Building your first home in Perth? How exciting! Here are the 5 most important things to consider if you are a first-time home buyer.

Building your first home can be a daunting experience, as for many it will be one of the biggest commitments in their lifetime. However, with the right builder and the right planning, that experience can be relatively easy, stress free and incredibly rewarding too.

Going into the home building process with your eyes open and a firm plan really can save you heartache along the way. To make sure you “get it right the first time”, here are 5 important tips to know when it comes to a pain-free home construction process.


1. Builder: Pick the Right Builder

Picking the right builder is one of the most important decisions you will make in the home building process, because whichever builder you choose, you will be working with them for quite some time.

As a first home buyer, you want to choose a builder who understands your situation and has the proven experience and skills to produce a quality home. Do a background check on the builder and the parent company of the brand (if there is one) and look at the homes they have built in the past. Read online feedback reviews and talk to previous customers and make sure the builder is registered and certified. Also it pays to look into the parent company of the builder

Here are some quick things to consider when selecting a builder:

  • Credentials – Is the builder adequately licensed and insured? Check to see if the builder is a member of Master Builders or the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
  • References – Look back into the builder’s past work and read feedback surveys. Were previous customers satisfied? Go one step further and check with the Department of Fair Trading to ensure no serious complaints were put in against the builder. When in doubt, don’t be embarrassed to ask the builder for references before you sign that contract, while also asking for the warranty and service they offer.
  • Past work – Look through the builder’s portfolio of houses they have constructed in the past. Did any win awards? Take a trip down to the local Display Home Village to see their present houses in the flesh. Looking at their past and present work will help you get a sense of quality level and design. Why Plunkett Homes?
  • Style – Does the builder’s past work meet your design style? Some builders are accomplished at constructing only a particular style of home, so if you want something distinct make sure they are up to the task.
  • Personality – Just like any good, healthy relationship, you want the communication and trust to be there right from the start. You will be working with your builder for a number of months, so make sure you are comfortable with them and that they communicate well. If they communicate with you well, you are guaranteed they communicate with their suppliers and contractors well too.
  • Price – Ah, the most important thing to consider: price. If the builder is outside your budget and can’t meet you halfway, then it may be wise to shop around.


2. Budget: Know Your Budget Limitations and What You’re Entitled To

When it comes to building a home, no matter how much you think the building process is likely to cost, it will likely cost more. This is why it’s important to plan and stick to a budget for unforeseeable circumstances.

For instance, you may want to change your mind should any fittings or materials not match your expectations, and that’s where a pre-planned budget could help cater to these changes. Financing, as such, should be arranged to suit your current financial situation while also allowing for flexibility for likely changes in the future.

Fortunately for first home buyers in Western Australia, you are entitled to a First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) which puts you off to a great start. This year in 2017 only, the First Home Owners Grant has been boosted from $10,000 to $15,000. You can read more about that here.

When it comes to the construction of the property, you will need a construction home loan to finance the process. A construction home loan is different to a regular home loan in that the lender won’t release all the funds at once. Instead, the lender decides how much you need for the project, and will then release the funds in periodic payments to your builder. These periodic payments are known as draws and they will be paid out at the completion of each individual stage of your home.

Another way construction loans differ is in the size of deposit lenders require. Because construction loans can be seen as inherently riskier, lenders might require at least a 20% deposit.

Sounds a little complex, right? That’s why it’s important to have a detailed plan in place before you seek out finance. As construction home loans rely on an estimate of the assumed value of the completed house, your lender will want to have detailed construction plans that are fully costed. Fortunately, plenty of home builders include finance advice and services to make the home building financial process easier to navigate.

To learn more about finance for your first home, download our free Ebook.


Aerial photo of coastal developing suburbs of Alkimos and Elington – popular house and land packages available here north of the river. Credit:
Aerial photo of coastal developing suburbs of Alkimos and Elington – popular house and land packages available here north of the river. Credit:


3.  Location: Where Do You Want To Live

When building your first home, deciding on where you should build is equally as important as when designing your house plan.

Location is everything. You would want to take into consideration the distance to your work; access to facilities, shopping precincts, and public transport; as well as your family’s current needs and potential to grow in the future.

Do your background research on the suburb. Is it an area that is safe and all the conveniences you need are nearby. Have children or dogs that love walking? Look for parks and playgrounds. Have an addiction to coffee? Bonus points if the suburb you’re looking at has a choice of cafes.

Step 1 offer house and land packages that will give you best of both worlds – enquire today.


4.  Home Design: Is the Home Something You Can Grow With

Changing designs and plans during construction will cost a great deal of money and time, so it is in your best interest to finalise your building plans and designs as much as possible before construction starts. While inspiration can strike at any time, minimise risk by thinking ahead with your floorplan.

Do you love cooking, or foresee you will spend a great deal of time in the kitchen? Then you will want to invest in a quality splashback that will last you for years to come. Do you think you will get much use out of the 4th bedroom? Consider converting it to a home theatre for movie nights in.

When deciding on the floor plan of your home, the orientation of your home matters. The direction and layout of your home determines the level of sunlight your rooms will get during the day. Keep this also in mind when inspecting the block and how the layout and flow of the rooms will be.

By meticulously planning the details of your house, you will minimise expenses later down the track.  

Be inspired by Step 1’s home designs specialised for first home builders. View Step One Home Designs. 


5. Essentials: List of Essential Additions to Consider

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is home building. There will be a lot of extras required to complete the home, (some obvious and not so obvious) during and after the build.

Essential additions you will possibly need (and can hopefully afford) could be extending the kitchen bench to over-hang, additional power points, or an impressive entertainment setup for the hanging TV. Don’t get too carried away – when it comes to essential additions, not everything has to be done at once. A lot can be done after the build is finished.

It’s important to check your building contract to ensure you are paying for what you want and to clarify with the builder what is included and what are extras.

For example, there could be a number of items that haven’t been included in the estimate that your builder gives you, like electrical and gas meters, NBN hook-ups or window coverings and letterboxes. Extras like these are known as finishing costs.

Now it’s time to start building your first home.

With the right builder and planning, budgeting, investigating, and preparation, building your first home can truly be a smooth and easy experience.

Step One are ready to help you on your journey to building your first home. Enquire today and let’s start building your dream first home.