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Home Building Insights

January 2024

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Being prepared is the best way to make the building process as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

Talk to anyone who has built their own home and chances are they'll tell you it's a full-on journey with the most rewarding destination, but as with any adventure, it pays to work with experienced experts and do some research before you begin.

Being prepared is the best way to make the building process as enjoyable and stress free as possible, but if you haven't built before it can be daunting to know where to start.

G.J. Gardner Homes is proud of its reputation as New Zealand's Most Trusted Home Builder and is committed to making each build an enjoyable journey for their clients. We have plans to suit all kinds of families, lifestyles and budgets – or you can work with us to design something from scratch.

Making sure you get exactly what you want is about making sure to ask the right questions (and know what they are!) and making good decisions about who you trust with one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. That means doing your homework and GJ's Home Prep guide is the ideal place to start – no matter where you end up.

Joint Managing Director Grant Porteous and the team have drawn on more than 20 years of experience to create a guide that takes you through a process that includes plans, specifications and quotes, finance, contracts and the paperwork associated with permits and consents. The guide takes you through all the big decisions and considerations.

"Our clients are considered creative controllers," says Porteous. "They get to choose everything, with heaps of help and advice. They want to create their own haven and have control throughout the whole process. Isn't that what we all want?"

Is building a home the right choice for me?

GJ's approach is that if you're in the financial position to buy a home, you can build. In some cases, it may be more affordable to build new, than buy existing.

Other things to consider when determining if building is the right choice for you is your own ability to work alongside experts, listen to their advice, and ensuring that you're prepared to educate yourself around the building process to ensure you have a realistic view and understanding of the outcomes and undertaking.

The importance of choosing a builder

"Can you believe independent research shows many consumers took more time researching the purchase of a new TV – a $1000 item – than a builder they were going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars with?" says Porteous. "The most important part of the new build process is choosing the right builder."

A good builder can help you find land, provide plans and ideas to customise a design and build, and may even have access to preferred financial providers.

Finding the right one is about doing background research, getting testimonials, viewing their construction sites and asking specific questions about the pricing structure. Then when it comes to signing a contract, being very clear about their responsibilities and your expectations.

G.J. Gardner is a network of individual owner-operated businesses, so you get the advantages of dealing with locals, backed up by the resources, buying power and security of national group.


Checking the finances

While size and layout are obvious factors that will affect the cost of a new build, there are hundreds of components that contribute to the overall price including preparing the section, and the materials and fittings used inside. That's why it's important to understand exactly what's covered when you ask for quotes, and whether other costs might be added later.

The G.J. Gardner system ensures that you are provided with precise details of every aspect of your build – detailed plans, comprehensive specifications of all products and materials to be used, and a agreed-price quote for completing the project.

"You can ask my team the same hard questions you'd ask anyone else. We must stack up to your satisfaction," says Porteous.

Your local franchise team can also liaise with your lawyers, your bank and any other advisors to make sure all the paperwork is completed efficiently.


Making decisions and maximising your resources

Building a home requires an alignment of your budget, your wants and your needs. It's likely that compromises will have to be made along the way.

The best way to work out what really matters to you in a design is to write down the most important features you want. Then you can bring your wish list to your builder to develop a brief. The great thing about GJ's range of plans is they can be adapted and modified to suit your tastes without great expense. You get to make design decisions that can include your passions; maybe a sunny hobby room, double showers for a busy family, while also maximising the functionality of your home with features like innovative technology and environmentally-friendly materials.

"We have specials available on a range of homes that have been smartly cost-engineered and have the latest things our clients say are important in a new home. There's a design to fit everyone's needs and all types of sections," says Porteous.

The team at GJ's will also check out your section with you to make sure it's suitable for building the kind of house you want and whether it's achievable within the local council regulations or development covenants.

The ultimate test of the building process is that you are happy on move-in day – and afterwards. A G.J. Gardner franchise will provide a detailed timeline so you are clear about the process right from when the foundations go down and the framing goes up, through to the finishing of the exteriors. Once the last wall has been painted and the final light bulb screwed in, the home undergoes a full inspection by a local Construction Supervisor to make sure it's built to G.J. Gardner's strict standards. It's all part of their commitment to quality, integrity and reliability – which is exactly what you want your home built on.

To discover for yourself why more New Zealanders trust G.J. Gardner to build their homes year after year than any other builder talk to your local team today.