Part of the selections process on your home building journey will be choosing the fixtures and finishes for your new home, and it’s often an exciting time for clients as they begin to envisage what their finished home’s exterior and interior style will look like. But there’s a lot to consider as you make these selections and we’ve got some helpful tips for you as you start the process.

What are Fixtures and Finishes?

Not sure what fixtures and fittings include? Think lighting, heating and cooling, kitchen appliances, electrical outlets, and bathroom items like sinks, baths, tapware and toilets. They may seem like utilitarian items, but making a considered choice about how you want these items to look will help create a cohesive style throughout your home. Finishes add a personal touch to your home and help tie everything together. You’ll be selecting finishes for things like cabinetry, flooring, benchtops, and exterior render or cladding as well as the roof. Each item should be selected with an overall view to creating a home that’s beautifully coordinated.

Tips for Choosing Fixtures

When you’re selecting the fixtures in your home you need to consider both their functionality and placement as well as their aesthetic appeal in the home. Placement of electrical outlets will be on walls where you expect to have electronic equipment like televisions, floor lamps, and other larger items. You also might like to place some sockets on the side of your kitchen island or add extra ones to your kitchen bench or inside the pantry to allow for additional appliances to be used in multiple locations or to have a family charging station in a communal area. Your builder can guide you on ideal tapware and shower head placement if you’re unsure about the most practical spots to install them

Appliances can be selected for their functionality as well as their visual appeal. You may opt for stainless steel fridges and dishwashers for that sleek, modern look, or white appliances may be preferable if you like a more traditional feel. Tapware is also available in a range of beautiful finishes now, with traditional chrome being just one of a range of styles you can choose. Matte black, brass or copper, and white tapware, shower heads and door frames are subtle selections you can use to elevate your home’s style. You can also consider the energy efficiency of these fixtures, and include items such as water saving taps and shower heads and appliances with a high energy rating without compromising on style.

Tips for Choosing Finishes

This is where you have the chance to add some character to your home. Part of your selections process will be to choose cabinetry finishes, and with the kitchen being a high traffic area in the home, you’ll want to select something that’s durable, while also being a style that’s going to feel timeless. Neutral colours work well, with grey, white and ivory, and taupe or beige being popular choices for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose cabinetry that highlights a particular design style, like a high gloss minimalist style, or a matte finish Shaker style detail for a Hamptons feel.

Your benchtop selection should be something that coordinates with the cabinetry in a complementary colour, and your tiles and splashbacks can include a pop of colour or a statement pattern to add depth to the space. Paint colours and wall coverings will be informed by your cabinetry decisions, but in the bedrooms and separate living areas you can get a little creative with colour and patterns that will add personality to each space while still feeling like an extension of the overall style of the home.

When it comes to flooring you need to be mindful of choosing something that will last the test of time, and there are plenty of options to select something that will coordinate seamlessly with the finishes in your home while still being on-trend and adding an element of your personal style. From floorboards to vinyl planks to lush carpet, you’ll find a style and colour that works well with your other finishes to create a home that feels welcoming throughout.

Exterior finishes should tie in with your home’s location and the interior style you’re hoping to achieve. Weatherboard cladding in light neutral tones and a chrome roof will suit a coastal home and emulate that beachy feel, whereas a suburban home near the city might be better suited to striking render colours and mixed material façade features with a dark roof colour.

Choosing the fixtures and finishes for your new home is an exciting part of the home building journey, but it can be overwhelming to select items for your entire home all at once. With the guidance of your builder or your colour selections specialist, you’ll be able to decide on finishes that embrace your personal style paired with fixtures that work well in each space while adding to the overall look and feel of your home. For more home inspiration, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

When you’re building your new home, one of the most important features to think about is how you’re going to use lighting in each room that’s functional, while also creating the perfect atmosphere to suit each space. Lighting can be an afterthought, but it’s an important factor to consider for a number of reasons, so take a look at our tips and tricks to getting the lighting right in each area of your home.

Open-Plan Lighting

In many new homes, open-plan areas that include the kitchen, dining, and living areas often already feature a lot of natural light thanks to large windows, which means you can be more strategic about how much lighting you use. It’s a great idea to include a statement piece of lighting over the kitchen island, such as pendant lights to create a visual divide between the kitchen and the rest of the space, and to add an element of style to a utilitarian area. If the kitchen isn’t receiving enough natural light, you might also like to include under-cabinet lighting to create an additional light source. A variety of light sources in the dining and lounge areas will create a softer feel to spaces that encourage more relaxation and family time. The dining area will benefit from soft overhead lights such as downlights to ensure the space is well-lit without being too bright, and you may even like to include a large pendant light or chandelier over your dining table to add an element of style. The lounge area can include much softer accent lighting such as floor and table lamps paired with minimal adjustable overhead lighting to create a quieter atmosphere.

Bedroom Lighting

No matter the age of the bedroom occupant, each room’s lighting should encourage feelings of calm, quiet, and restfulness. In children’s’ and teenagers’ rooms, soft overhead lighting that can be brightened or dimmed as needed will help promote different energies throughout the day. Brighter daytime overhead lights are perfect for playtime or homework duties, while softer hues will help kids wind down naturally as bedtime approaches. Strategically placed bedside table lamps or corner floor lamps with dim bulbs are helpful at encouraging quiet moods that suit story time for little ones, or a moment of chill out time for older kids. Master suites will also benefit from mood lighting in the form of adjustable lighting, which encourages adults to unwind peacefully before bed. The addition of wall-mounted sconces on either side of the bed, or on-trend pendant lights in place of bedside table lamps add a luxurious feel to the room while softly lighting the space as night approaches.

Bathroom Lighting

It’s important to have a decent natural light source in you bathroom as the space is often small, but when you’re designing the space you’ll also need to carefully consider how to light it when the outside light isn’t as bright. It’s best not to rely completely on overhead light as this can cast shadows on your face in the mirror. You can avoid this by installing lighting on either side of your mirror to help soften shadows and create a more muted feel, while still having sufficient light as you get ready in the morning or complete your evening routine. You might also like to include strip lighting under a floating vanity in the family bathroom to leave on as a visual guide for younger kids who need to get up in the night.

Outdoor Lighting

Getting the outdoor lighting right in your new home is important for two reasons: you’ll need to provide a light source for night time arrivals that safely guide your family and friends to the front door, and to promote a welcoming atmosphere that doesn’t create too much glare at the front and rear of your home. At the front of your home, subtle garden lights that illuminate paths up to the front door will help visitors and family members arrive safely at the front door. The front door itself should have one or two soft lights to gently brighten the entry to your home, and wall-mounted sconces on either side of the door are perfect for this. At the rear of your home, covered alfresco and outdoor dining areas will benefit from soft overhead downlights that are bright enough for meals and entertaining. If your outdoor entertaining area isn’t covered, strategically placed wall-mounted lighting that is directed slightly away from the wall paired with garden lighting will do wonders at creating a muted outdoor lighting setup perfect for night time, while also providing enough light for people to safely see where paving and decking ends and the garden begins.

Home lighting is an important part of the design phase of your new home, and ensuring you’re putting a careful amount of consideration into how you light each space within your home will create the right atmosphere in each room, no matter the time of day or night. For more home ideas and tips and tricks, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Whether you’re single, have a partner, married with a small family, you’re needing to upsize to accommodate your growing teens, or you simply want to build an investment property, purchasing a house and land package is one of the most economical and efficient ways to create an asset for your property portfolio, and build a home you love.


House and land package
Once you’ve decided on the area you’d like to purchase a home in, it’s important to research not only the available house and land packages, but also the key infrastructure your family will need to utilise. Things like proximity to schools, shops, medical centres, and public transport should all factor into your decision to focus on a particular area to buy in. If you have a young family, or are planning to have children in the future, make a note of the amount of green space, parks, and public gardens in the area so you can all enjoy the outdoors without having to travel too far from home. When looking at areas to purchase a house and land package in, have at least two or three suburbs you like in the event that there aren’t any packages available in certain areas – it’s always good to have a back-up location you love just as much!

Land Size and Shape

House and land package
When you’re working with your builder to find a suitable house and land package, don’t forget to carefully consider the size and shape of the land, as this will determine the cost and build time. A larger piece of land will allow for a bigger home, which will raise the cost and possibly increase the build time. However, you also need to think about the land shape as well. A corner block may affect the orientation of the home as well as the size of the dwelling the council will allow. If the land is located in a hilly area, you may incur additional costs to excavate land and build retaining walls, or you may have to choose a split level home to suit the slope of the land. Do your research to fully understand the geography of the area you’d like to purchase a package in to ensure there are no surprises when you’re ready to sign your contract.

Home Design

House and land package
House and land packages come with a recommended home design that the builder has selected because it suits the shape and size of the land. They will be able to show you the floor plan of the home and work with you to modify the plans to suit your lifestyle and outline any added costs this may add to the contract price. To get an idea of what the home will look like, visit display homes built by the builder to see the quality and craftsmanship in person, gaining an understanding of what the standard inclusions are. It’s also a good opportunity to check with the builder about what isn’t included in the package, such as driveways or landscaping.

Administration and Paperwork

House and land package
One of the biggest benefits of buying a house and land package is that you’re working with one builder and with less paperwork to sign in order to purchase both the land and have the home built. When you’re searching for land on your own, you’ll have to do all the legwork yourself, from finding the land, getting it surveyed to see if it’s suitable to build on, contacting the council to get permits, then sourcing an architect to design the home, and find a reputable builder to actually build the home for you. This will make the process lengthy and time consuming for you, and can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress. Working with a builder to find a fixed price house and land package that’s already titled and ready to build on alleviates that stress, any additional costs, and gives you a support system from the start of your journey to the day you receive the keys to your finished home.

When you’re ready to purchase a home, considering a house and land package will make the process a lot easier and more economical for you and your family. Relieving the burden from you and finding a package in the location you love, as well as working closely with your builder to bring your dream home to life will make the search for the perfect house and land package an invaluable experience! To find a builder local to you, or to browse our available house and land packages, head to the Hotondo Homes website today.

As your family grows and kids get older, sometimes space inside the home can feel like it’s full to overflowing, especially when friends come over and add to the number of people inside. One way to add additional liveable space to your home without undertaking a costly extension is to convert your garage! It’s a great way to provide more room to your home design, while still offering independent space without changing the structure and existing floor plan. We’ve got a range of tips and ideas to help you create a living space to suit your family’s lifestyle!

Building Structure

The first thing you’ll need to add will be proper insulation, plastering to walls and ceiling, flooring, overhead lighting, and waterproofing, the latter being particularly important if you’re adding a sink or small ensuite. These things may seem costly, but will go the distance in ensuring the space is liveable and able to be utilised for years to come as a comfortable, weather-proof space. You may also need to install additional power outlets to allow for media devices, soft lighting and small appliances like fridges and heating or cooling. These things will all transform the space from an oil-stained, grimy garage to an inviting room.

Bedroom Conversion

Converting a garage to a bedroom is one of the most popular uses of the space. As children age into their late teen years, and continue to live at home with their parents into adulthood, being able to have a space to call their own is invaluable. Laying plush carpet to keep the space warm in winter, painting the walls a light neutral colour to make the room feel bigger, and adding window dressings will elevate the space to a cosy, welcoming bedroom. If you have space to install some simple shelving or a compact wardrobe system the room will be truly functional as a bedroom. Once your offspring leave the family home, the space can be used for an older family member who’s not quite ready to give up their independence. Another option would be to use it as a room for rent, creating a stream of income while still allowing both the tenant and the home owner privacy.

Office Conversion

While many new home designs offer a study nook or semi-private study zone inside, as children get older and need more room, desk space is at a premium! If one or both parents run their own business or work from home a majority of the time, you may find there’s just not enough room for everyone to work comfortably, so additional study or office space is required. Converting your garage to an office will ease the load inside, and create a place of quiet solitude for study or work. Add built-in shelving and cabinetry, a desk that spans the length of one wall to create enough space for people to work simultaneously, and even a small couch and coffee table for client meetings. You’ll have an office space that looks professional and encourages a quiet, studious atmosphere for a variety of members of the family.

Media Room Conversion

If your home design is a compact one and you only have one living space, converting your garage to a media room will give your family the chance to relax without feeling crowded. Your older teens may benefit from having a separate space where they can chill out with friends, play music in, or hold a movie night without disturbing parents or younger siblings. You may like to include sound proofing in the early stages of the conversion to ensure neighbours aren’t bothered by music or TV noise, and add thick carpeting and heavy curtains to further muffle sound. Installing a large TV, a modular couch, and a coffee table, as well as a small cupboard for snacks, a bar fridge and even a small sink area will make this the ideal set up for relaxing with friends!

Whenever you’re adding additional rooms to your home or undertaking a renovation of an existing space remember to contact your local council to check if you need to gain permits or approval before going ahead with any changes. If done correctly, a garage conversion can be a fantastic benefit to your home and family’s lifestyle! For more home design ideas and inspiration, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Building a new home can be an expensive process. With home insurance, conveyancing or solicitor fees, and mortgage insurance, costs start to add up quickly. One of the largest payments you’ll make during this process is stamp duty. Although the added cost is substantial, there’s no avoiding it unfortunately, since every real estate purchase accrues a stamp duty cost. But what is it? We’ve got a quick summary of what stamp duty is and why you need to pay it.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty is a form of tax written on certain transactions, like real estate, that is imposed by state and territory governments. It is paid by the purchaser of the property. The amount imposed on the transaction will vary from state to state, but each state and territory in Australia imposes stamp duty on real estate purchases.

Stamp Duty

How is Stamp Duty Calculated?

The amount of stamp duty you’ll pay depends on a number of factors. The location of the land or property being purchased, whether you’re a first home buyer, and whether you’re buying land or a dwelling, and whether you’re purchasing an investment property or plan to live in the property all contribute to the final amount of stamp duty calculated for your purchase. The amount is calculated on either the expected value of the land and buildings or the purchase price of the land and existing dwelling as at the date of the contract of sale, which is the date when the contract of sale is signed and the deposit is paid by the purchaser. Many financial institutions and State Revenue Office websites offer stamp duty calculators so you can estimate how much stamp duty will be applied to your real estate purchase.

Stamp Duty Exemptions

There are some instances where stamp duty may be reduced depending on your circumstances. These include purchases by first home buyers, pensioners, low property value, deceased estates, and off the plan purchases. When you’re ready to purchase land or a home, research the stamp duty exemptions in the state your purchasing in order to see if you qualify for a reduced stamp duty rate.

When is Stamp Duty Paid?

Stamp duty is paid to the State Revenue Office in the state of purchase prior to the lodging of the transfer of land to the land titles office. Usually the purchaser’s lender or legal representative pays stamp duty after settlement, often with funds that the purchaser contributed before settlement occurred.

Stamp Duty

How to Reduce Your Stamp Duty

The most obvious way to reduce the amount of stamp duty you’ll pay is to buy a less expensive property. However, with the cost of real estate fluctuating this isn’t always possible. In most states and territories, stamp duty increases significantly when the purchase price goes over $500,000. You may opt to look for property in a regional area or even in a different state to decrease the amount of stamp duty you’ll pay. If you’ve purchased a house and land package and will be building a new home, the stamp duty is calculated on how much the property is expected to be worth, so reducing the cost of the build by sticking with the standard inclusions offered by your builder will help keep the build costs low and subsequently lower the property’s initial value.

When purchasing a new home, whether it’s land or a dwelling, you’ll be required to pay stamp duty on your purchase. This is something you should budget for when saving a deposit to purchase so there are no nasty surprises. Researching estimated stamp duty costs using online calculators will help you allow for this payment on top of you deposit, ensuring you’re not out of pocket with an expense you weren’t expecting. For more home building tips, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Hotondo Homes is not a licensed financial expert and we recommend speaking to a licenced financial professional before making a real estate purchase.

Buying your first home and feeling a little confused about what conveyancing is? You’re not alone! This is a vital part of the purchasing process, but is often a service you pay for without really understanding it. We’ve got a simple breakdown of what conveyancing is, why you need to do it, and why it’s an important part of the home buying process.


What is Conveyancing?

This is the essential step of transferring the ownership of land or a property from one owner to another. Buyers can handle the conveyancing themselves, though it can be quite time consuming and complex. This is why most people choose to use a licenced conveyancer or solicitor to do the work for them. Conveyancing covers a number of things, such as the payment of the deposit, the balance of the purchase price and competing the correct forms to ensure the land or property is properly and legally transferred to the correct person. It also includes making enquiries about outstanding debts, obligations, potential defects or disputes on the property.


Buying or Selling?

Legally, a conveyancer cannot carry out any conveyancing work for the buyer until after the contract has been signed. Once you’ve committed to buying land or a property, the conveyancer can then commence their work, and advise you with comprehensive advice about the contract of sale, the Section 32 Vendor’s Statement, and what your rights and obligations are under the contract, as well as any special conditions or issues with the property. As a seller, a conveyancer or solicitor will prepare the legal documents for you, which includes the contract of sale and the Section 32 Vendor’s Statement.

The Conveyancing Process

Once you have signed a contract to purchase a home, the conveyancer or solicitor will commence their work. They will investigate whether a government body has an interest in the land or whether there are any proposed developments or notifications that could affect the property by gathering information and making enquiries about the land and title from relevant authorities to ensure there are no hidden defects, debts, or mortgages on the property. They will also ensure the property is in compliance with council and state regulations and law. They will then draw the relevant documents to ensure the property is transferred to the correct owner at the end of the process, which is the settlement date in the contract of sale. The conveyancer or solicitor will also represent you as the buyer or seller and liaise with the other party directly. This includes the exchange of transfer documents, ask any questions about the property, and communicate with the financial institution involved as well as attend the settlement on behalf of their client.


What Happens After Settlement?

Once settlement is over, the conveyancing process is typically finished. In some cases, the conveyancer or solicitor may attend to stamping and lodging of the transfer documents. This means they may assist in the preparation of the documents so that a new Certificate of Title is issued in the name of the land or property’s rightful owner.

Conveyancing is an essential step of transferring ownership of property when its being bought or sold. Because this is such a significant financial investment, using a professional to assist you with the process is invaluable during your home purchase or sale. When you build with Hotondo Homes, your local builder will be able to to assist you with your conveyancing needs during the building process. For more building tips and information, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Hotondo Homes is not a licenced conveyancing service, and we recommend speaking to a licenced professional when you’re buying or selling land or property.