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Take heed, new home buyers! We asked the tough question to nine of our builders right across the country, and here are their responses.
Not including items they wanted in their home during the design stage. In our colours and selections process we encourage clients to reach for the stars and discuss every feature they could possibly want. I’ve met many who have built in the past but regret not having included certain features.
I think some of the biggest mistakes home buyers make is to buy land without understanding the implications of the quality of the soil and any additional site costs that need to be considered and could affect the total budget.
Then, when it comes to the home, many people think bigger is better. This is not necessarily the case. You should be more concerned about the function of the room, so if there is additional space it can be added to areas where it is better utilised. If you like outdoor living, incorporate more space in your alfresco, but if it is cooking you love a plentiful and well-considered kitchen might be the place.
Some may not fairly compare the quality, value or fixed price of one home to another. Quite often you will find you are not comparing apples with apples in the building industry, which is why it is so important to carefully read the contract and inclusions of every home, as well as ask questions!
Working with their budgets. We all like the finer things in life and its absolutely fine to upgrade from the standard inclusions here and there. What I don’t think people take into account is that, on their own, each item is not overly expensive but then when it’s all costed together they can suddenly fall into trouble. At the end of the day, the functionality is the same (for a sink mixer as an example), but the cost can vary widely without it even being a statement piece.
Many home buyers rush through their colour selections or choose a floor plan far too quickly. Take the time to figure out what really works for you, and how you intend on using the space before making these very big decisions.
It would have to be not investing enough time in their electrical plan. When building a home, you should put a large amount of thought into where you need extra power points. Do you require more lighting? Would you like downlights? Have you thought of USB points? These are all extremely important but are often overlooked or not given importance.
The biggest mistake home buyers make is not consulting or taking advice from a builder before purchasing land suitable for their preferred design. Home buyers are often seduced by a cheap block of land which is then really expensive to build on.
Building the biggest house they think they can afford, instead of concentrating on what would be best value long-term. They may still be in that home in 20 years’ time when the children have all left home – although this may be more likely in regional areas than metro.
Not building with Hotondo Homes Mackay.
The easiest way to include additional storage in your home without taking up space is to purchase items that double up as a functional item and as a storage unit.
Below we have listed ways to add additional storage to every room of your home and make the most of the space you have!
The space under your bed: The most obvious solution to add more storage in your bedroom is to utilise the space underneath the bed. While a bed with built-in storage is a great idea, you can also hack your way to a little extra space by using drawers with wheels on them for easy access! Check out this neat tutorial!
The space over your bed: The space above your bed is probably the second most wasted area in the entire bedroom. Look at installing sleek wall units here to keep it from looking too ‘clunky’, and you’ll have more space to store books, clothing or to hide away your mess!
The functional coffee table: Invest in a coffee table that doubles as a storage unit. Alternatively, decorative baskets or cubes can be placed underneath the table to fill the space, and they have the exact same effect.
Create your own mudroom: If you don’t have space for an entire mudroom, why not create your own simplified version? A ‘mudroom bench’ can store your raincoats, shoes, jackets and other outdoor equipment easily and in a convenient location right by the door. Opt for a bench with a high backboard with hooks for your clothing, and a flip-top bench for extra, hidden storage.
Or alternatively… a simple clothes hooks can do the trick if a whole bench is not a realistic option!
A garden bench with hidden storage: Like we said, the best kind of additional storage is those pieces with a dual purpose! A garden bench offers a place for people to relax and enjoy a beautiful summer’s day, and can also be used to hide messy hoses, gardening equipment or shoes.
Wall-mounted clothesline: If you use a clothes horse during winter, you’ll know just how much valuable space is given up for this little beauty. A retractable, indoor clothes line is a great alternative that can easily be folded away when not in use.
Think back: The back of your pantry door is a great space to utilise. You can use pegs to hang baskets or bins from it to store a whole range of items, just be careful of the weight!
Think wall: Got a spare bit of wall available? Why not use it as a place to hang your pots and pans! Install pegs, or try something a little more creative like this.
Need extra room for your makeup, moisturisers, soaps and other miscellaneous items you have stocked up on over the years? Invest in some easy-to-install mounted shelves which could be used over your towel rack, in the corners or your room or even over the mirror! Another alternative is to install hanging baskets from the ceilings, for a slightly more eccentric look!
Do you have any other ways to add storage to you home? Let us know in the comments!
We have listed the top 8 features you may want to reconsider for your home. While these items are great for those with a little extra cash, those working towards a budget (especially first home buyers) can consider excluding these design features to help save on space, money and perhaps even avoid buyer’s remorse!
Unless you require a work office, dedicating an entire room to a study often becomes wasted space. With the clever introduction of a study nook, you can still have a dedicated area for your desktop computer or laptop without sacrificing an entire room. If your floor plan already features a full study, you will also have the added bonus of being able to turn it into another bedroom or living space instead!
Although considered a bit of a luxury, you may find your expansive walk-in-robe is not as expansive as you think! Often walk-in-robes require more floor space in your bedroom without actually offering any more storage. Potentially, a full wall of storage units may be a better option that will serve the same purpose, and you will have more space to utilise elsewhere in your home -you may have to sacrifice your inner-Carrie Bradshaw though!
Island benches in your kitchen look great and remain a popular design feature for the modern home, but can also become another of our unnecessary design features. Not only is there the potential to increase the amount of bench space you have by making it an ‘L’ or ‘U’ shape as opposed to an island, but the sink in the middle can further restrict the amount of cooking and dining space available! Consider the size of your kitchen before committing to an island.
If you are going to include a niche in your home, it needs to serve a functional purpose. Cutting into your walls to accommodate a piece of art can be restrictive when you want to change it in the future, and filling the niche perfectly will be difficult. Niches in your shower for shampoo and conditioner and other such practical applications are the exception!
This is a contentious one, but installing a double vanity can be one of the big unnecessary design features. While they look fantastic, do you and your partner get ready at the exact same time every day? Is it an absolute MUST that you have separate sinks and mirrors? Consider your answer carefully before investing!
Grand staircases are a showstopper, but the amount of wasted space is substantial. You may also miss out on the added benefit of the storage room you normally get underneath.
With lot sizes becoming smaller and smaller, sometimes there is no choice but to give up precious backyard space to accommodate your home. This can be sad as having a decent backyard is something we are seeing less and less of. If possible, try and choose a home design that is going to maximise the amount of space you have in your yard. Ensuring the alfresco is at the back of the home can help give the illusion of more space, or eliminating it completely leaves you with more room and thus more options to create something spectacular!
A home with three living spaces sounds luxurious – but is it practical? If you don’t need that third TV room, consider utilising that space for another means or restructuring the home to reallocate the extra space elsewhere!
Do you think these are all unnecessary design features? Let us know in the comments!
Hotondo asked the question the big design question to nine of our builders from right across the country, and here are their responses!
I am a big fan of the Esplanade 281. The design centres around the kitchen, family and dining areas, and, if you are lucky enough to have views, this design allows you to capture and frame them beautifully. It is a great home for a growing family, with separate living for the kids downstairs, but communal in its design upstairs.
We love the new Willowgrove 332! It features the master bedroom at the rear, has loads of storage with walk-in-robes to three bedrooms, a walk-in-pantry which can be converted to a butler’s pantry, storage in the laundry, a large alfresco PLUS four living areas and a study! It’s the perfect design.
I love homes where you are excited to find out ‘what’s around the corner’. Clever study nooks, tucked up retreats, private spaces to read or watch a movie are all clever uses of space, so I love the new Willowgrove 332! The Kirkby 246 floor plan (below) also deserves an honorary mention. These plans are great because they provide a point of difference to the traditional open-plan style homes of today.
The Kirkby 267! It’s a very suitable plan for indoor/outdoor living which is a must-have feature for many homebuyers, and it remains popular in North Queensland!
The Marcoola 209 – there is plenty of space for an entire family to enjoy. It’s an open-plan ‘modern’ design that encapsulates everything you need in a home.
I have always been a fan on the Stockton 380. It is such a beautiful home that meets the needs of a family with large spacious areas. The mud room is a fantastic area but my favourite is the enormous ensuite, walk-in-robe and retreat areas in the master room.
The Lansdowne 248 is a practical rural design. The bedrooms are spacious and the large alfresco out the back is perfect for the countryside!
The Hume 263 offers multiple living areas, large bedrooms, practical ensuite configuration, mud room from garage, alfresco which can be expanded, powder room, separate toilet to bathroom, open kitchen/dining/family room, large pantry, decent sized porch and study nook, which is great for parents wanting to monitor children. What more do you need?!
My favourite design is the Tarkine 238. It is a large home conveniently shaped to fit on most blocks on the Central Coast due to it’s width. It has a great, practical flow and just seems to make sense. Having the hidden laundry through the pantry is perfect for me. With such a busy lifestyle, to be able to be cooking dinner and throwing a load of washing on at the same time is all too convenient!
Visit hotondo.com.au to view our full range of designs!
Know what you want or need in a loan and shop around. Fixed rates, variable rates, redraw capabilities and the length of the loan are all important factors. Make sure the structure of your loan is right for you straight off the mark – this is a long-term commitment.
Builder quotes can vary by thousands of dollars, so while it may be tempting to go with the cheapest option presented to you, it is important to realise that comparing quotes based purely on monetary value may in fact cost you more in the long run. This is because you are not always comparing apples with apples. Some builders may not provide you with all the expenses upfront, and there are many items that may be inclusive with one builder and non-inclusive with another. It is important to recognise what sort of variations may be affecting your quote including things like labour rates and the quality of the materials. Take the time to understand why your quotes may vary so you know what you are paying for.
Take the time to work out what you can really afford. Many people are excited to buy their first home, but forget the extra fees or underestimate the cost of actually owning one. Find out what kind of fees may be applicable to you including home insurance, stamp duty, moving costs, council rates and transfer fees. Also, be prepared for maintenance costs which will now fall back onto you.
Review your floor plan thoroughly. Work out where your power points and light switches are best positioned, consider the location of your bedrooms to noisy areas like the laundry or living room and always ensure you have plenty of storage.
READ MORE: AVOID COMMON FLOOR PLAN ISSUES
Increasing the standard ceiling height to just 2700mm can instantly offer a more spacious feeling in your home! Highly recommended by almost every builder, it is worth the initial extra cost.
Building a new home offers the opportunity to make massive savings by increasing your energy efficiency. This can be as simple as orientating your home correctly, installing eaves and double-glazed windows and ensuring your insulation is adequate, or you can look at more complex solutions such as solar power or energy-saving appliances. New homes offer new home technologies, so now is your chance to cut down on your energy bills and decrease your carbon footprint!
You can never have too much storage in your home! A clever builder should be able to help you find extra nooks and crannies where you can include additional storage space for your belongings. Finding room for extra storage is highly recommended and your builder will have some great tips on ways to avoid a cluttered home.
It can be very difficult to predict where the future will take you, however it doesn’t hurt to consider possibilities like future pets, children or family. Make sure the home you choose accommodates for future plans too, to get as much out of the home as possible.
Having finally built or found the perfect home, the last thing you want to think about is selling it. However, your home is an investment, and it is important to think about a time where you need to sell it. When searching for your home, consider what other typical home buyers may want and accommodate for this if possible. The location is also extremely important, and while your preferences should be paramount, thinking ahead is important too.
Are we overlooking something? Let us know in the comments below!
They can be spacious too – if you know how to make the most of what you have!
Just because you have less space to work with does not mean your small room cannot look as amazing as a larger counterpart. Many small room ideas involve tricking the eye into making the room appear light, airy and spacious, and work to ideas around scale and perception.
It’s an oldie, but a goldie – use light colours for your walls, furniture and décor to open up the room, and avoid dark colours that tend to make a space cosier. White surfaces reflect light, as do mirrors, so utilise this wherever you can. Large windows will also help enlarge the room because your eye will be drawn out and beyond the home to the great outdoors.
Keep things simple in a small room and let texture and colour guide your choices, rather than pattern. Too many conflicting patterns can create confusion and clutter, which will instantly shrink the perceived size of the room. Stick to bold, full-coloured items, and only use pattern on a small-scale.
A common misconception is small rooms should feature small furniture – this is not the case. Several small pieces can actually make a room appear cluttered and even smaller than what it is! You are far better off selecting one or two larger pieces and filling up the space this way – it will appear grander. Choose sleek pieces without skirted bottoms that allow you to see through to the other side. Be sure to keep furniture such as couches and coffee tables ‘floating’ as well. This means keeping them away from the walls and ensuring a person can comfortably walk past each piece, creating the illusion of more space.
Beds, couches, nooks and crannies are all wasted space in a home. Make the most out of it and repurpose these spaces! Beds with in-built storage underneath are perfect for hiding away mess. Coffee tables and couches are the same. If you don’t have room for your computer, a simple nook with a desk and chair is the perfect alternative! Don’t have a nook? A foldaway desk on a hallway wall is another great option! Finally, built-in shelving can create storage and display areas that won’t intrude into your space. You can also try shallow shelves above doorways and windows.
Small rooms like your laundry offer a world of space, you just don’t know it! Start by stacking your washer and dryer, and invest in new wall cabinetry to claim thi
s newly-found space instead.
How do you save space in your small rooms? Let us know in the comments below!
Visit hotondo.com.au for more
We asked the question to nine of our builders from right across the country, and here are their responses!
Aaron Anstis – Ocean Grove, VIC
A must-have feature of a modern home is a well-considered kitchen and pantry. We spend so much time in and around our kitchens and to consider the locations of sinks, dishwashers, ovens, drawers is critically important. A well-considered kitchen means that you will be able to enjoy the space in an efficient manner, while still maintaining its cosmetic appeal.
Adam Sturt – Nowra, NSW
Large windows throughout the home and an open-plan layout – it is all about creating the illusion of more space! All bathrooms should have modern floor-to-ceiling tiles, of course!
Anthony Wolff – Mackay, QLD
A large alfresco area. It offers the perfect place to unwind every evening and it is a great place for entertaining on the weekends!
Lyndsey Clarke – Central Coast, NSW
Hidden storage. It’s simple, but so necessary. Linen closets are great, but an under stairs storage area or an extra storage room, even just extra cabinets in the pantry or laundry is a must-have in the modern home. To have a brand new home is one thing, but a brand new home with no clutter and where every item has a spot to live is perfect!
Caroline Allen – Inverloch, VIC
Living in the south of Victoria – a drying room! They are relatively easy to incorporate into a space either off the laundry or under a stairwell. During the winter months when you have your home heating on, you can utilise this space to dry your clothes as well!
Glenda Heath – Port Lincoln, SA
Separate toilet to the bathroom is something we need to bring back! I would also definitely say an alfresco area or balcony, depending on your views. Indoor/outdoor living is still very much alive!
Russell Pearse – Ararat, VIC
Double glazing to your windows and other energy efficiency measures can save you a tonne in utility bills. While it may cost more upfront, the long-run benefits are by far worth it.
Amira Willingham – Ballarat, VIC
The must-have feature in the modern home is by far a walk-in-pantry. This allows for a vast amount of storage for not just food, but rarely-used appliances that take up precious room in cupboards such as mixers, breadmakers slow cookers etc. It also allows you to hide the mess!
Gillian Coleman – Bathurst/Orange, NSW
Outdoor living is very important, as is plenty of storage like walk-in-pantries, large walk-in-robes and linen cupboards. You can never have too much storage space!
What is your must-have feature? Let us know in the comments!
The storage space needs to be one that is safe, secure, clean, free from damp, mould and pests, and be manned by a friendly, expert team. With peace of mind all your belongings are safe and sound, you can then focus on the job at hand – building your dream home.
However, it doesn’t matter how safe or secure your storage space is, if your belongings aren’t packed properly they could suffer damage. Not only do you need to know how to pack moving boxes, you also need to understand how to pack the storage space itself so that you can maximise your investment and protect all your household treasures.
Our simple checklist will help you get the most out of your storage space and ensure your goods are in tip top condition when it comes time to move into your brand new Hotondo Home.
Before you even think about storage, we suggest you undertake a thorough spring clean. After all, you pay for both storage and removal services based on the volume of your goods. There’s no point in paying to store items you don’t use or are unlikely to need in the future. Go through your belongings with a fine toothcomb and sort the ‘must-haves’ from the ‘can live withouts’.
Compile an Inventory
Once you’ve decided exactly which items you’re going to keep, make an inventory of everything that’s going into storage. It’s a good idea to have a few copies of this on-hand, including one to leave inside your storage unit once it’s all packed.
Source Storage Quotes
Armed with your inventory, you will be able to contact multiple storage providers to source quotes. Make sure you know exactly what is included in your quote so that you’re comparing apples with apples. Does the quote include pick-up and delivery costs? Does it include insurance? Are there extra charges when it comes to accessing your belongings?
Prepare Whitegoods Properly
All whitegoods (including fridges, freezers, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers) must be completely drained and then cleaned, disinfected and thoroughly dried before they are placed in storage. You should also leave all doors ajar to prevent odor build-up.
Damp or dirty whitegoods are a breeding ground for mould and mildew, so if you want to use your fridge again you really need to make sure know how to store a refrigerator.
Take Note of Items That Can’t Be Stored
There are certain things that just don’t belong in a storage space such as corrosive, poisonous and toxic substances. In addition, anything containing fuel or oil (like lawn mowers), and items like batteries, scuba tanks, aerosol cans, or any kind of pressurised vessels should never be placed in storage.
Pack Your Storage Boxes Like A Pro
Packing moving boxes for storage is an art form. To ensure your treasures survive, we suggest you keep a few essential packing tips in mind.
Check out Kent’s Storage Checklist & Tips for even more tips and tricks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check out Hotondo Homes full range of homes here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
If your job allows you the flexibility to telecommute, or if you’re working as a freelancer from home, you may find yourself needing a home office.
When working from home there needs to be a fine balance where the space is professional enough for you to hold client meetings in, yet relaxed enough so you don’t feel drained and fatigued when entering the room.
Read our tips below to creating a home office that works for you.
Choosing the right colours: Colours can make or break a space. Whether your home office is simply a corner in your bedroom or a fully enclosed room, choosing the right colours is important. Avoid dark shades and instead opt for whites and creams to keep the space looking fresh and clean rather than dark and dingy. Your walls should be painted a positive, light conducting shade, and save the darker colours for your necessary items like a computer, desk or chair.
Let’s talk furniture: If you want to work hard, your furniture needs to have a professional air about it. If you plan to spend a significant amount of time stooped over a computer screen, you may want to look at adjustable chairs so that your neck and back remain in good shape. Invest in a quality desk with plenty of storage and make sure your computer is up-to-date.
Home design: Incorporating a study nook into a home is an increasingly popular trend in home design. If you don’t want to commit to a whole room, a study nook is a great compromise. Alternatively, loft designs offer a flexible space that can easily be converted into a private home office. The Highlander 329 is a loft design with plenty of space to create your own office or studio.
Let there be light: Ventilation is one of the prime considerations in a home office. Ensure that your working area gets plenty of sunlight, and whenever possible work using only natural light. You will feel better for it, plus you may notice a reduction in your electricity bill!
Use space wisely: Assuming that you’re going to have to contend with a small work space, use the space wisely. Avoid clunky furniture like a traditional work table and large work chair. Look at a wall mounted, foldout table and an ergonomic chair. Say no to cupboards and experiment with a basket system for your files and wall-mounted shelves with bookends for books, files and reading material storage. Any display can be wall mounted, instead of being ensconced in cabinets. Check out the Jagera 250, which cleverly converts a bedroom to a study and back again!
Creating a home office that works for you can take time, but hitting the right balance will help ensure productivity and efficiency.
What are some of your tips for creating a home office? Let us know in the comments!
This was a guest post by The Wadhwa Group.
Fear not, you can still have the open and spacious design you have always wanted.
Use some of these tips to trick the senses and help give the illusion your home is larger than what it actually is. (more…)
Furniture placement can be as important to interior design as the colour scheme and accessories you choose.
Arranging your furniture correctly can be the difference between having a cramped and unhappy space to an open and flowing room. Help your home reach its full potential by following these guidelines to proper furniture placement. (more…)