Have you been chatting to a mortgage broker about obtaining finance to buy or build your first home and you’re feeling a little bit confused about all the different loan terms being discussed? Don’t worry, we’re here to help! We chatted to our friends at Professional Mortgage Managers and they have a thorough list of all the loan terms, what they mean, and how they can benefit you!

Variable loans

Variable loans are loans that are subject to interest rate fluctuations. Whenever your bank increases or decreases interest rates, you will end up either paying more or less for your loan, depending on what the bank has decided to do. The benefit to the customer is that often (but not always) once discounts are applied that lower rates, there is the flexibility to pay down loans quicker, you can have 100% offset accounts and can discharge from your loan at any time without breaking fees.

Fixed-rate loans

Fixed loans allow you to lock in a specific interest rate over a set period of time, generally between one and five years. This loan ensures that repayments don’t rise for the fixed rate period. The main risk is that if variable rates fall, you are locked in at a higher rate. The cost of breaking a fixed rate loan contract can be substantial. The benefit to the customer here is the element of repayment certainty in times of rate fluctuation.

Principal and interest repayments

Repayments are based on the principle rate, the amount borrowed from the bank, and the interest, the amount to pay for having borrowed the money.

Interest-only repayments

Repayments are made just on the interest, which is the amount you repay for having borrowed the money, and not on the principle borrowed amount. This is generally available for 1 to 5 years for owner occupied loans, and one to ten years for investment loans.

Split-rate loans

You can take out a mortgage with one portion of the loan variable, and the other fixed. In many ways, this offers the best of both worlds and you have the flexibility to repay more on the variable loan and reduce risk through the fixed loan.

Low-doc loans

This loan is better suited to the self-employed as low-doc loans require less proof-of-income paperwork, but the interest rate levied is often higher than the standard variable rate.

Professional or packaged loans

Some lenders offer mortgages that provide ‘lifetime’ discounted interest rates, fee waivers and linked savings accounts and credit cards. These options are generally offered on high loan amounts.

Construction loans

These loans allow amounts of finance to be drawn down progressively to cover the various stages of a construction project. Repayments (generally only on interest for the first twelve months, then on principal and interest thereafter) are only made on the amount of the loan facility that has been drawn down. However, there are line fees on the undrawn amount, or in most cases on the total facility limit.

Line-of-credit facilities

This is a way of tapping into the equity in an existing home loan and drawing down funds as required for different purposes, such as renovations. Similar to a credit card, repayments are only made on the amount drawn down. Line-of-credit loans are often interest-only for a significant period, but can revert to principal and interest repayments down the track. Most lenders charge extra for line of credit accounts, either through a facility fee, undrawn funds fees and/or a higher interest rate.

Bridging loans

Bridging loans are designed as short-term financing options for borrowers who need funding to buy a new residence before selling their existing home. The interest rates on these loans are higher than the standard variable interest rate.

Now that you’re ready to get finance approval for your first home purchase, having a sound understanding of common loan terms will help you understand the types of loans your broker will suggest that suit your lifestyle and budget. This should also help you in the future in the event that you need to reassess your home loan and make changes where necessary. To find a builder local to you, head to the Hotondo Homes website today. Our builders can assist you with getting in touch with a finance expert to help you start the process of obtaining finance for your new home.

Hotondo Homes is not an authorised financial institution and we recommend home buyers always seek the advice of a registered financial professional before purchasing a home.

Whether you’ve lived in New South Wales all your life, or you’re looking for a seachange up to the coast, Hotondo Homes has a large network of builders ready to help you find the perfect home! All our local builders have a number of home designs available to choose from, and can provide cost-effective solutions to meet your budget and lifestyle. This week we’re putting the spotlight on a few of our builders throughout New South Wales so you can get to know some of the members of our Hotondo Homes family!

Hotondo Southcoast

With over fifteen years of building experience, Adam Sturt is your local builder in Nowra and surrounding areas. Adam has a wealth of experience building a wide range of single and double storey home designs, and has worked with a wide variety of clients. He understands how important it is to tailor his services to meet clients’ design aspirations, budgets, and lifestyles. With a thorough understanding of different types of blocks, the South Coast team specialise in building on sloping blocks, beach-side homes and large acreage properties. Adam’s professional attitude and personalised customer service is always welcomed by his clients, and he goes to great lengths to make himself available to chat about their build and answer any questions they have throughout the process. Priding themselves on their fantastic customer service, Adam and the South Coast team work to ensure all their clients have a stress-free, enjoyable new home journey, with communication being their top priority, which earned them the Customer Service Excellence Award at the 2018 Hotondo Homes National Conference, which is the third consecutive year they’ve received this honour! Pop in and visit their Erskine 240 display, and chat to this friendly team about your own dream home ideas today.

Hotondo Homes Newcastle and Lake Macquarie

Stephen and Sue Schutz are your local builders in Newcastle, with their services extending from Fletcher to Morisset. With over nintey flexible floor plans available, including single and double storey homes, split level designs, and duplex homes to choose from, they will work with you to ensure your new home suits your family’s needs, lifestyle, and budget. The Newcastle team specialise in building on sloping blocks and together with their in-house designer, Stephen and Sue work hard to ensure their providing their clients with exceptional customer service, attention to details, and innovation. Being a family-owned business means they have the flexibility to tailor their services to suit each client’s need, and they pride themselves on their professionalism and personal approach. Get in touch with the team today to start your home building journey!

Hotondo Homes Bathurst-Orange

No matter what style of home you’re looking for, Greg and Gillian Coleman can cater to your budget, location, and lifestyle. With extensive experience in the building industry, Greg and Gillian are your local builders in Bathurst, Orange and the surrounding areas. Using reputable local trades and suppliers, and with selections that are completed in-house, it’s the perfect one-stop shop for all your needs! They pride themselves on their transparency and professionalism, and work to fixed-price contracts with no hidden extras, ensuring customer satisfaction from start to finish, resulting in the team receiving a Customer Service Excellence award at the 2018 Hotondo Homes National Conference. Catering to first home buyers, families looking to upgrade, and retirees beginning the next chapter of their lives, their team can help find a home design for everyone. Greg, Gillian and the entire team assist clients throughout the entire process, including land purchase, arranging finance, selecting designs, and modifing inclusions to suit client requirements so the end result is a home the entire family loves! With a new display home opening in 2019, Greg and Gillian would love to chat you about building your dream home!

Hotondo Homes Wagga Wagga

Brothers Craig and Marty Keogh know how to build quality homes. With over twenty years of experience in construction, they’ve built some of Wagga Wagga’s best homes, and have just opened their new display home, the stunning Dakota 316. Servicing Wagga Wagga and the surrounding areas of Gobbagombalin, Collingullie, and Forest Hill, Craig and Marty are your professional building team. No matter your lifestyle, budget, or family size, they’ll be able to find the perfect new home solution. Specialising in building on all types of sites, including difficult sloping blocks and acreage land, their team never shy away from a challenge! With a range of affordable house and land packages, Craig and Marty offer a fixed price contract with no hidden costs, and they pride themselves on running a detail-oriented business that offers the best in customer service and client satisfaction. The team at Wagga Wagga are also dedicated to helping their local community, and raised over $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Australia® last year, a feat which saw them awarded the Make-A-Wish Event of the Year at the 2018 Hotondo Homes National Conference. Come and visit their new display today, and chat to them about your new home requirements – they’re more than happy to answer any of your questions!

Hotondo Homes has a number of builders located around New South Wales to help you with your vision. With flexible designs for all types of land, and plenty of house and land packages available to suit your budget and lifestyle, you’re sure to find a local builder in your area to create a beautifully constructed home for you and your family! Visit the Hotondo Homes website and find a builder local to you today.

When you’re building a new home, it’s important to understand the fixed costs in the quote you receive from your builder. Many builders will put something called ‘prime cost’ items or provisional allowances into their quote, and clients may find that when it comes to actually selecting items for their home, they’re met with surprise costs that weren’t included in their original quote. At Hotondo Homes, we are committed to providing clients with transparent pricing to ensure you don’t get any costly surprises.


What Are Prime Cost Items and Provisional Allowances?

Often builders may include prime cost items and provisional allowances in their quote. These could be for the kitchen, tapware, sanitary ware, connection of services, bricks and many other items in your new home. This is where a nominal figure is included in your quote to cover basic items, so when it’s time for you to make your selections for your new home, you pay the difference between the basic item and the item you wish to include.

Why are Prime Cost Items and Provisional Allowances Confusing?

Many clients are unaware of these additional charges when they do their selections, and while it’s considered very normal practice in the building industry, it can lead to clients becoming disillusioned and disappointed. Clients who sign a contract with a builder in good faith based on the quote they’ve received being a fixed price then find out throughout the building process that every time they make a selection, or there’s a construction issue on site requiring extra work they incur additional costs not included in their quote.


Why Is It Best to Quote Accurately?

We believe that quoting clients with prime cost items and provisional allowances is a bit of a trap – so we don’t do it! Inevitably these allowances do not cover what you will ultimately select for your home. We want you to have the freedom to select exactly what you want for your dream home and understand where it fits in to your budget, without the nasty surprise of additional costs, so the price we quote you in your contract is the price you pay. The only change to that is if you have specific items you’d like to include, or upgrades you’d like to make in your home.


How Can We Quote Accurately?

Providing our clients with a true fixed price quote takes a lot of work, due diligence on our part, and time. Our builders visit every site, and arrange to do specific soil tests, rock test, fill tests, compaction tests and contour surveys. Then, armed with all that information, they get a civil engineer to asses the best way of building your home, the necessary site cuts, piers, fill and driveways, paths, and retaining walls if required. They also work to determine the position of the service connections, and price those accurately. Once all this has been priced, the builder then works on pricing the cost of building your home, including any modifications you require, to an agreed specification level. This level of specific pricing will provide with you with a fixed price quote to give you an accurate idea of your overall costs, right down to the cost of including heating, cooling, light fittings, and even the mail box!

At Hotondo Homes, we are committed to making sure you don’t get any nasty surprises throughout your building journey, and that the price on your contract is the price you’ll pay. We believe in being accurate and transparent in our quotation process, and we will work closely with you to answer any questions you have, include any modifications you may need, and provide you with an accurate price for your home. To start planning your dream home, visit the Hotondo Homes website and find a local builder in your area today!

Our latest campaign hit TV screens in January and we’d love to show you what inspired the story behind ‘The Drawing’ and why we love this campaign!


We spoke to customers to find our what their home owner journey is, and what their process is when deciding which building company to use for their dream home. We listened to what they had to say and used their insights to see how we can connect with customers on an emotional level and better our experience with them. We asked customers to draw their dream home, and the results were surprising! Instead of focusing on the look of the home and its features, they really illustrated the importance of the people in their home – their partners, their children, and even their pets! This conveyed beautifully what makes a house a home, and we used their collective vision of a dream home as the basis of this campaign.

‘The Drawing’

Framing the tv ad around the idea that Jack’s mum saved his childhood drawing helped us create an ad that connects to customers on an intensely personal level. Everyone can relate to having childhood items saved for them by their parents, and as they get married and start their own families they understand the sentimental aspect of saving their own children’s artwork. We even spoke to some of our own builders to find out what they’ve been carefully saving for their children! Our builders also loved seeing the journey of Jack’s dream home come to life, and noted that every parent loves seeing their children achieve their goals. No matter how old a child is, a parent will always be watching and cheering them on, and this is one of the key messages of the campaign.

The Home

We chose the Erskine display as the location because it perfectly showcases the functionality of open-plan space in a family home. The home has all the space the family needs for privacy, but also features an area that allows the family to be in close proximity to each other throughout the day. The home’s design creates a light, bright atmosphere no matter which angle you look at it from thanks to the large windows in the open-plan space. The layout of the home’s open-plan and alfresco areas allowed us to effectively show how Jack’s dream home went from his imagination to real life and all the joy that accompanies his achievement. We were able to illustrate how much emotion and pride goes into achieving the dream of owning your own home, and seeing your own children benefit from your dream.

You can head over to our website to see lots of great behind the scenes photos, more in-depth interviews about the inspiration behind the concept, and interviews with Hotondo staff, our builders, and the cast. We’re also running a colouring competition for children aged up to seven years old. We want your child to draw their dream home and send it in to us to go in the running to win one of our weekly or monthly prizes, so tell your kids to get creative and start drawing!

In the last six months, we added to our selection of display homes open to the public with four new ones! These homes showcase the versatility of Hotondo Homes designs as well as focusing on the quality of workmanship in each home. These displays are also another great example of Hotondo Homes’ attention to detail when building a home to suit a range of families and lifestyles.

Esplanade 260 – Torquay

Want to take advantage of the beautiful views where you live? The Esplanade 260 is a stunning example of reverse living at its finest. Local Hotondo Homes builder Peter chose this design for his display because ‘the Esplanade 260 is light, bright and airy. The open-plan upstairs living room is sunny and spacious, and offers generous rooms and family lifestyle flexibility – yet it can still fit on relatively small blocks. The courtyard decks offer alternate semi-sheltered outdoor spaces to choose from on sunny and windy days. The kitchen will satisfy anyone who likes to cook and entertain. Even storage areas are generous!’ A three bedroom home, the beauty of this design rests in the reverse layout. With the open-plan kitchen, living and dining zones upstairs, including a butler’s pantry, and a master suite complete with a spacious walk-in-robe and ensuite located at the rear of the main living zones, your family will be able to fully enjoy the views around your home.

Hume 244 – Mackay

Spacious family living and modern design blend together in the Hume 244, giving your family everything it needs to comfortably reside in this beautiful home for years to come. With three bedrooms at the front and the master suite at the rear of the property creating a secluded parents’ retreat, plus a separate living room for more formal entertaining, this is the perfect home for growing families. There’s also a generously sized open-plan kitchen and living space that connects to the alfresco perfectly blending indoor/outdoor living, making everyday living and entertaining a dream.

Jagera 250 – Batemans Bay

A family home with all the bells and whistles, the Jagera 250 has loads of living space with a formal lounge room at the front of the home in addition to the spacious open-plan kitchen/living/dining area strategically located on the right side of the home. With a separate study that’s perfect as a home office or a study zone for the kids, this home is designed with versatility for families in mind. Local Hotondo Homes builder Darren says the Jagera 250 ‘has a great feel to the layout. We have built it previously for clients and they have loved it. It’s part of a family of sizes so clients have options depending on their block size. Plus, who doesn’t want a walk-in pantry!’

Vida 238 ALT – Jimboomba

The Vida 238 ALT is perfectly designed to suit large families. An open-plan living space in the centre of the home that’s surrounded by three bedrooms and an additional living room makes family life the main focus of this design. The luxurious master suite is cleverly placed at the front of the house, creating the ultimate parents’ retreat. There’s also an alfresco that connects seamlessly to the dining area so your family can enjoy true indoor/outdoor living. With so much space and so many wonderful features, this beautiful home is perfect for a range of families and lifestyles.

If you’re looking for the perfect home design, take a look at our display homes that are open to the public! There are a range of designs and floor plans available for you to walk through so you can get a feel for the Hotondo Homes style and craftsmanship. No display home near you? No worries! You can use our 3D Explore tool to take a virtual walk through our displays at the click of a button. For more floor plans and home design inspiration, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Calling all first home buyers! If you’re ready to make your very first real estate purchase, there are first home owner grants you may be eligible for to help you get into your dream home. We’ve done a little research and rounded up a quick summary for you of how each state’s First Home Owner Grants stack up as they vary in amount and property value. Take a look at your state’s grant eligibility requirements and what you could receive when you decide to purchase your first home!

First Home Owner


You’re eligible to receive up to $20,000 in First Home Owner Grants in Victoria depending on where you’re purchasing and the value of the home. If the home is in regional Victoria, you’ll receive $20,000 in FHOG – it’s the perfect excuse to make that move to the country! If the home you’re buying is not in regional Victoria, then you’ll receive $10,000 in grants. These grants are based on the purchaser buying or building a home up to the value of $750,000. There are also additional exemptions and concessions available to first home buyers such as off-the-plan and pensioner concessions, so make sure you do your homework and find out which grants are applicable to your purchase.

New South Wales

The First Home Owner Grant (New Home) assists eligible first home owners who are buying or building a home up to the value of $600,000, entitling them to a $10,000 grant. The NSW Government also has the First Home Buyers Assistance scheme, which provides exemptions or concessions on transfer duty for new and existing homes valued up to $650,000, and concessions on duty for new and existing homes valued between $650,000 and $800,000.

Australian Capital Territory

For first home purchasers in the ACT, a FHOG of $7,000 is available for transactions entered into before June 30, 2019 for properties whose total value (including land) is up to $750,000. Any transactions entered into after this date will not be eligible to receive the grant.

First Home Owner


First home owners are eligible to either $15,000 or $20,000 towards buying or building a new home, and this grant covers houses, units and townhouses up to the value of $750,000. It also covers purchasers who are buying off the plan, meaning you can find a home design that’s already attached to titled land and ready to build to save yourself some time! If your contract of sale is dated between October, 2012 and June 30, 2016 OR from July 1, 2018 or later, you’ll receive $15,000. If your contract of sale is dated from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018 you’re eligible to receive $20,000.

South Australia

In SA, the FHOG amount varies depending on a range of factors. Previously there were a range of grants available to first home buyers, however currently only first home purchasers of off-the-plan apartments are eligible to receive up $21,330 in grants where a transaction was entered into between May 31, 2012 to June 30, 2018. Unfortunately, established homes where a transaction was entered into from July 1, 2014 onwards are not eligible for any FHOGs.

First Home Owner


The Tasmanian Government announced in the 2018/19 State Budget that the First Home Owner Grant would be extended for one additional year. First home owners will be eligible to receive $20,000 for transactions up to and including June 30, 2019. The extension of the FHOG ends on June 30, 2019, so there’s still a bit of time for you to find that dream home! Eligible transactions include a comprehensive home building contract for a new home, the building of a new home by an owner builder, and the contract for the purchase of a new home such as a spec. or off-the-plan purchase.

Northern Territory

First home owners purchasing a new home in the NT are eligible for a FHOG of $26,000. The home must be a dwelling that has never previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence. There is also a $2,000 household goods grant available for eligible applicants who entered into a contract to build or purchase a new home on or after September 1, 2016. Alternatively, first home owners who are purchasing an established home may be eligible for a stamp duty discount of up to $23,928, as well as a home renovation grant of up to $10,000, which means it’s the perfect time to buy that fixer-upper you’ve been looking at!

Western Australia

This one-off payment of $5,000 is available to first home buyers who have entered into a contract to purchase or construct a new home between January 1 and June 30, 2017. This also covers owner builders who commenced laying foundations of their home between these dates. This grant has geographically determined caps on the total value of the home up to either $750,000 or $1,000,000 depending on the location.

No matter which state you’re purchasing or building your first home in, there are First Home Owner Grants to help you get your foot in the door of the property market. Doing a little research will benefit you and your bank account in the long run, as most states offer some kind of assistance to first home buyers, depending on the transaction date and the home’s value. The Hotondo Homes website also features a Borrowing Power Calculator to help you determine how much you can afford to spend on your dream home.

Hotondo Homes is not a registered financial advisory and therefore we recommend you speak to your financial advisor or mortgage broker to receive expert advice before you enter into a real estate contract of sale.

With over 90 flexible floor plans, Hotondo Homes has a wealth of home designs to choose from. Each home is designed with careful consideration to suit a range of family sizes and lifestyles, so whether you’re a first home buyer looking for a modestly sized home, or a growing family that wants lots of space to spread out, you’re sure to find something that suits you and your family perfectly! We recently spoke to some of our builders to find out which home design is their current favourite and why, and we loved hearing what they had to say!

Allegra 187 – Steve Allan, Hotondo Homes Toowoomba

Steve says his pick has to be the Allegra 187. “Fitting 4 bedrooms plus a separate living room as well as a full-size laundry and an alfresco space into 187m2 is a design challenge which has been met and exceeded with this efficient floor plan. Having the living area completely separate at the front of the home complete with a large entry area is an added bonus.”

Erskine 240 – Adam Sturt, Hotondo Southcoast

“I love the open space at the back, the walk-in-robe and the flexibility of the design of the Erskine 240 façade! It’s a design that’s perfect for all – new buyers, families, and investors.” Featuring everything you could want in a family home, including a separate living room, and a generous butler’s pantry, it’s not hard to see why Adam and his team love the Erskine 240!

Vida 238/Vida 238 ALT – Craig Bunning, Hotondo Homes Jimboomba

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from clients about the Vida 238 ALT’s open plan space,” says Craig. “There’s also a second living area located away from the main living zone, as well as access to the kitchen/living/dining space from both sides and ends of the hallway – the kitchen is the central hub of the home, and the master suite has a large ensuite creating a true parents’ retreat.”

Stockton 322 and 380 – Paul Ellem, Hotondo Homes Junee

“I love the Stockton range of home designs – they’re perfect for acreages and wider blocks,” Paul tells us. Available in two sizes, the Stockton is a four bedroom home with an abundance of space. Large open-plan living with a spacious alfresco to complement the generously sized design means this home offers comfort and style for the whole family.

Hume 263 – Jim Carroll, Hotondo Homes Albury-Wodonga

Jim says “We love the luxurious master bedroom located at the rear of the Hume 263, providing ultimate privacy for parents. The open-plan kitchen and living area flows seamlessly to the alfresco, making it brilliant for entertaining with family and friends. This home is perfect for taking in scenic views as well!”

Marcoola Range – Aaron Anstis and Nick Barker, Hotondo Homes Ocean Grove

Available in three sizes, Aaron says “The Marcoola has a good range of sizes to suit many families, and it also suits various block orientations. It’s a versatile home that can cater for a growing family and many different lifestyles.” This range truly offers flexibility, and the clever design makes it the perfect family home.

If you’re wanting to build your dream home, make sure you visit the Hotondo Homes website today to have a look at the wide range of home designs available. With something to suit everyone, you’re sure to find the perfect home for your family!

The idea of a big, sprawling family home is something a lot of people dream of, but often location or land size only allows for a modest sized home, which can present its own challenges. However, with a variety of smaller home designs available, and a number of clever interior design tricks, smaller homes can feel roomy and spacious!


Small home
It’s tempting to create large, open spaces in smaller homes to create a seamless flow of space, but there’s nothing wrong with still wanting some separation between the zones of your home. Creating a kitchen and dining space that’s open-plan is great for these common areas, but designing a living area that’s slightly sectioned off from those high traffic zones will make your home feel a little roomier and add the luxury of a separate space for the family to relax in. If you’re building a townhouse with a second storey, having the majority of the bedrooms upstairs means your ground floor can include things like a dedicated study, a more generous master suite with an ensuite and walk-in robe, or even an additional fourth bedroom.

Interior Design

Small home
Many people subscribe to the idea that modest homes should be all white inside, but this definitely isn’t the case anymore. Smaller homes are more frequently being painted with rich, colourful tones to create the feeling of cosy, warm spaces in bedrooms and lounge rooms, with neutral furniture used to contrast these colours. Feature walls with wallpaper can also be used to give a small room focus and colour, and statement furniture pieces like armchairs, ottomans, and area rugs in coloured tones will give your rooms character.


Small home
In a small home, it’s tempting to fill it with lots of smaller pieces of furniture that fit the space, which can lead to a home that’s crowded with too many items in every room. Instead, focus on purchasing a few larger, key pieces of furniture for each space. For example, buying a bed with storage under the mattress will eliminate the need for a dresser in the bedroom, and in the lounge area one larger modular couch will suit the space better than multiple smaller couches and armchairs. The larger pieces will create an atmosphere of space, and prevent the rooms from feeling cluttered.

Smart Use of Space

Small home
Smaller homes often don’t allow for the luxury of separate studies, guest rooms and extra storage space. The key to including little luxuries that larger homes have is to be smart about utilising the of space you have. If you’re building a double storey townhouse, under the stair case is a perfect spot to create a concealed storage space for sports equipment, seasonal clothing that needs to be stored away, or even a cheeky wine cellar! Designing a study nook against a small section of wall creates an efficient and confined workspace in a common area that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the space. In kid’s rooms, purchasing bunk beds or beds with trundles under them allows for sleepovers and room sharing between siblings without the need for two single beds side by side taking up most of the floor space.

Having a smaller home doesn’t mean you and your family need to feel like you’re all living on top of each other! By designing a home that maximises space and includes a clever use of design features with warm interior themes, you can build a home that’s big on space inside and still fits a modest block of land. For more home design ideas for smaller blocks, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

Building a new home is a process that many people can find daunting – there are so many choices to make, from selecting land to build on, a home design that’s perfect for your family, and the colour selections, fixtures and fittings you want in your home. Having someone to guide you through the process is invaluable, and if you’re considering building a new home for the first time, we’ve put together a short summary of each stage of the home building journey to help explain the process and what’s involved every step of the way.

Contract Signing

Once you’ve decided to build a home, your builder will arrange the necessary documentation such as soil report, levels, plans, specifications, engineer’s drawings, and energy rating information so that a contract can be signed. Once that is complete, they will submit all the documentation for building approval. The builder will also order a site set out survey and arrange to commence work on the site once the building permit has been issued.


If you haven’t purchased land yet, your builder will be able to show you a number of house and land options so you can purchase something with a home design already allocated to that plot of land. Your builder can also put you in touch with their network of land agents and land developers to help you find that perfect piece of land in your desired location.

Home Design Selection

The home design is selected early on in the process. Often clients will already have a floor plan in mind, but for those who don’t, your builder can suggest designs that will suit your block of land, needs, and your budget. Your builder will also be able to help suggest designs with a high energy efficiency, as well as designs that will take advantage of the surrounding environment and views.

Colour Selections

Once a home design is selected, it’s time to make your colour selections. This is often one of the most exciting stages for clients! Choosing your home’s exterior appearance and interior colour scheme can be difficult as you’re spoiled for choice with all the possibilities! A qualified colour consultant will sit down with you for an in-depth appointment that can often take a whole day. The consultant will guide you through the inclusions for each part of the home design and help you make choices based on the latest trends and styles. Your builder may ask you to do you colour selections prior to your contact signing to minimise the possibility of any changes later on.

Inspecting Your Home’s Progress

Your builder will invite you to come and inspect your home’s progress at many stages during the build, often each time a progress payment has been made. At each stage of works completed, clients have the opportunity to do a walk through and work with the builder and electrician to confirm the placement of things like powerpoints and lights, and the location of shower and bath mixers and shower niches. It also helps the client visualise the space and where their furniture will be placed once the home is complete. You are always welcome to arrange an inspection of your home at any time, your builder understands that this is an exciting time for you and that you’ll love seeing the progress!


Once the build is complete, clients are invited to do a final walkthrough with their builder to ensure everything has been built to specification and is correct. Your builder will show you where all the important things are, such as the switchboard, water pumps, and mains, and show you how to use the appliances. The client then signs off on the build, and the builder hands over the keys to their new home! The builder will also book in a maintenance appointment to ensure the new home is perfect.

The builder will work with you throughout the entire process to ensure you are truly having your dream home built. The builder and their team will offer additional assistance and reassurance as needed during your home building journey, and will ensure you are satisfied with your customer experience and your beautiful new home! To view Hotondo Homes designs and house and land packages, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

2018 is already off to a flying start for Hotondo Homes with the release of our exciting new Virtual Retreat experience! The mobile app, which can also be viewed on users’ desktops, is designed with first home buyers in mind.

With so many beautiful display homes showcasing high-end designs and clever features, first home buyers are finding these homes are out of reach for them. There’s no doubt visiting display homes is a smart exercise in research and planning- it definitely gives buyers a wealth of inspiration for their future home, but they ultimately walk away disappointed they’re unable to purchase a home similar to the ones they visit.

Recognising this clear gap for first home buyers, Hotondo Homes has launched Virtual Retreat specifically for these buyers, giving them a chance to view and virtually ‘walk-through’ the Forever Retreat range of homes before they’ve even been built. Forever Retreat is a range of homes that have been designed primarily for first home buyers and property investors looking to get their foot in the door of the real estate market.

Virtual Retreat

Launched to the public in early March, existing clients are already excited at the possibilities that come with using the feature – being able to experience Virtual Retreat on a desktop as well as downloading the app is an added bonus! The Virtual Retreat experience is the latest state of the art technology allowing users to walk through Hotondo Homes’ Retreat Range from anywhere, at any time of the day, meaning buyers don’t have to wait for the weekend to visit a display home they’ve seen online. With so many display homes to view and not enough time to see them all, the Virtual Retreat experience is a wonderful time saver for new buyers. Being able to use the feature from the comfort of home means there are no hectic schedules as they try to visit as many displays as they can, giving time-poor buyers their weekends back!

Virtual Retreat

The Virtual Retreat Experience

Allowing users to take a 3D tour of any home in the Forever Retreat range, the experience gives potential buyers a better understanding of a particular design’s layout and the flow of the floor plan, which is invaluable when you aren’t able to visit a display home in person. Virtual Retreat provides a great range of designs and beautiful façades to choose from, and helps buyers gain a real understanding of each design’s layout, so they can determine which home is the right choice for them. Navigation is a breeze, with the option to view a design’s floor plan from a bird’s eye view, then switching to ground level view as users virtually ‘walk through’ each room. There’s also the option to choose from a room menu, enabling users to go straight to the room they’re most interested in viewing. If you look closely, our furry friend Hunter can also be seen walking around the homes!

Virtual Retreat

Instead of visiting display home after display home and becoming disheartened at the unattainable homes outside their budget, buyers now have the convenience and ease of using the latest technology to virtually walk through a beautiful range of designs in their price range. By enabling them to refocus their energies on finding the right house for them in a fraction of the time, they can make a more informed decision and fast track their journey to becoming homeowners for the first time! To view or download the Virtual Retreat app, head over to the Hotondo Homes website.

Home design has come a long way over the past few years, with many modern design elements now incorporated into floor plans.

Across Hotondo Homes’ range of designs there are some consistent elements that many of our clients request when building their new home.

We have rounded up the most popular modern design elements for you to consider when searching through our range of homes.


modern design

A butler’s pantry to conceal the mess

Unlike walk-in-pantries, butler’s pantries are large enough to contain your refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and other such appliances. A butler’s pantry can also contain another kitchen sink, the idea of which is to hide dirty dishes away from plain sight while entertaining. With plenty of preparation space for a keen chef, a butler’s pantry is perfect for those who hate having mess out on display.

Check out the Erskine 202 or the Como 412.


modern design

Indoor/outdoor living for a balanced home

Nothing says modern design quite like a beautiful alfresco. Let the lines blur between indoor and outdoor with stacker doors, which allow you to extend your living area to the great outdoors. Having direct access to the alfresco from the kitchen is perfect for entertaining. Finish it off with an outdoor dining setting or relaxing lounge suite.

Try the Eureka 263 ALT or the Kirkby 246.


modern design

Walk-in-robe and ensuite to master bedroom

Almost a standard these days is a walk-in-robe and ensuite for the master bedroom to create the ultimate parent’s retreat. A double vanity and waterfall showerhead completes the sanctuary.

For even more luxury, the Amora 384 offers a walk-in-robe and ensuite in every bedroom.


modern design

Study nook to conserve space

Many home buyers find a full study to be a waste of space and convert the room into something more practical. The problem that then arises is where do you put your computer or laptop? A study nook is the perfect compromise – you don’t have to give up an entire room, but there is still a dedicated space to work or study.

The Hume 263 offers a study nook in the kitchen, while the Marcoola 269’s is a bit more secluded.


modern design

A multi-purpose room

A room that can change and grow as your family does is an important modern design element. Whether you are after a second living area, rumpus, theatre room or additional bedroom, a multi-purpose room is great to have, especially for growing families.

The McRae 250 and Tarkine 238 offer multi-purpose rooms that can be closed off.


Check out Hotondo Homes full range of homes here.

On the hunt for that perfect first home design?

Choosing the right design for you can be a difficult decision, even more so when you are doing it for the first time. As well as learning all the processes, dealing with banks, builders and land developers and even learning the right lingo, you also have to pick a home that you are likely to live in for many years to come.

We have listed the most important factors to consider when choosing a home design for the first time. We have also made a few suggestions on what we think are perfect home designs for first-time home buyers.


Look towards the future

Extra space should be a high priority for first home buyers. If you are planning to have children in the future, it may be wise to accommodate for them. Choosing a home with more bedrooms should be a higher priority than any other ‘additional’ features like a stone benchtop, freestanding bath or a double vanity in the ensuite. These can easily be added down the track, but extra space is more difficult to come by.

The Jamieson 222 is a versatile design with a kid’s zone that can be converted into a fourth bedroom and a separate living area at the front of the home that can become a study, theatre room or even another bedroom.

first-time home buyers

Buy the home you can afford now

Even if you expect your household income to increase in the coming years, never build a home beyond your current means. You never quite know what the future may hold, whether it be children, school, new cars or an accident, and pushing yourself to the absolute limit of your budget is never a good idea. You still want some money to live an enjoyable life, with plenty of time to build your dream home down the track.

The Aon range of homes can be built as a duplex, which can be a good way to bring in extra income. Live in one and rent out the other to increase your return and reduce the amount you have to pay on your mortgage.

first-time home buyers

Designs have personality

Find a design that is going to suit your personality and lifestyle. If you like the idea of an open-plan home, opt for a floor plan where the kitchen, living and dining areas run seamlessly into one another. If you are a bit of a movie buff, something with a closed home theatre room may be perfect for you.

The Alpha 237 offers an expansive alfresco area, great for those who love to entertain. With all the bedrooms secluded upstairs, a family can both entertain and relax simultaneously.

first-time home buyers

Study the floor plan

Some people may find themselves swayed by the beautiful interior design of a display home, and forget to be practical. Always picture yourself actually living in the home, and if you have any furniture, work out whether you are going to be able to bring it with you. Try running through your day-to-day activities and see how the flow of the home works with you.

The Leneva 185 has a seamless flow from the entry right through to the living room. The other bedrooms are all located in a separate wing, perfect for a little bit of privacy. The Leneva is a very popular home, making it one of our favourite home designs for first-time home buyers.

first-time home buyers

Choose something you LOVE!

At the end of the day, you have to love the home you choose. Building a house is a long-term commitment, and if you find there are things you don’t like about it now, you can bet they will only become an even bigger issue down the track. While you may need to make sacrifices, be sure overall you are happy with the design you choose.


What do you think of our perfect designs for first-time home buyers?

Choosing a home loan can be a daunting process as there are many things to consider for not only yourself, but your family.

Choosing the loan that’s best for you can also be difficult and confusing due to the lending industry becoming increasingly competitive and complex in recent years.

When choosing a home loan it’s important to work out the features you need from your loan as there are many different variations when it comes to home loans. The fees and features differ greatly depending on the lender you choose, and this is a vital consideration.

When making the decision of what home loan you will choose, it’s also important to look at the loan as a whole package, not just one aspect of the loan. For example, if a loan has a very low interest rate the fees may work out to be high.


Compare home loans

Do your research. Shop around. Compare different home loans and different lenders.

Asking lenders for a key fact sheet is a valuable tool when comparing home loans. This will give you the most important information.

Types of loans

The most common home loan is a principal and interest loan which involves making regular payments against the amount borrowed, as well as paying off the interest on the loan.

The lender will usually offer different principal and interest loans, with different features included.

Other types of loans include an interest only loan, bridging loan or building/ construction loan.

Rate options

Rate options for your loan can include variable, fixed or split loan.

Variable interest rate – This can go up or down over the life of your loan.

Fixed term interest rate – This rate will remain fixed for a period of time. After this time it will usually revert back to a variable interest rate.

Split loan – This is split into variable and fixed term.

Other features

Other features of your home loan can include having an offset account, redraw facility or a line of credit.

Having an offset account attached to your home loan can be beneficial if you have a substantial amount of money in the account. This amount is taken off the amount you owe on your loan, reducing the interest you will pay over the life of the loan.

A redraw facility enables you to pay extra money off your loan and redraw it later, if needed.

Having a line of credit attached to your home loan means that a specific credit limit is set and you can spend up to that limit. This feature suits people who are disciplined budgeters and who may receive an irregular income.

Having an offset account, redraw facility or a line of credit attached to your home loan can result in a higher interest rate or fees. Therefore it’s important to consider whether these features are a necessity.


For more information on choosing the home loan that’s best for you, contact your local mortgage broker or bank representative.