Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Preparation for Tender

As we were coming up to our Tender appointment, we spent a lot of time going through our quote and the floor plan to make sure we had everything covered off.  One great source of information is the HomeOne forum, and in particular the topic on 'Things you Forget'.

One of the things that we hoped PD would be flexible on, was related to our floor.  We both wanted to avoid the beading / quad that goes onto a wooden floor when it is laid after the skirting board is already fitted. Unfortunately, this was the situation we found ourselves in. Our preference was for PD to have the skirting boards painted and tacked on, so they could be removed for the floor installers.

The dreaded bead
Aside from this, we needed to ensure all structural features were included. This included ceilings, doors, windows, cabinetry and floor plan alterations.  For us, these were:

* 2590mm ceilings
* Raked ceiling to the lounge
* Pivot front entry door with single side window
* Double Master Bedroom door
* Fully glazed door from ensuite to courtyard
* 1 x 5 leaf wooden bi-fold and 1 x 4 leaf wooden bi-fold
* Add the 'Kiama' facade windows to our 'Cape York' facade, in stained wood
* Wooden stained window frames around the Alfresco
* Aluminium sliding doors to the Rumpus
* 2 x internal cavity sliding doors for Rumpus and WIR for Bedroom 4
* 6 additional overhead cupboards in the laundry
* Extended benchtop to the laundry
* 4 x Additional overhead cupboards to the kitchen
* Oversize kitchen island
* 2 x cupboards above the fridge cavity
* Change 4 kitchen cupboards to 4 pot drawers

Getting the flooring sorted

After a bit of research, we moved away from Embelton for the wooden floor and chose Mosowood. Mainly because they specialise in Bamboo flooring and have a wider range of colours.

From the samples available, we seemed to be leaning towards their 'Brown Mallee' distressed bamboo.

Mosowood Brown Mallee Distressed

We wanted to find it in a bigger sample lay, so we could get a better feel of what it will look like. Their website indicated their showroom at:

Display 238 - Home Ideas Centre
1686 Princes Hwy, Oakleigh East, VIC

When we got there, the Brown Mallee floor didn't look how we thought it would. It was a bit shiny and too uniform, and reflected badly in the light.  However, their office floor was covered in an even darker bamboo called 'Walnut' (recently renamed from 'Wild Rivers'), and we both loved it! It is a really deep, earthy, brown colour.

Mosowood Walnut, almost looking black in this picture
With an unexpected change in flooring, we now have our carpet and floorboard agreed.  This will help us build up the rest of our colour selections.  We got a quote from our supplier for this board, the Godfrey Hirst Molasses carpet and the highest spec Dunlop underlay - total $17,500.  We paid 10% deposit which will hold the price until we need it laid in April 2012.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Waiting for the CSA - how did we fill our time?

We were pretty excited now, given that we had the structure of our house pretty well down pat and had not yet obliterated our budget (that comes later).

We decided to get our flooring done after handover as PD's flooring options were limited and expensive.  We both wanted a minimal amount of tiles (wet areas only) which PD would have to supply, and floorboards throughout the home, aside from the bedrooms and home theatre - which would be carpet.

We found a company near us called Flooring Xtra (Point Cook) who were extremely helpful and had a good quality range of products (not everything under the sun). Our initial thought was to go with Embelton's Sepia hardwood floor and Godfrey Hirst's Woodford 590 'Molasses' carpet on their highest grade underlay.  They quoted us approx $16,000.

Embelton Bamboo Hardwood flooring in Sepia
Godfrey Hirst Woodford 590 'Molasses'

Knowing that we would soon be required to finalise our colour and interior selections, we hit the PD display homes taking plenty of notes to get inspiration on tiles, bench colours, bricks, render, splashbacks, doors, handles and general design ideas.  We even drove to their display at Lyndhurst to check out a brick type.  We also went back to Hopetoun to go through the showroom again to try and narrow things down.

It took our CSA about 2 weeks to get in touch with us and book our appointments.  These were pencilled in for:

Tender     Fri 1 March @ 1pm
Tiles        Thurs 17 March @ 1pm
Colours    Fri 18 March @ 9am
Contract   Fri 25 March @ 1pm

That gave us a few more weeks to argue discuss our choices and try to have them finalised so we didn't make rushed decisions at the appointments.

Quote #3

With a few final tweaks, and another sit down appointment with our SC on Sat 29 Jan, we've got a quote which is close enough to what we want to build!

So, we signed off on the quote, the siting plan, the promotion details, the base house plan, the butler pantry projections and the facade.

This means our file goes off to Head Office and they create us as a 'real customer'... we'll get a Customer Service Administrator (CSA) assigned and go through turning our dream into reality. Hopefully.

Land Deposit Paid

We paid the balance of the land deposit ($27,350) on Sat 29 Jan, after we paid the $5,000 holding amount on Sat 8 Jan, knowing that we had finance approval to settle.

Quote #2

After providing feedback to our SC on the first quote, we got a new one on Sat 22 Jan.  The main changes are:

* Change the combination microwave in the Butler's Pantry to a Steam Oven
* Remove the timber flooring
* Changing the Study window to stained wood
* Change the facade from the Bellford to the Cape York

The Cape York facade

Quote #1

Got our first quote - just added $60K to the base price!  LOL!  Time to review it closely...

As you can see, we've spec'd up the house a fair bit, and for the SC to document it all to this standard on the first go - he's done a great job.  We pushed the point on the $2,000 Fixed Price Guarantee and asked them to honour their price until 31/10/11 without the fee, and they did. So far so good.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The first visit to Hopetoun Interiors

While our SC was putting together a quote, we decided to visit Hopetoun Interiors.  Little did we realise, this was to be the first of many trips!  Hopetoun is open on the weekends for general browsing, offering the opportunity to ponder:

* Bricks
* Roof tiles
* Guttering / fascia / downpipe / window colours
* Mortar finishes
* Floor coverings (wood / carpets)
* Renders
* Garage doors
* Internal / External doors
* Door handles
* Glass types
* Cabinet finishes
* Caeserstone
* Splashback colour
* Cabinet handles
* Skirting
* Cornice
* Tapware (kitchen / bathroom / laundry)
* Toilets
* Basins

So clearly, you need to give yourself a few hours, and don't go there hungry / thirsty / tired / hungover as there is a lot to 'discuss'.

The staff there on the weekend are pretty good, and you are given a 'wishlist' document to fill in with your ideas for your choices.

Each selection is defined as standard or upgrade (and the associated category), but there is no pricing - not even indicative, which can be a little annoying if you are working to a specific budget.

If you have seen something you like at a PD display, you can ask the crew at Hopetoun for the details.  Something we were going to go and do, and as we live in Point Cook - there are a lot of nearby displays.

Our first go at Hopetoun

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sandpiper walkthrough - what else do we want?

Our PD Sales Consultant also took us through the display (Arndell at Truganina) and we noted all the things we wanted that were not included in the promotion:

* Stained wooden windows on the facade
* A glazed door from the Ensuite to the yard
* A raked plaster ceiling in the Lounge Room
* A 5 leaf timber bi-fold from the Lounge to the Alfresco
* Stained 1800x1800 single pane wooden windows in the Dining and Family Rooms
* A widened kitchen island to create a breakfast bar, and additional cupboards on the rear
* 2 cupboards above the fridge cavity
* Double aluminium sliding doors from the Rumpus to the rear yard
* Shower niches

From here, our Sales Consultant started to put together a quote for us.

PD's promotion

Feeling pretty excited about finding a block, and that our house can fit on it, we went headfirst into understanding the differences between the fantastic display and what is standard, along with PD's 'Complete' promotion.

Here are PD's 'Standard Inclusions' for the Prestige range of homes:

And these are the 'Upgrade Items' from the promotion.
We chose the Gourmet Kitchen and the Evaporative Cooling from the 'Rewards' option.

The total cost of the Promotion was $2,999

The beginnings of our house

With the ideal block of land secured, we had decided to build PD's Sandpiper 33.  We had always liked PD homes, mainly due to our experience with them going back a few years when we considered building, so we didn't even bother looking at any other builders this time.

The basic floorplan for the Sandpiper

The main reason we liked this house is the openness of the layout, and how all the living areas wrap around the alfresco and yard.

We also had to get the house flipped to allow for the Alfresco to be on the North.  This also meant the land developer had to relocate our crossover to the opposite side of the block, which was easy enough to do (and didn't cost anything) as the subdivision was still just a paddock.

PD sited the flipped house on the block and all seemed to fit within Estate Guidelines.

Siting plan after being flipped

Found a house... need to find land

From what we know, people generally find a block, then find a house for it.  We didn't. We'd seen a Porter Davis house at a nearby display that was perfect.

So we began chatting to the sales team at Porter Davis (Saltwater Coast), and found that they had exclusivity on some blocks in a Builder's Release that had just come onto the market (4 Jan 2011), and amazingly, there was one 16m x 32m (512m2) block in their allocation that would fit the house we liked !

We put a hold on the block ($1000) with PD on 5 Jan 2011, which would stop any of their other sales staff selling it. We also went to the Land Sales office (FKP is the Developer) to get copies of contracts. After a quick review by our Solicitor, we went back on Saturday 8 Jan 2011 to sign the contract and pay a $5000 deposit to them, with the total price of the block at $323,500.  We'll pay the balance once we have finance approval. Titling is tentatively scheduled for June 2011.

Now we're serious!

Our block is in there somewhere

What next?

So once we decided that building was our next project, we had to think about where and what?  Potentially not easy to do!

We enjoy living in Point Cook and fairly quickly narrowed down our preferred estates to Alamanda or Saltwater Coast.

As we favoured a single storey home, we knew that we'd need a larger frontage block (at least 15m). Since Alamanda was nearly sold out, we struggled to find a block that was suitable.  So we decided to head over to Saltwater Coast and see what we could find.


Welcome to our blog!

After moving to Point Cook a few years ago and buying a modest 3 bedroom house, we decided to upgrade.  Having looked at existing properties on the market, nothing really ticked all of our boxes - so what to do?

We came to the realisation that the best way to get what we wanted was to build, so off we went, and here is our story...