So you’ve found a builder and negotiated on the home you want, and now they’ve offered you a contract to sign. But what does it all mean?

HomeStart CEO Andrew Mills offers some insight into what to look out for.
Read carefully. Before signing the contract, read it carefully. A contract is a complex document and contains several sets of paperwork including the plans, specifications, Schedule of Finishes and the Engineers Footing Report. A thorough reading will give you a greater understanding of what you’re building, what’s included, and when you can expect it to be ready.
The plans detail work to be performed by the builder and generally show the dimensions of the rooms and the house under construction. They also include the siting or positioning of the house on the block and any site works that must be completed prior to building. Keep in mind that in many cases the builder holds the copyright of the plans, so they remain the property of the builder and must not be used with another builder. 
The specifications detail exactly how the builder is going to perform the building work outlined in the plans. They generally describe and specify the technical aspects of the building materials to be used in the home’s construction. 
The Schedule of Finishes details the exact style, colour, texture and brand of materials and fittings to be used in the home. It’s important that you’re completely familiar with the Schedule of Finishes as it details exactly how the job is going to be finished.
The Engineers Footing Report is another essential requirement of the building process and details the footing sizes, footing layout and thickness of the slab required to support the house. It will also include recommendations as to how storm water should be disposed of. 
If you don’t understand any part of the contract documentation, seek advice from an organisation which can help, such as the Master Builders Association. 

Make sure you’re aware of all your obligations and those of the builder. Any variations to the signed contract will invariably result in increased costs. If you must vary the contract, ensure you obtain a written quote from the builder for the cost of the variation before proceeding.
If you think that you are ready to start the home building journey, contact HomeStart today and take the first step towards getting into your own home, sooner.