic?!).
If anyone knows how much the silver kickers or diamond gloss finish costs we'd love to hear from you.

Glad to have the final contract signed as we head off on a much needed and probably last holiday in a long time on Thursday prior to moving house the week we get back!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Land Registered!

The land is registered at last so settlement should go ahead as planned at the end of the month. Phew. Fingers crossed that the bank organise the loans as agreed as the land settles before our house sale completes taking us to the maximum we can borrow without having mortgage insurance. The plan is to use the proceeds from the house sale to pay off half the land and use the money left over to start the build then set up a building loan against our other assets to pay for the rest. Simple!! (headache anyone?)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Final Contract Is Ready

Got a call yesterday from both the CSC and SC (nice to be popular) letting us know the final contract will arrive early so we will be able to go through it before we jet off to for a much needed holiday next week. Have scheduled a meeting Saturday....excited to see the final plans, nervous about costs! Hopefully we haven't totally blown the budget before we even get to do colour selections and electricals.