So what comes first? Pick the house design and find land to match, or get a lot of land you love and then find a house to fit. It seems the land first option is a popular one but made absolutely no logical sense to me. What if we secured a lot of land only to realize we can’t fit a house on that includes everything we want, or we spent too much on the land and can’t afford to build anything on it! It’s honestly a really crappy balance to work out. We started looking at display homes to get an idea what is out there. Our heads were in the clouds and pretty sure we couldn’t afford what we were looking at otherwise everyone would be building. We did get an idea of exactly what we liked and didn’t like though.
After a single day of looking, we knew we couldn’t afford enough land to build the majority of the display homes we were looking at. The building companies pretty much all only build medium-large display homes. In a city where land is being subdivided smaller every day it wasn’t all that helpful. So starting over, we researched to make sure we would skip houses that didn’t fit our budget (ie too big, double storey) and then went out to get as many pricelists as possible (and what is included in each price because no two builders offer the same).
Display homes started to all look the same very quickly over the next couple of weekends, and we gathered enough price lists and brochures to represent a small forest. We tried to take note of things we really liked and refined down our list of things we wanted to prioritise.
It took us about a month to narrow it down to the size of land we could afford and we had a shortlist of about 5 single storey houses that ticked most of the boxes for us. Nothing was perfect – I wanted a laundry room big enough for a side by side washer and dryer, Alex wanted a closed in home theatre space…I wanted it to be as far away from the main living areas as possible so I could still have some peace. 4 bedrooms were a must for both of us – we wanted enough space for overseas family to be able to come and stay, plus enough space to turn one of them into a decent sized study for when we work at home. The list went on and on.
We reached an impasse, clearly the final decision was going to be driven by the price of the lot we could secure. We had established that 12.5x30m was going to be the smallest we could go to fit these houses, so it was time to refocus our search for land.