First Steps


Your new home is “the expression and vision of you”.

Before you start there will be personal decisions, agreements and disagreements, but keep it an adventure for the family; one that will ultimately give you enormous self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement and happiness that comes from building your new home.

How many weekends have we all spent driving around looking for sections and ideas to build your new home?

Time spent researching, planning, looking at materials, ideas and designs will save you time and money in the long term. It is better to take longer here so you build it right, rather than rush and regret.

Therefore having clarity about what you want and a definitive ‘wish list’ will save you time and money in the long run.

It is important that for such an important investment, possibly the largest of your life, you have the financial and legal security provided by doing things absolutely correctly.

At this stage look to engage an architect/designer to create conceptual drawings. This will ensure you maximise the size and shape of the land.

Remember that land cost is based per square metre, so there is no point buying more than you need, or buying a site that doesn’t match your lifestyle wants and needs.

While the option is available to purchase land without a real estate agent, it is very important to be aware that in not doing so, you may not get all the information required.

Your agent will advise you on the importance of obtaining LIM reports, geotechnical reports, market analysis, the area’s advantages and, yes, disadvantages.

Most importantly, they are your connection between you and the vendor – your agent is your negotiator and it is worth noting that this is not at your cost, but the vendor’s.

In your sale and purchase contract include a due diligence clause for a time-frame you consider appropriate; your lawyer can further advise you on this matter.

The reason for this is you do not want to enter into provisional costs for professional services, only to find the section has been sold.

The real estate agent has a legal obligation to be fully transparent with you, stipulated by the Real Estate Act.

Discuss with a planning consultant to ensure there are no hidden issues that may arise, or have arisen, from the earthquakes on your LIM report.

Your architect/designer is someone you have to enjoy working with, someone who has great lateral design thought, and an excellent portfolio of designs that appeal to you.

Your relationship with them is vital in order for them to truly understand your wish list and create a home you envisage. They will draw up the concept plan in a more formal presentation and work with you towards final acceptance of a floor plan, interior fit out, exterior cladding and overall aesthetics.

Then they’ll complete all the working drawings, engaging the respective professionals required to lodge these plans with the local council for building consent.

As part of this process they will eng age a structural engineer who will ensure the floor design, building strength, wind zoning detail and bracing all comply with the building code.

A geotechnical report will be required as part of this if it hasn’t been provided by the vendor. This report establishes the underground land condition enabling the most suitable and cost-effective floor design.

Discussion with a surveyor is strongly advised to ensure the correct boundary peg locations still apply, as in some cases, changes due tothe region’s earthquakes have occurred. They will also peg the correct location of your home for the builder to commence construction.

Your choice of builder is vital. View their portfolio of completed homes and workmanship.

Ask home owners how they found the builder’s professionalism and if on construction sites, ask the labourers questions: don’t be shy – it will build confidence in you that you’ve got the right people for the job.

They must be member of the Registered Master Builders or New Zealand Certified Builders Association, as this ensures legal security for you.

It is the builder that you will spend the most time with therefore you must feel compatible with them; disharmony is the l ast thing you need.

During construction time engage a landscape company to put the final touches on the visual beauty and external liveability of your property.

The end result of all this is you will have “allowed your imagination to create your own legacy”.

Say something!