Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tough decision! Sometimes, a home really does find you!

It has been quite a while since my husband and I started looking at building a new home. Being just a couple of minutes drive from home, we used to regularly spend about half an hour or so looking at Clarendon display homes at Parklea.

Looking at the new Crestmead design inspired us a lot and made us wanna get a new home. Explored our options, and ended up putting a non-refundable deposit on a block of land at the Ponds. We thought that was it, we're going to have our dream home built! We had our finance conditionally approved (subject to property valuation), and the deposit ready. To our surprise, the property valuation came back $15000 lower than the purchase price and the bank suggested not to go ahead with it. For obvious reason, we're losing $15000 the moment we sign up to buy it!

We kept looking... found a block at Kellyville ridge, and again, valuation came back $20000 lower this time. Same advise from the homeloan manager. Found another block, at Braemont this time. Again, valuation came back lower - $10000 this time. Same advise from the homeloan manager. The bank reckoned vendors are over pricing because of the first home buyer grant, since we are not first home buyers, we are at the losing end.

Anyway, we've decided to give it a couple of months till we try to find for another block hoping that things will be different then. This time, we found an off-the-plan house and land package at the Ponds. Put a deposit, and waited for the valuation. And yet again failed, this time $30000 lower. Home loan manager advised to try once more, found an existing Eden Brae Madison 40 house at just a few streets away from ours. Loved it! Put a non-refundable .025% deposit and waited patiently for the valuation. This time $35000 lower in value. I was so heart broken, and decided not to look at anymore properties at all!

After about 3 months, my husband and I decided to just drive around Homeworld in Kellyville and saw the beautiful All Worth Homes (Meridian design). We were inspired once more to build our new home and started searching for a new block. This time, we went to a different bank with the help of a trusted broker. I just had this idea of dealing with the same people who helped me with my first and second home, so I rang them all to see if they can assist us in building our new home - with a promise that this is going to be the last one! :) A trusted broker, a trusted real estate agent, a trusted solicitor! We've decided to deal with exact same people!

Finally, with the help of the "trusted real estate agent" we found a block that we really like. Perfect location in the Hills district, overlooking the Blue Mountains. Now it's our "trusted broker's" turn to do his bit. UNCONDITIONAL APPROVAL in 3 weeks!! I should have not thought of looking somewhere else in the first place when I have all these good people around me!

Anyway, now that we have the block, we decided to go back to Homeworld to check on the Meridian House that we liked (loved actually!) but I asked my husband to go check Eden Brae Homes first - besides, we loved the Madison that we almost bought before. We went there and checked if we can fit a Madison house on our block - fits perfectly with triple garage! Loved it! Again, I thought I'd ask my husband to check on those 2 double storey homes they have on display. Liked the entertainer.. but loved the Windsor 46! Ok, on this day we forgot to go back to what we originally went there for (the Allworthhomes Meridian house). We went back to look at Windsor 46 about 4 times, then decided to go back to the Meridian house and see if the "spark" was still there. But it's gone.. :( We went back to Eden Brae, and told the representative to give us a siting of the Windsor 46 instead of the Madison and see if it fits. Yey!!! It does, only 2 garage but! 3 without the eaves, but I love eaves! So yeah, double garage will be ok. :)

We got the fixed price quotation- which is actually just around what we've expected so we've decided to let go of the $750 that we've been holding on to for months! :) Windsor 46 it is! :)


  1. Hi Alana,

    Congratualtions!!! Very exciting times and Windsor 46 that's huge!!! does that have an ensuite in every bedroom? why don't you post your plans up, would love to check out the house.


  2. oh, to add my blog to yours just go into your layout and add a blog list from the gadget

  3. btw, did you already have a construction loan approved before you signed your contract? my husband and i are quite hesitant to sign the contract and give our 5% before at least a conditional approval - we were informed of our borrowing capacity but. i heard that it's just quite normal to sign the contract and give the 5% percent prior to a homeloan conditional approval.. our current house is in the market and we're waiting for it to be sold before we submit our papers to the bank.

    quite a bit complicated for us because we are awaiting settlement for our block.. but anyway, did you already have at least the conditional before signing in? cheers!

  4. Congratulations Alana,

    I agree with you, the Windsor 46 is a great design and I too would love to build it on my block ( already checked and acording to their rep you need an 18m frontage to have the 3rd garage, thankfully I have that ans a little more to spare ). My main issue with EB is that they do not openly provide you with the costings for the additional extras you may wish to purchase. They did a couple of years ago but now that won't even provide you with a price list unless you are willing to sit down and spend hours going through their sales pitch.

    What fascade did you decide to go with? I like the display home but concerned with the extra $20K price tag on top of the $10K they want to charge me for being outside their normal build zone.

    I am really interested in following your build experience as I feel it will give me the insite into what building with EB may be like for me.

    Good Luck and I look forward to keeping an eye on your developments.

  5. Hi Dozer,

    Thank you! I can give you a list of the additional extras if you want, that way you'll have a rough idea of how much you'll need (or want (:) to spend. I don't think I'd be violating any thing if I do that. :) Our rep is pretty good you may want to try him if you leave around the area(Bede Schneiders) he used to be based in homeworld but is now in the ponds. But you mentioned about being "outside their normal build zone" so I'm assuming you don't.

    We are going for the Grange facade, we checked out other existing Windsor homes on other facades but it doesn't look anything like the Windsor from the outside so we decided to go with what they have on the display. I know yeah, it costs about $54000 for the whole Grange facade (including rendering, bagging and painting, and slates) so what we'll be doing is to just render the front bricks ($21000 + approx $7000 partial render). The facade is something that we can't change in the future so we've decided to pick the nicest one and "sacrifice" something - in our case we've decided to "sacrifice" the floor coverings and just do with the standard floor coverings which is actually quite decent anyway, and change it in the future if we want.

    Thanks again! Let me know when you decide to build as well.. :)

  6. p.s. dozer re: 3rd garage.. yeah, that's right 18m frontage for the 3rd garage however you wont have the eaves. that's what we have. we can't have the eaves if we choose to have a 3rd garage.. but i love the eaves :)

  7. Not sure what happened to my previous post...

    Congratulations on your decision to build with Eden Brae, we've just moved into our Windsor 46 and are just loving it! EB were brilliant, I think the most professional builders around!

    I'm looking forward to reading your updates this year.

  8. thanks Angela! :) where abouts did you build? we've been driving pass a newly built windsor 46 to check how a completed one looks like (aside from the display of course), might be your house we're looking at :)

    I agree with you, we've compared it to about 4 other builders and looked at 2 custom builders too.. EB has the closest (at least) finish to the custom builders.

    I'm not sure if I'm allowed legally to post the plans - I'll ask my rep and will post it if it's ok. :)

  9. We built in Strathfield. We chose the Miami facade, with the arched cedar windows, it was the first Windsor that has been built with that facade. Very different from the Grange.

    EB were great with council. Our plans where passed in 7 weeks (which is very unusual for our council).

    We made small changes: we removed the mud room to make a HUGE pantry which backs onto my sewing room (instead of the triple garage), so the entry from the garage is now through the laundry.

    We also increased the media room by 50% (this is now a billiard room/TV Sports room) read.. Boys only ;)

    We removed the balcony off Bed 1 due to council's privacy issues etc, which really did not bother us at all.

    If it's my house you are driving past, you are more than welcome to have a look around :) if you like.

  10. Oh, it's not your house then, cause we drive around Beaumont Hills area :)

    I asked the rep about the Miami facade initially, and during the tender presentation but I thought i wouldn't have my most loved "void" if we choose that facade.. do you still have the void area?

    We are doing the same, we'll be incorporating mudroom into laundry area, relocating laundry door to be adjacent to pantry and entry from garage in the laundry too. we'll also have a stepdown (2 steps)to the kitchen/dining area, instead of filling our block which have a bit of a fall.

    Wow! that's a big media room then! Did you deleted the dining for this? I'd love to see at least photos of your house. :)

    Btw, when you gave your 5% deposit, was your construction loan already approved? we have till june 30 to sort out our loan but hubby on probation till mid may so we're not gonna lodge the application till late april probably (so we can get an approval subject to his probabtion period completion). We were given our borrowing capacity though. We'll give the 5% on 1 March which is prior to applying for the loan. Heard this is just usual.. what do you reckon?

    thanks A! :)

  11. Not sure about the 5% construction deposit thing, sorry.

    Ours was a knockdown-rebuild.

    We still have the dining room and formal sitting area. Our pantry is approx 3m x 3m.. Everyone that comes to visit wants to take my pantry home. It's the best!

    We don't have the void.. but we have a gorgeous library! We increased the height downstairs too.

    I have some photos on my facebook page.

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  13. hi angela,

    not sure how to ask for your facebook id without exposing it on my blog. :) where did you put the library?

  14. Hi again Alanamaree, i've been experimenting with trying to put a url in of my facebook photos but haven't had success.

    We put the library where the void is on the Grange facade. Do you have an email address attached to this blog at all?

  15. your house looks good from the small icon you have on your profile name A!.. the miami facade..

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  17. Thanks for the compliments. :) We are very very happy with the house. We've had people knock on the door asking about the builder.

    The library is where the void is on the Grange facade. (above the front door) On the Miami there is no void, so we have a library where the arched windows are. Good use of space and lovely outlook.

  18. Hi Alana,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I was in the area today so dropped in to Homeworld and actually spoke with a rep who was more helpfull so I now have a full list of the extras costings.

    18m wide fontage does not fit a 3rd garage with the eaves!!!!!!!???????? Ahhhhhh! Do you know the exact measurements needed to fit eaves + the 3rd garage? I have an 18.29 x 38.1m block ( 695.6 Sq Mtrs ) so I hope we can fit in the eaves and the 3rd garage. My plan was to run a 15 mtr lap pool behind the 3rd garage down to beyond the back of the house. May need to rethink things.

    I would really love to know where some other completed Windsor builds are to see some others in person. EB are reluctant to release this info ( I don't blame them. I would not want them passing out my address under the circumstances ).

    By the way, I am looking to build in the Warringah area and they informed me today that they are in the process of withdrawing from this partial build zone due to difficulties with council - Ahhhhhhh again!

  19. I forgot to mention that I was planning to alter the garage roof to build a viewing balcony across all 3 with access from the upstairs family room ( replace a window with a door ) which would give me a view across Chatswood and the city. Spectacular for new years eve etc.

  20. @ dozer: hi! :) missed you by a day! i was there last saturday with my parents and my baby.. was showing them the display home... :)

    that sounds good.. i used to live in chatswood then moved to stanhope gardens when i got married.. :) it's gonna be great when you have that view!

    i'm not sure about the requirement for the eaves though cause it depends on the council.. depends on the setback requirements. at THSC they require 0.9m side set back so the eaves shouldn't be sticking out on my neighbour's fence.. :) if you sign up before the withdrawal happens will still build for you?

  21. Uncertain if they will still build with my council but if the eaves are an issue I will look into the dimentions of the 40 or 42 ( although the 46 is the one I want.

    I have a garage at the front of my current house which has a great view of Chatswood and the city from the roof and council says I can build a further 1.8 mtrs further forward towards the road as per their guidelines so the view will be awsome. A possible option to put a spa on the deck would really take advantage of the view and also some great sunsets.

    Not looking to build for a while as I was made redundant last year so need to get back to a more stable financial position before signing on the dotted line.

    Did you buy a new block or is it a knock down / rebuild? I have been investigating companies who buy your house for the purpose of relocation to another site. If this is a viable option it could save demolition costs and even turn a tidy little profit. Houses like mine ( current house on the block ) seem to sell for relocation at around the 60 - 80K mark - there is the money for the Grange facade and 3rd garage!

    With your front facia, are you able to choose bricks that will match the colour of your render so it will look ok without the full $51K Grange upgrade?

  22. I was just thinking! If you need an 18m frontage to fit in the 3rd garage, you will only need 45cm on one side of the house for the eaves as the other will only have the flat roof of the garage which does not overhang the walls until you get back to the main side wall of the house which will be a couple of mtrs from your boundary.

    Just a thought in case the EB rep mixed up the calculations and added 90cms for both sides of the house.

    Fingers crossed!

  23. Sorry for writing another message but I researched my local planning requirements and you may be interested to see if the exerpt below also related to your council.........

    Fascias, gutters, downpipes, eaves up to 0.675 metre from the
    boundary, masonry chimneys, flues, pipes, or other services
    infrastructure may encroach beyond the side boundary envelope.

    It may be another possible way of getting the extra garage on to your plot.

    Good Luck!

  24. wow! selling the house instead of knocking it down. that's a great option.. couldn't do it on our current house though cause we just built this one 2 years ago.. it is small that's why we are building the windsor.. just actually found out it's only 22 squares :( this is an off the plan one so we just didn't care before.. all we wanted was a house before we got married.. anyway..

    re your q:

    1. Did you buy a new block or is it a knock down / rebuild? - we bought a new block.. it's still under development though and will not be registered till mar-apr 2010.. developer is norwest land.. it's a very good area as well, we'll have a view of the blue mountains.. we originally wanted the Madison 41MKII but to maximise the value of the block view we decided to go for the windsor which has a balcony at the back (main bedroom).. EB said it's not possible to move Madison's balcony so only option is the windsor..

    2. With your front facia, are you able to choose bricks that will match the colour of your render so it will look ok without the full $51K Grange upgrade? - YES.. we can pick from the range.. not sure what bricks in the range looks like though.. but you're right we have to choose something that will match so it will look good on the sides and at the back cause we won't be rendering them (only front)

    thanks for the info.. we might stick with the double garage so we can still have some $$ to use for the landscape.. lol.. i want a small rectangular swimming pool near the alfresco and a bbq area on the other end of the backyard.. :D

  25. hi angela,

    what colour (brand and name) is your render? is it Solver Cork / Solver Crag Grey? we're thinking of having that, but we have to choose nice bricks that will compliment that cause we'll only be doing partial render.


  26. My render is a Colorbond colour called Paperbark.. we chose that because the gutters, rainwater tank and garage door was the same colour.

    We get lots of requests for the colour. I went for a drive in Norwest and knocked on a house that I loved the colour combination.. the ower was more than happy to share the names of the colours he used. :)

  27. thanks! :) I'm thinking of using that colour (or the Solver Crag Grey)for our render.. it looks so pure and elegant.. i hope you don't mind :D

  28. Mind? Of course not! Best of luck with your decision... it's so tricky! :)

  29. thanks.. yeah it's so hard to think of colours there's really no turning back.. :D might not do the entire house render.. it'll cost $25K just for that!!! front house render will only cost $6800 so we might just have to do with that... we just have to pick the bricks that will best compliment the colour of the render..

  30. Thre's also the option of the rough render. It's not as smooth as the other. Like a bagged effect. That was a cheaper option. I'm sure it's on the Entertainer display house.

  31. yeah.. i've asked about that "bagged and paint" thing.. $9000 to bag and paint the whole house.. we'd probably render the front part of the house and pick a bricks that will compliment the colour of the render..