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Things to consider before building a home

Instead of purchasing an existing property some buyers like the idea of buying a stand and building a home to their specifications. While this can be a very fulfilling experience with many benefits, there are a few things that need consideration before undertaking a project like this, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
 
The stand

“A major factor to consider when wanting to build is the stand itself. Ideally, the stand should be easily accessible, as well as being the right size and shape to fulfil your needs. It is best to select a stand that will be easy to build on to avoid the cost of excavating and levelling the ground. Also look at the type of soil on the stand, as clay soil might require the services of an engineering design specialist to ensure that the structures will be stable – this will be a large additional expense,” says Goslett.
 
He notes that before purchasing a stand, buyers should check the title deed to ensure that there are no building or zoning restrictions, as this would impact the type of home they would be able to build. It is also vital that the stand is within a proclaimed township so that the home will have all the essential services, such as electricity, sanitation and water. According to Goslett, transfer of the stand into the buyer’s name will only happen if the stand is on proclaimed land, which means it has been given suburb status.
 
The cost of building

The cost of the build will be determined by a few elements such as the finishes that the buyer decides to use and the shape of the home. A structure that is square in shape will cost less to build than a home with an intricate and complicated design. “Buyers should meet with several builders to establish an average building rate per square metre. This will help the buyer decide on the type of home they want and how big the can afford to build it,” says Goslett. 
 
Look at existing homes and take measurements

Whether it is their current home or that of a friend or family member, buyers interested in building should measure the size of rooms in the home to get an idea of the square meterage they want. “Take the length and breadth of a room and multiply these measurements by each other to get the size of the area in square metres. Do this throughout the home and then add the areas together to get the total size of the floor space. This will be an excellent way to picture the size of home required to meet your needs,” says Goslett.
 
He adds that the thickness of the walls should be taken into account as square metre calculations are generally taken from the outside of the exterior walls of the home.
 
Budgeting

Even with the cost per square metre and size of the home, budgeting can be a bit difficult due to possible unforeseen circumstances that may have an impact on the project cost such as delays in the schedule. Buyers should make provision for an additional 20% more than the original estimated cost of building the home. There are also other features that are not directly linked to the house to consider in the budget, such as the boundary walls, landscaping, a swimming pool and other such features.
 
Homeowners association rules and regulations

If the stand is in an estate or development, there will normally be a prescribed set of building guidelines that the buyer will have to follow. These guidelines will deal with the style of home, the permissible size of the structures and the materials used, to name a few elements. Often a buyer will have to submit their building plans to the homeowner’s association for approval before they can commence with the project.
 
Selecting a contractor

Whether it is building the home from the ground up or adding to an existing structure, selecting the right contractor for the job is imperative to the outcome. Be sure to investigate their artistry and contact references or previous clients to see if they were completely happy with the service they received.
 
“Thorough research may take some time, but going into a building project fully prepared will save both time and money in the long run,” Goslett concludes.


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