If 2020 is the year you’ve made the decision to build your own home, Hotondo Homes wants to help you bring your dream home to life with our $10,000 upgrade collection! Start your building journey with us and choose from one of our four spectacular upgrade packages at absolutely no cost to you. Each package has been created to perfectly complement your new home and make it better than you ever imagined, and we’ve got a quick summary below of each no-cost package to help you choose some beautiful upgrades for your dream home.

Kitchen Upgrade

Kitchen uprgrade
Our kitchen upgrades will have you cooking up a storm for family and friends with top of the line fittings and appliances! With an assortment of upgrades available in each home design range, you’re spoiled for choice. With state-of-the-art ovens, cooktops, rangehoods and dishwashers from Blanco, Omega, and Robinhood, and fittings from Prism, Caroma, Titan, and Clark across our Retreat, Oasis, and Sanctuary home design ranges, you’ll be ready to entertain at a moment’s notice in your new kitchen. You’ll love plating and presenting food to your family and friends on your stunning Essastone benchtops, which are part of each Upgrade Package, with our Oasis and Retreat ranges also including Essastone benchtops in the ensuites to ensure your colour palette is cohesive and consistent throughout your home.

Home Comfort Upgrade

We’ve got some terrific home comfort upgrades that are sure to make your life easier and more comfortable! The B&D wireless door kit includes a B&D Auto Lock, B&D Smart Phone Control Kit, and a B&D Wireless Safety Beam to ensure your family is safe and secure round the clock. There’s also a keyless digital deadbolt and Bluetooth alarm kit from Yale, which also includes installation so you have one less thing on your to-do list before you move in. With a Dowell hinged barrier door and a sliding barrier door, and a Haymes Paints garage floor treatment your garage will be finished and ready to use the day you move in. To keep you cool in summer and warm in winter the Home Comfort Upgrade includes a Fujitsu 7.1kW Split System wall unit, and you’ll be ready to host a housewarming party with your new Everdure by Hester Blumenthal Fusion charcoal BBQ!

Flooring Upgrade

Flooring upgrade
You’ll get up to $10,000 worth of flooring for your new home from Choices Flooring and Beaumont Tiles, with the upgrade package cost able to be used at one business or split across both. So whether you’re looking for beautiful plush carpeting in the bedrooms, warm and welcoming timber or laminate flooring for your high traffic areas, or some statement tiles in your bathrooms, the possibilities are almost endless, and you’ll have a home that looks stylish and sophisticated in each space.

Outdoor Upgrade

Outdoor Upgrade
With the choice of three upgrade packages, you’ll love spending time outside with your family as soon as you move in! Our outdoor upgrade packages include a range of items such as two Outdoors Domain Optimum 2400w radiant heaters Outdoors Domain 4-piece lounge setting, a 9-piece dining setting, 13-piece dining setting, Outdoors Domain Fontana Marianra Pizza Oven with Long Handle Cleaning Brush and Shovel, an Everdure by Hester Blumenthal Fusion charcoal BBQ, and Cabinex to suit Everdure Built in BBQ, plus two power connections, entertaining outdoors all year round will be a breeze!

Building your new home with Hotondo Homes has never been easier, and in 2020 our $10,000 Upgrade Collection gives you a range of no-cost upgrades that will make your new home better than your ever imagined. Head over to the Hotondo Homes website today to find out more about this amazing offer. But hurry, this offer must end on March 28, 2020.

Terms and Conditions apply. Items available in each Upgrade Collection depend on which home design range is chosen.

It might be the end of the year, but we’ve still managed to find time to open some more beautiful display homes! With a focus on designs that are perfect for family lifestyles no matter their stage of life, our displays are versatile, cleverly designed and elegantly styled to appeal to a broad range of tastes. If you’re ready to start your building journey, take a look at these new Hotondo Homes displays to see if one of them is your dream home!

Calva 303

Display home
Built by Hotondo Homes Rochedale, the Calva 303 has entertaining and open-plan living at the heart of its design. This double storey home is a true family entertainment hub, with the ground floor dedicated to everyday living. A private living room greets you upon entry, followed by a beautiful kitchen with spacious walk-in-pantry, a dining area that connects to the alfresco, and an adjacent family space. Head up the sweeping staircase and you’ll find a semi-private study nook, a master suite complete with a walk-through-robe leading to an ensuite, three additional bedrooms, and a rumpus area for the kids. This a traditional family home that suits any streetscape and family size. See more of the Calva on display at Rochedale, QLD, or at our website.

Lorne 297

Display Home
Next door to Hotondo Homes Rochedale’s Calva, you’ll find their Lorne 297! An exquisite display in modern design, this home is suitable for narrow blocks, using a classic double storey design to focus on family living on the ground floor. There’s a large private study at the front of the home, a separate living room, and you’ll then find a generous open-plan kitchen/living/dining area that connects to the alfresco, making indoor/outdoor living a breeze. Upstairs the master suite spans the width of the home with separate his’n’hers walk-in-robes and an ensuite. Three additional bedrooms, plus a rumpus area ensures everyone has a space of their own in this practical and stylish family friendly design. Visit the Lorne at Rochedale, QLD, or take a 3D tour!

Erskine 240

Display Home
Hotondo Homes in Melton recently opened their Erskine 240 display home, which is a clever design that will appeal to families of all sizes. The master suite is located at the front, followed by three additional bedrooms aligned down the right side of the home. There’s a separate living room in the centre of the home perfect for formal entertaining, and the rear of the home features a kitchen with a huge walk-in-pantry behind it, and dining and family spaces situated next to each other. Designed to suit narrow blocks and available in a range of sizes, it’s easy to see why this is one of our most popular designs! Visit this display in Melton South, VIC or our website to see more of the Erskine 240 today.

Hillgrove 267

Display Home
This unique split level home built by Hotondo Homes Greater Port Stephens is ideal for sloping blocks and spans multiple levels. Cleverly zoned to ensure maximum comfort and privacy, this design has the master suite located on the entry level and features a spacious walk-through-robe into the ensuite. The remaining three bedrooms can be found on the lower level and wrap around a versatile rumpus space perfect for teenagers, as well as a large family bathroom and lots of storage space. Travel upstairs and you’ll find a beautifully appointed open-plan kitchen and dining space, with a huge walk-in-pantry. There’s also a balcony connecting to this space allowing for a seamless blend of indoor/outdoor living. This level also features a private study, and a roomy living area. This home is the perfect solution for larger families, and is available in two additional sizes with alternative layouts. Visit this display in person at Raymond Terrace, NSW or take a 3D tour of the Hillgrove 267.

Head over to the Hotondo Homes website today to browse our range of thirty eight superb display homes, where you can take a tour of each one using our 3DExplore tool from the comfort of your own home!

The Australian Government recently announced the introduction of a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to support eligible first home buyers to purchase a home faster. If you’re a first home buyer looking to get your foot in the door of the property market in the new year, we’ve got a quick summary of the Scheme and the eligibility criteria.

What is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme has passed the Senate and is now law, meaning it is expected to start on January 1, 2020 and will be administered by the National House Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). While applications for the Scheme are not open yet, it has been introduced to support eligible first home buyers in a low and middle income bracket with as little as a 5% deposit saved purchase a home sooner. The Scheme is expected to support up to 10,000 loans per financial year, starting from 2020 and will apply to owner-occupied loans on a principal and interest basis. The government guarantee lasts until the homeowner refinances their home loan.

Am I Eligible?

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
Applicants under the Scheme will be subject to eligibility criteria relating to income thresholds. For single purchasers, it’s anticipated that the income threshold will be up to $125,000 per annum, and up to $200,000 combined for couples. These thresholds will be based on applicants’ income from the financial year preceding the financial year the loan is entered into. Applicants much be 18 years of age or older, and all purchasers of the house or land cannot have previously owned an interest in land in Australia which had a residence on it before July 1, 2000.

If you have saved 5% of the purchase price of your property, the government will guarantee the remaining 15% of the deposit. This means that while you still need to borrow the remaining 95% of your home’s purchase price, you won’t need lenders mortgage insurance, which can be a hefty amount on top of your deposit that must come directly from purchasers. This will allow first home buyers to purchase sooner, being able to save just 5% in a much shorter amount of time than having to wait to save the full 20% deposit. When applying for the Scheme, remember it is not available for investment properties, so you must occupy the home as your principal place of residence within twelve months of the construction or purchase of the home, for a minimum period of twelve continuous months.

Property Price Criteria

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
The Scheme will also have property price threshold criteria for each state and territory, which will ensure the scheme is only available for the purchase of modest homes, or the purchase of land and the subsequent construction of a modest home. The property price thresholds will differ depending on the location of the house or land being in either a capital city, or in the rest of the state or territory in a large regional area where the population exceeds 250,000 people. The NHFIC has developed a tool to help first home buyers search for anticipated property price thresholds in the suburbs in which they’re interested in purchasing a home.

If you’re gearing up to purchase your first home, or land to build a home on in the new year, you may be eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to assist you in buying your first home sooner than you thought. Visit the Hotondo Homes website today and browse the First Home Buyers section, where you’ll find a wealth of information to help you through the process of purchasing your first 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 entering into a real estate contract of sale.

Following on from the 2019 Hotondo Homes National Conference in Singapore, we chatted to some of our award-winning builders about what their favourite Hotondo Homes home designs are and why. Here’s what they had to say!

Hotondo Homes Ballarat

Kirkby 267
Hotondo Homes Ballarat, who are our National Professional Builders of the Year two years running love the Kirkby 267. The team there think it’s an amazing home, with a frontage of under 14 metres but still packs a lot of space in with three living areas, and four bedrooms, they told us “it’s the gift that keeps on giving!” They also noted how easy it is to modify this particular floor plan to suit clients’ needs and creating a dream home that people really love. Builders Adrian Willingham and Brenton Simpson also noted having two entries to the alfresco is a bonus, taking your outdoor entertaining to the next level! To find out more about the Kirkby 267, visit our website today.

Hotondo Gympie

Cooloola 208
Chris and Michelle Dodt of Hotondo Gympie, and our Queensland Professional Home Builders of the Year found it hard to narrow things down to just one favourite design! With Gympie being part rural, they find the Lansdowne design in both sizes to be very appealing to clients with rural properties because of its central open-plan indoor/outdoor living areas, as well as separate bedroom areas for parents and kids. The Cooloola 208 has tremendous street appeal, with many clients drawn in to see what’s behind the beautiful facade. Michelle noted that “the flow and feel of this smaller design are genuinely surprising to some, realising a smaller home can still be very functional and spacious in its own way.” See more of our Lansdowne home designs here. If you’d like to learn more about the Cooloola 208, check out the Gympie team’s display home!

Hotondo Homes Jimboomba

Alden 312
Builder Craig Bunning from Hotondo Homes Jimboomba, who took home the award for Commitment to Local Area Marketing, noted that the Omeo 180 is a great entry level home for a first home buyer to help get them into the market. If you’re looking for a larger home, he tells us the Alden 312 is perfect! With large, open-plan kitchen/living/dining areas that open out onto the alfresco, it’s the perfect home for amazing gatherings with family and friends, saying “Could you imagine Christmas in this beautiful home design?!” Take a look at the Omeo 180 today, or learn more about the Alden 312 right here.

Hotondo Southcoast

Glenbrook 187
Adam Sturt from Hotondo Southcoast recently won the Make-A-Wish Australia Overall Achievement Award and says he loves the Glenbrook 187 floorplan at the moment, saying it’s extremely versatile and suits a broad range of families. With four generously sized bedrooms, and an open-plan area that’s the heart of the home it’s ideal for every day living with two points of entry from the alfresco. The kitchen has been designed for practicality with ample bench and storage space, and direct access from the double garage, making coming home a delight for families! Adam tells us that they’ve received great feedback from all who visit their new Glenbrook 187 display, making it a winner!

Hotondo Homes Griffith & Leeton

Erskine 290
Hotondo Homes Griffith and Leeton builder Bill Arnold, our New South Wales Professional Builder of the Year, loves the Erskine 290 because “it truly is the perfect family home!” It’s a design loved by many of their clients because of the open-plan living and dining area. This is also a space that can be modified in the passage area between the family space and the alfresco however you want, to make the space bigger or smaller, they noted. The large master suite’s his ‘n’ hers walk-in-robes are a big draw card for clients, as is the generous butler’s pantry. “How could you not love it!” Bill said, further noting that everyone loves looking at it when they visit the Hotondo Homes website. Visit the website and see why everyone loves the Erskine 290!

Hotondo Homes Dubbo

Erskine 240
Michael Letfallah from Hotondo Homes in Dubbo recently won Most Improved – New Franchise at our national conference, and is also a fan of the Erskine, though he prefers the Erskine 240. “Because of the open-plan family, dining and kitchen all at the back of the house, connecting to the expansive alfresco that blends inside and outside seamlessly, this design really promotes outdoor living,” he told us. “The large separate lounge area and four spacious bedrooms really contribute to the sheer size this design has to offer and it’s a fantastic house for the Central West, which is why it’s my favourite!” See more of the Erskine 240 over at our website today.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these fantastic home designs, or you’d like to speak to a builder in your local area, head over to the Hotondo Homes website today.

Are you a first home buyer ready to purchase your new home? Depending on your state, you may be eligible for a First Home Owners Grant to help you get in to your own home sooner. Many states have recently made changes to the eligibility criteria for their First Home Owner Grants, and we’ve got a quick summary for you below!


In Victoria, there is no stamp duty applicable to purchase under $600,000, giving first home buyers a helping hand buying their first home. For properties priced from $600,000 to $750,000 the stamp duty increases slightly. The Victorian government is also giving farmers some stamp duty relief with a stamp duty concession when they purchase their first farm. Regional Victoria will also see their First Home Owner Grant increased if purchasing a property up to $750,000. These home buyers may qualify for a First Home Owner Grant of $20,000, enabling them to buy their first home sooner.

When buying off the plan in Victoria, stamp duty concessions have also changed. Previously both investors and first home owners only paid stamp duty on the land the property is sitting on. This concession is now only available to purchasers who plan to buy a property off the plan that will serve as their main home, or if they qualify for first home buyer stamp duty concessions.

New South Wales

There are two different options available to first home buyers in New South Wales. To qualify for the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme, the value of the home must not exceed $800,000. Purchasers must move into the property within 12 months of purchase and live there for at least six months. New South Wales also offers a First Home Buyers Grant for new homes. This is available to those buying or building their first home, as long as the home’s value does not exceed $750,000 and it’s a new home no one has lived in before.

First Home Buyer


From July 1, 3019, the First Home Owner Grant has changed in the Australian Capital Territory, and eligible applicants who enter into a transaction with a commencement date on or after this date will not receive the grant. The ACT Government also has the Home Buyer Concession Scheme. For transactions entered into on or before June 30, 2019, the HBCS applies to the purchase of a new home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence, a block of land, or an off the plan purchase agreement. Substantially renovated homes are no longer eligible for the HBCS. From July 1, 2019, home buyers will no longer have to pay any duty, allowing them to purchase their first home sooner. Further eligibility criteria for the HBCS apply, including income threshold tests.


Depending on the date of the purchaser’s contract of sale in Queensland, they are eligible to receive either $15,000 or $20,000 towards buying or building a new house, unit or townhouse. The property and the land it sits on must be valued at less than $750,000 in order for applicants to qualify for the grant. First home buyers purchasing a home that has been substantially renovated (including the land) may also be eligible for the grant as long as the home was renovated before the purchase was made, and has not been lived in since the renovations were complete.

South Australia

First home buyers in South Australia may be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant if they are purchasing or building a new residential property such as a house, flat, unit, townhouse, or apartment. The amounts available vary between $7,000 and $15,000. Unfortunately, the First Home Owner Grant is not available for established homes from July 1, 2014, but purchases of established homes from July 1, 2000 to November 21, 2012 can receive $7,000, while the buyers of homes established between November 22, 2012 and June 30, 2014 can receive $5,000.

First Home Buyer

Western Australia

A $10,000 grant is available to buyers in Western Australia who are purchasing or building a new home, however homes that have been substantially renovated may be eligible if the home is consequently considered a new home. Western Australia also offers a $5,000 boost payment to first home buyers who enter into a contract between January 1 and June 30, 2017 for the construction or purchase of a new home. Construction commencement and completion date terms and conditions apply. This boost payment is also available to owner builders, and purchasers buying off the plan subject to satisfying the eligibility criteria.

Northern Territory

The $10,000 First Home Owner Grant in the Northern Territory is available to those buying or building a new home. The Northern Territory also introduced the BuildBonus in February, 2019 to assist first home buyers building their new home. The $20,000 BuildBonus is only available to the first 600 applications for home buyers who have entered into a contract to build or buy a home, or have started construction as an owner builder on or after February 8, 2019. The Territory home owner discount of $18,601 off stamp duty is also available to first home buyers purchasing an established home, a new home, or land to build a new home in the Northern Territory.

Changes have also been made to the First Home Super Saver Scheme offered by the Australian Taxation Office. These changes apply retrospectively to valid FHSS release requests and contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2018. The FHSS can only be applied to homes purchased in Australia. Buyers no longer have to wait until the first FHSS amount is released to them to sign a contract to purchase or construct their new home. They will also have 12 months from the date a valid release request is made to either sign a contract to purchase or construct a home and notify the ATO within 28 days of signing, or recontribute the assessable FHSS amount (less tax withheld) into your super and notify the ATO within 12 months of the valid release request date.

Each state and territory First Home Owner Grant and bonus payments within Australia are subject to further terms and conditions, and further eligibility criteria, so check with your State Revenue Office to find out more information. The Hotondo Homes website also features a First Home Buyers section with a wealth of information to help you through the process of purchasing your first 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.

When you’re ready to build your new home, choosing a home design that will suit your family throughout many stages of life is the most important choice you’ll make. One of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether you opt for a single or double storey home. Both designs have a number of pros and cons, from lifestyle to budget there are a number of aspects that need to be taken into account. It can be a difficult decision to make, so we’ve got a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages of single and double storey homes designs.

Construction and Living Costs

Double Storey
It’s no secret that double storey homes have a higher construction cost than single storey homes, purely because of the additional storey being built. However, one of the benefits to building a double storey home is that they can often be situated on smaller blocks of land than single storey homes, so while construction costs can be higher, the cost of the land you’re purchasing may actually be less than that of land required for a single storey home.

The cost of heating a cooling will vary between single and double storey homes and is something to consider when choosing a home design. Single storey homes are easier to heat and cool at the same time because each room is on the same level. Double storey homes will have a more varied temperature between floors, meaning you may need to install separate heating and cooling systems on each level, which is an added cost you will need to factor in to your budget at the time of building, and something to consider for your yearly utilities budget.

Use of Space

Double Storey
While single storey homes are obviously smaller than double storey designs, the use of space can be much more efficient. With a family-friendly layout all on one level, you’ll find that every corner of the home is utilised to its full potential with clever study nooks and conveniently placed storage filling the home to ensure no space is left unused. There’s also the benefit of not having a staircase, which means that floorspace isn’t being taken up and rendered an unliveable space, so you can include an additional living room, media room, or extra bedroom. However, because single storey homes often take up more land you may have to compromise on the size of your backyard to allow for a spacious home.

Double storey home designs are often bigger and can offer your family a lot more space not only inside the home, but on your land. These floor plans allow for a clearer separation of living space and bedrooms, often providing a much more generous allowance of space. This means that open-plan kitchen/living/dining areas can be more spacious when the entry level of the home is dedicated to everyday living, and bedrooms can be located upstairs, making them larger because of the additional storey. You might also find your double storey home design allows for additional rooms, such as a private study, or media room, as well as an extra rumpus room upstairs for the kids, giving the entire family enough room to spend time together and comfortably apart when needed.

Family Suitability

Single storey homes are a perfect choice for young families, with home designs that situate everything on one level. Having your kitchen and common family areas located close to the bedrooms you’ll find it much easier to keep an eye on small children in a single storey home. You’ll also find that often the bedrooms are located close to one another, making night time feeds and cuddles a lot easier to manage because there’s less floor to travel to get there. The lack of stairs also removes a safety hazard for little children, giving you peace of mind during the baby and toddler years in your home.

However, if you have children who are heading into their teenage years, you might decide a double storey home is the perfect design for you. As kids get older and want a little more space and privacy, double storey floor plans offer more separation between living spaces and bedrooms. The master suite is often located on the ground floor creating a sanctuary for parents, while the kids’ rooms are upstairs nestled around a rumpus room they can enjoy with their friends. These home designs are often the perfect solution for families looking for additional space for their older children while still maintaining an open-plan living layout downstairs so your family can still spend time together on a daily basis.

While there are many good things about both single and double storey home designs, it’s a decision that needs to be made based on the suitability for your family, your overall lifestyle now and in the future, and your budget. To view our range of flexible single and double storey floor plans, 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.

Now that your new home is built and you’re all settled with your family, it’s the perfect time to focus on the landscape design! With the warmer weather fast approaching, spending time ensuring your home’s garden is beautifully styled for use by the whole family is something you’ll reap the benefits of all year round. Not sure where to start? We’ve got some helpful tips to get you going.

Garden Beds and Plants

Map out and prepare any areas you’d like to use as garden beds, then mark them off with string. You might even like to install raised garden beds with additional soil or wooden tressels to create planter boxes. Garden beds add depth and dimension to your outdoor areas, and provide an opportunity for the addition of colour and shade using different plants and trees. When you’re deciding which plants to use, research what’s suitable for your climate. Drier locations will rely more heavily on drought-resistant plants, while areas with more varied seasonal weather can include different deciduous plants. You might like to include plants that provide fruit or veggies you can use such as citrus trees or smaller vines, or just stick to plants that will add greenery and splashes of colour depending on the time of year.

Special Features

While many families are happy to enjoy gardens with relatively low maintenance designs, think about adding in special features. If you enjoy entertaining or have teenage children, including a paved area with a fire pit or barbecue will be something that can be used most months of the year. If your home design doesn’t include an alfresco, now is the best time to create a beautiful outdoor area with some shade and seating that adjoins directly to your home so you can spend lots of time outside with family and friends relaxing and enjoying meals together as the kids play nearby. You might also like to include a feature wall in your back garden to create a personal touch. A concrete rendered wall, or a bamboo slat wall will make a statement and can be used as the feature area for your entertaining space. Including a large feature plant in the front yard to accent the entryway or the garden will create a more styled look and make your home stand out,

Seeding Grass or Laying Turf?

Spring is the best time of year to seed your front and backyards to grow grass because of the mild temperatures, lack of frost, and spring rain. Laying seed is the less expensive option, but slower to establish because the grass obviously needs time to grow. You’ll need to properly prepare your soil before using a seed spreader to evenly distribute the grass seeds and then gently water it with enough water to get well below the surface. You’ll also have to ensure kids and pets stay off it for a while to allow it to grow. Don’t have time to prep soil and seed your garden? Hiring someone to lay instant turf is the ideal solution. While it’s more costly, the result is immediate and aesthetically pleasing. This option still involves a lot of soil prep, and there also needs to be enough soil laid to allow the turf to take. One of the added benefits of instant turf is that kids and pets can run around on the turf within a few weeks of laying it, meaning it can be enjoyed fairly soon after being laid. Whatever option you choose, regular watering in the morning and evening for at least six weeks is imperative to allow the grass to properly take to the soil.


Installing a fence will really complete the look of your home, and has a number of benefits. A fence will add an element of security and privacy to your home, particularly if you choose to build a higher fence, and will keep pets and small children safely away from passing traffic. A fence will also enhance your home’s street appeal with so many styles to choose from. With options such as timber slat fencing, rendered brick fencing, modern vertical timber fencing and horizontal aluminium fencing you’re spoiled for choice and are sure to find something that complements your home and garden. Remember that some local councils require permits for fence installation, so ensure you check with them before installing your fence.

Creating outdoor spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also suitable for everyday family life will elevate the exterior appearance of your home and provide you with areas that can be enjoyed by family and friends for years to come! For more home design ideas, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

A duplex is a dwelling on one block of land with two separate living quarters and totally separate entrances that can cater for two sets of occupants. Building a duplex can be a great investment for home owners and landlords, so no matter what stage of life you’re in there are so many benefits and potential profits to be had when building a duplex!

First Home Buyers

If you’re a first home buyer looking for your first home, why not consider building a duplex? You’ll have a home to live in on one side, and another home to rent out, creating a stream of income to help you pay off your mortgage, while still enjoying living in your own beautifully built first home. The rental income from the second dwelling will significantly reduce the financial strain and save you the hassle of having roommates in your own home!

The Perfect Investment

Many duplex designs will fit on a narrow block, so you can fit two homes on one piece of land and get double the return. If you’re looking for a great investment property, building a duplex will give you two separate homes in one spot you can rent out or sell, creating a double stream of income. In the future you’ll be able to choose whether to continue renting out each dwelling, or choose to live in one yourself, while still benefitting from the additional income the rental dwelling provides.


Once your kids grow up and move out it can feel like you’re not utilising all the space in your family home anymore, and you may decide it’s time to downsize to a smaller house. Building a duplex will give you enough space to enjoy a contemporary open-plan home to welcome the family and visitors anytime, while providing you with a rental property on the other side to contribute towards your retirement nest egg with additional income you can use later in life.

Multi-Generational Homes

If you have family members who require a little more care and attention but aren’t quite ready for assisted living facilities, a duplex is the perfect alternative! Each family will have their own separate living space, but you’ll be neighbours, so the opportunity to check in daily and help out will be a beneficial convenience for both parties. When help is needed, you’re right there to assist, and with young families living next door to grandparents who are still able to lend a hand with childcare, the burden is eased on working parents.

Building a duplex gives you so many opportunities for additional streams of income, investment properties and family living arrangements. Our new Elwood duplex designs offer the perfect combination of features to enhance every day living! With different floor plans to choose from, there’s an Elwood design to suit every family, need, lifestyle, and budget! The beauty and practicality of the Elwood not only lies in its design, but also in its possibilities with the ability to mix and match any of the Elwood floor plans to create your ideal duplex! Head over to the Hotondo Homes website today to find out more about our duplex design range.

Mel and Chris received the keys to their new Hotondo home, located in Nowra, NSW, in December, 2018. An open, light filled home, it’s perfectly designed for everyday family life and has a warm, welcoming feel as soon as you step through the front door. We spoke to Mel about her experience building with Adam Sturt and the Hotondo Southcoast team, and we also received some insight from Hotondo Southcoast about the build.


The Search for a Builder

Because of the location of Mel and Chris’ land, which is in a flood zone, they thought most builders wouldn’t build for them due to the challenges of the land’s location. After looking at a display home on the South Coast Mel and her husband Chris had actually signed on to build with someone other than Hotondo Homes and were waiting for the tendering process to be finalised. When they finally sat down with the builder to pay their deposit, they were told the price had gone up by a whopping $30k. The builder couldn’t offer any explanation for this, and were quite uncooperative when Mel and Chris asked for an itemised pricing list to try and identify where the huge price increase had come from. They decided to look elsewhere and rang a slew of other builders in the area, but were quoted even higher prices which they found odd since they wanted to build a modest three bedroom home.

Mel rang Hotondo Homes Southcoast and after explaining her situation to the team in the office she was put through to speak to builder Adam Sturt straight away. Mel says, “Adam was very straightforward from our first conversation and said we should come in for a meeting to chat about what we wanted.”


Client Vision

Adam was able to sit down with Mel and Chris and give them an estimate based on their dream home vision, then suggested they meet with their draftsman to finalise the design so he could price it properly for them. Hotondo Southcoast’s quote matched Mel and Chris’ budget and their decision was made. Adam tells us that they showed Mel and Chris a few designs that would suit their blook and the flood zone and they loved the Killalea, which was modified to comply with council requirements. “We looked at the Killalea design, and made a few modifications to suit our requirements,” Mel said. “I really wanted a skillion roof, and having a window over the staircase was really important to me because I don’t like dark passageways and stairs. Adam was able to suggest the perfect placement for the window so that lots of natural light came in. Actually, he was great at suggesting things like the best placements for all the windows!”

A few changes had to be made to meet council requirements because they are in the flood zone, so the ground floor of their home had to be non-inhabitable. “Our ground floor is made up of the garage, laundry, and a storage room that also functions as a play room for our daughter, Ava. The best part is that it’s not visible from the street, which is great!” Adam says “We modified the design to comply with flood zone requirements which included double brickwork downstairs, and used flood compatible materials. We also included a solar system in the build to make it a more energy efficient home.”

Navigating Challenges

Mel tells us that due to their land being classified as a 1 in 100 year flood zone, the floor must be a minimum of 1.6 metres off the ground, which was no problem for Adam and his team to work into the design specifications. “The only issues we had were with the council to be honest,” Mel says. “ Adam and Kayla dealt with all of it and kept us in the loop the whole time, so the communication between us and them was fantastic, even if the news was not so good. They would let us know and also tell us how long it would take to fix as they liaised with the local council. We didn’t have to deal with any of it, which was great.” The local council insisted the home be built with a concrete sub-floor which would have added $25,000 on to the cost. Mel told us that Adam was able to go back to the council with a record of homes in the vicinity that were built with timber joists, and they backed down and allowed Mel and Chris to built their home the same way.


Working With the Team

Mel says that the entire team was wonderful to deal with. “We wanted to do our own flooring, and Adam was happy for us to go in and do that before the kitchen was installed. We also got to do walk throughs anytime we wanted, and our foreman was wonderful. We couldn’t fault them!” Mel and her family were actually renting a home on the same street they were building their home on, and she said it was exciting to walk past the home and see the progress every day. “A lot of the neighbours also commented on how quickly their home was built compared to other ones in the area, and how tidy the job site was throughout the build.”

Adam tells us that the clients wanted a home they could entertain in, which consisted of an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area which would also flow through to a large external deck area. The clients’ colours were selected with the in-house colour consultant, and the home features a modern bathroom with matte black fittings to give it a unique feeling.


Mel, Chris and little Ava got the keys to their new home one week before Christmas in 2018, which was the best Christmas present they could have received! “Everyone said ‘oh, you’ve got your perfect new home, so Christmas is at yours this year!’” When we asked them how they’re going in their Hotondo Home eight months on, Mel said ““Thank god we had a bad experience with the other builder because I would hate to be living in that home now. I love our house! I used to go and stand out the front and stare at our house. People must have thought I was a total weirdo!” Adam and the Hotondo Southcoast team said “Mel and Chris were amazing to work with! They were just so willing to help and so understanding, and they worked with us the whole way with the build.”


Congratulations Mel, Chris and Ava! We know you’ll enjoy making memories in your beautiful home for many years to come and we’re so pleased to hear how much you love living in it as much as Hotondo Southcoast loved building it for you! If you’re looking for a builder to help you bring your dream home vision to life, head over to the Hotondo Homes website today to search for a builder in your area.

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.

When you’re building a new home, so much careful consideration is given to the high traffic areas of the home. Kitchens, living and dining areas, and bedrooms feature heavily as part of every family’s daily routine. But what about the bathroom and ensuite? These rooms were traditionally seen as utilitarian spaces with simple décor that were functional and bland. These days people are putting more thought into how they can design and style their bathrooms to emulate that luxury hotel feel at home. We’ve got some great tips on how you can design a bathroom that oozes style while still being functional for every family member!


An efficient layout is key to any bathroom. Consider how many people will use the main bathroom when you’re building your home, both now and in the future, particularly if you’re thinking about having kids. A family bathroom will need space for people to move around in, whether it’s adults bathing babies and toddlers to tweens and teens fighting over sink and bench space in ten year’s time. Work with your builder to ensure there is enough space to comfortably fit a toilet, bathtub and shower and still have room to move in between each fitting to make it easier for multiple people to use the room simultaneously.

Fixtures and Fittings

Not sure if you should have a bath and a shower? A family bathroom should include a bathtub if possible. This will help parents of young kids bathe them without having to hop in the shower themselves, and allow for numerous kids to be scrubbed clean at once! A bathtub is also beneficial should you decide to sell your home in the future as it’s appealing to prospective buyers to have at least one bathtub in the home. If space is an issue, a shower over a bath will save on floor space while still giving you the option to use both. If your toilet is in the bathroom, installing a wall hung toilet without a visible cistern is helpful because it won’t protrude out into the room as much as a traditional toilet. Frameless shower screens also give the illusion of more space, since the lack of visible framing keeps the line of sight unobstructed, and slimline wall-hung vanities also don’t impose on the floor space, making the room feel bigger.


Most new homes include an ensuite in the master bedroom, giving parents a little more privacy and allowing kids their own space in the family bathroom. Ensuites usually comprise of a toilet, sinks, and a shower, however some are also big enough to allow for a bathtub as well. Including a double vanity in the ensuite means adults can get ready concurrently without feeling too cramped. A generous shower with an inbuilt niche shelf will neatly house any bath and body accessories needed, and the inclusion of a freestanding bathtub will elevate the space and add a spa-like retreat feel for some peace and quiet.


Because bathrooms are wet areas, floor and wall tiles are a must-have in the space. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be bland and boring! With so many tile options available, you have the ability to create a statement with colour and patterns to really make the space pop. Choosing metallic or matte black tapware and sleek basins will add a contemporary feel, and a vanity in a soft neutral colour or natural finish will tie the whole look together. Touches of greenery in the corners will add life to the room, and adding some large windows will invite natural light in to add depth and space to an otherwise compact room.

Bathrooms are one of the most-used rooms in the house, so putting a lot of thought into the design, layout and décor will create a space that will suit your family through many stages of life. With so many beautiful design options available, you’ll be able to work with your builder to create a bathroom and ensuite that’s unique, functional and stylish to elevate a serviceable room into a luxurious five star space! For more building and design ideas, 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.