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Tim McIntyre: Choosing A Builder

As if it wasn’t hard enough to know which tradies are a good or bad choice for the job you need doing, word has it that there is currently a tradie shortage in some capital cities, due to the high demand for renovations and new buildings.

This has led to reported price increases of up to 20%, for jobs ranging from landscaping, to carpentry and even just painting.

Some jobs you might be happy to just take what you can get…a kind of “near enough is good enough” approach, but when it comes to building something, you really only get one chance to do it right, unless you have an endless budget (and appetite) for multiple knock down and rebuilds.

Therefore if you are looking to hire a builder to create your dream home, you need to be patient.

It’s imperative to get the right company or individual for the job.

If you want to try something out of left field to attract high quality tradies, you might want to start giving out free bacon and egg rolls, pies or chocolate milk for those who make the effort to come to an initial appointment…but if that’s not your cup of tea (or iced coffee), try visiting display homes in the area or a manageable distance away.

If you see houses or other buildings around that you admire, try to find out who was behind the work.

Get a feel for what local builders are doing and decide what style and features you find most attractive in a home.

Once you know what you want, you should ensure that you ask the right questions.

When you have come across a few builders that you are considering, the onus is then on you to conduct your own due diligence and vet your potential home makers.

First, get online. Read internet reviews and check out property forums to see what other people are saying.

Next, conduct a licence check, usually available on government websites, to ensure the builders being considered are properly licensed and qualified to carry out all necessary works.

Make sure the necessary inclusions are covered. Some builders charge extra for things you might take for granted, like driveways or fences.

Engage a project manager so you don’t have to personally chase up suppliers or labourers.

Project managers have the required experience to deal with a job from go to whoa and will likely be taken more seriously by the service providers involved than they would if you were there every now and again checking in.

Make sure you understand the contract and all the terms and conditions.

If anything is unclear, seek advice before signing. You will want a legal representative to carefully read any documents and flag potential issues.

Finally, unforeseen events can delay a project, so organise somewhere to stay as a back-up in case the property is not ready in time to move in.

You don’t want to find yourself out in the cold because your temporary rental lease ran out while your home build was hampered by rain delays.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and news.com.au

Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.

His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au

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