Real Estate

Own Your Home Today

Day: January 30, 2020

How to Choose a Builder, Designer or Architect

Whether you’re looking for an architect, builder or designer, there are numerous ways to find the right people for the job. Learn from the experts about how to make the right decision the first time. One of the first steps in the right direction is to take note of properties and renovations that appeal to you as you drive around the area you reside in

It is critical to choose the right expert to help you with your home – as the wrong choice could be costly.

Some Advice From the Experts

“Whether you’re looking for an architect, builder or designer, there are numerous ways to find the right people for the job,” says Robert Caulfield, managing director of Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. “The first thing to do is to ask family, friends and colleagues for recommendations – it’s always good to have someone that comes by referral.”

Another step in the right direction is to take note of properties and renovations that appeal to you as you drive around the area you reside in. “If you’ve seen work that you like, it’s generally not difficult to find out who the architect or builder was,” adds Caulfield. If you’re in need of an architect, Caulfield points out that you can take advantage of Archicentre’s client/architect matching service. “When people call, we discuss their budget and what exactly they want to do, and we will match them up with a registered architect in their area, someone who will know local builders and subcontractors, understands weather and environmental conditions in the area, and is familiar with local council regulations.”

A similar service applies for builders. The building and construction industry is presided over by the Master Builders Association of Australia, and your relevant state or territory branch of the association will help you to locate a registered Master Builder in your area.

“There is a licensing system for builders in every state, and your number-one priority should be to make sure the builder you employ is registered,” says Caulfield. “You can contact the Builders’ Registration Board or the equivalent board in your state to check registration.”

When looking to hire a builder, be alert to anyone who suggests you take on the owner/builder mantle for a discounted price. “This will often indicate that the builder is not registered, or has been struck off for bad practice,” Caulfield warns.

Interior designers and decorators best come personally recommended, advises Caulfield. “You do not need to be qualified or registered to set yourself up as an interior designer or decorator, so ask plenty of questions and make sure your consultant is qualified and is completely independent and not receiving any kickbacks by selling products,” he says.

The key to making a confident choice is to always get at least three quotes. This will give you some insight into what different companies have to offer in terms of the service they provide. In addition, price can vary enormously from company to company, and having this knowledge can give you some bargaining power.

Ask Questions

Once you’ve spoken to a professional about a quote, you want to obtain as much information about the services they provide as possible.

You should expect your consultant to be able to answer all queries without hesitation, and they should also be asking questions – it’s a sure sign they have experience in meeting the needs of their clients.

To avoid any unpleasant surprises when building or renovating your home, it is imperative you understand that the process from design to completion is necessarily long and all parties involved must have a clear understanding of each other’s position.

“For starters, the client and architect or builder must have a clear brief and a fee agreement in place. During the building phase, you need to have concise and accurate working drawings and a contract that is sufficiently detailed, includes start and finish dates and fees, and states that there are unlikely to be any variations,” Caulfield explains. “That way, you can proceed with confidence.”

Expert Assistance

It’s essential that any architect or builder you hire is registered – this guarantees you are hiring a professional. All architects in Australia, as well as being fully qualified with a university degree and around two years of practical experience, must be registered with the Architect Registration Board, or equivalent body, in their state. Builders are licensed in most states and should also be registered, which guarantees they are qualified to do the job.

Expert Advice: Understanding the Winter Real Estate Auction Market

Usually, winter is a time when the auction market slows down a bit. But with the positive overflow we’ve seen in the last six months and economic drivers like the low interest rate opening up the market to more and more people, the trend is being bucked.

Auction Services for some insight into the world of winter auctions and what it means for you as a buyer or seller?

The Heat is on in the Colder Months

Usually, winter is a time when the auction market slows down a bit. It’s colder, so less people are interested in spending their weekends out and about at open homes, not to mention that winter is when most houses tend to look their worst as well.

However, with the positive overflow we’ve seen in the last six months and economic drivers like the low interest rate opening up the market to more and more people, the trend is being bucked.

We spoke to Ricky Briggs, a Director at an Auction Services Company, about how you can navigate the winter auction market when it’s much busier than usual, and he had some real gems on offer.

“While there are auction highs, there is a relative shortage of stock, which means buyers typically have to compete a bit harder,” he stated.

With demand outstripping supply, it’s definitely a market that works in favour of the sellers. This heightened auction activity is also spreading – where central Sydney has been the centre of the heat for some time, sales are also increasing north and south, from Woollongong to Newcastle. Even the cheaper western suburbs are picking up significantly.

So What Do You Do?

Ricky noted that as many as 40 per cent of auction sales some weeks aren’t actually happening at auction – people are buying with offers before the bidding opens. Many people are finding that it takes at least half a year to get the home they want, as the strength of competition means their first four or five preferred homes will be snapped up by others at auction.

Being proactive with the selling agent, letting them know you absolutely want to buy a property and making a respectable offer ahead of the auction could see you avoid the drama and heartache that comes with so many bidding wars!

You might have to pay a premium, but for many the price is worth avoiding the hassle of dealing with so many auctions.

What if you Can’t Afford the Premium

Of course, with rising prices, not everyone can afford to make their mark on the property market with a premium pre-auction offer, and they have no choice but to go to the bidding phase. Ricky Briggs has some recommendations for people in this situation as well – be confident.

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He noted that a lot of the time, people like to sit on their hands and wait until competing bidders have knocked each other out, before swooping in at the end with a winning bid. However, this is competing on other people’s terms, and can often lead to you extending yourself beyond your budget.

By bidding early, boldly and within your means, you may be able to knock out the competition and settle on a price on your own terms. Ricky says that most of the time, the person who starts the auction will be the one who finishes it. Make sure that’s you!

This winter is busier than most, but some basic principles still apply – namely, that there’s less on the ground than in the traditional months for real estate activity. But don’t let this put you off. With the right attitude, clear budgeting, confidence and the right agent by your side, the world of winter auctions could hold some incredible deals for you.

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