Prestart can be an exciting time when you're building - but it can get overwhelming and costly too. Here are ten tips to get the most out of prestart.
The prestart phase of building is the final stage before construction begins on your home. Your prestart meeting, held with your builder, is your chance to make the final selections on the finishings of your home.
It is so important to prepare for this meeting. It is more than likely that a number of standard inclusions will already form a part of your building contract. At prestart, you will confirm the materials and your selection for items where you have a choice,
or make alternative selections.
During the prestart phase you will go through your electrical plan, the standard inclusions of your contract and make final building material changes.
Sean (pictured), a Keystart team leader, went through the prestart process recently as he prepares to build his own home and is keen to share what he learnt through his experiences.
Sean started his prestart with a lot of excitement. The building company he was using had a virtual showroom with 3D renders for each material he selected.
"They let me run amok on the online portal. I loved that – I wanted it! I was encouraged to go to each of the suppliers, like the tilers, plumbing suppliers to see the real materials but that was difficult. There would be twenty people in the supplier's showroom and only a couple of staff available. It wasn't clear to me what was standard and what was within the builder's range. That became very stressful."
At this stage, it is really important to make sure you are working within your budget. Building your own home is an exciting process and it can be tempting to change your mind about your house plans or materials. Any changes you make to the floor plan of your home or materials used can affect the overall cost of your build, sometimes significantly.
"When I went to my actual prestart meeting, the builder's showroom was small with tiny replicas of everything. They went through everything I chose but there was no real explanation of what prestart is, what was standard, any of that."
"As a result, my prestart, once my changes had been costed up, including my electrical changes, was about $45,000. That would be the cost of this variation only. I couldn't go ahead with that, so the deal fell through.”
The second time was with a different builder and Sean approached prestart quite differently.
"I was more prepared this time and had done my research. I went to the showroom before prestart and had a look around. I went with a friend who had been through a build before. That was so helpful. We spent two and a half hours there!"
"The sales rep had a very different approach – or maybe I had learnt what to ask. We talked about what I wanted in a home. He showed me what was premium and what was standard and gave me some tips on how to choose what was important to me.
"I was shown all the options again but this time around I was realistic about what I could do with the build and what I could consider doing at a later stage after I had moved in
"I went in with a budget and spent just $30 over that! I now knew I had to cover all of prestart. You have to pay for any prestart variations on the same day as your meeting.
The selections you make will be captured in your contract addenda. This is a very important document. It contains the details of your standard inclusions. This is a contractual document which you will sign off after making your material choices. For example, included in your build may be standard two-course bricks to the entire home.
The addenda will note the maker and colour of these bricks. Everything that is included in the build will be included from the model of your oven, the colour of your benchtop, to the number of door handles
If you decide to get a Keystart loan, your construction loan amount is approved based on the original building contract you signed.
Any structural changes you make with your builder (variations) must be approved by Keystart before being agreed with your builder. We also need to know if any item of significant value is removed or changed that will potentially decrease the value of the property, for example, removing air-conditioning or choosing lower quality finishes.
Building your own home is an exciting process. It may be tempting to change your mind about your house plans or materials. Any changes you make to the floor plan of your home or materials used can affect the overall cost of your build, sometimes significantly. Depending on the changes, you may need to fund these costs yourself.