Is now a good time to build?

9 January 2023

You might be wondering whether now is a good time to build or renovate. One thing that is clear and that experts agree on, is if you are in a position to do so – now is a good time to build. The product shortages we’ve been experiencing have now stabilised, and because demand for builders has eased off in recent months, there are more builders available to build the homes people want and need. Building and renovation costs are also unlikely to get cheaper in the future.

If you’re considering renovating or building, here are some things you may want to think about.

Planning the home you desire
Planning your new home or renovation is an exciting time, and the rewards can last you a lifetime. Because the planning process does take time, it is better to start this phase sooner rather than later. No matter your project scope, the best outcome lies in good planning. A great first step is to collect ideas and get inspiration – check out the Master Builder Pinterest boards and the House of Year website which showcases the best new homes and renovations across all budgets and categories.

Finding the right builder
Building or renovating a home is often the largest financial commitment a person will take on, so it is important to speak with a number of builders to find one you feel comfortable talking to and can trust, especially during any project challenges that could emerge along the way. It is important to talk to them upfront about potential issues and challenges, and how you will deal with them if they arise, including budget limitations.

It is also a good idea to look for a Master Builder who has completed similar projects to yours. Once you have your builder shortlist you could request to speak to their previous clients and ask about both the good and bad – it’s good to understand how the builder worked with them to overcome issues.

Before you sign a contract
Before signing any contract with a builder, we recommend getting legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in reviewing building contracts.

If you choose a Master Builder, they will have access to a `best practice’ contract which includes a comprehensive payment schedule, allowing you to keep track of all monies paid and ensures you only pay for work that has been completed.

You should also understand what are acceptable levels of workmanship and what are defects. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Guide to Tolerances sets the standard for builders to work to. These standards cover aesthetics rather than issues of non-compliance with the Building Code. You should discuss these with your builder because if you require a higher quality finish than what is set out by MBIE, it may mean additional time and costs, and will need to be covered off in your contract.

Talk openly with your builder about your available budget and ensure the project plan allows contingency for price escalation. Your Master Builder will be able to guide you around product and process alternatives that may be able to help you to reduce costs if required.

Managing your deposit
When you’re at the stage of paying the agreed deposit, it means your project is soon to get underway! A deposit allows the builder to undertake preliminary work, such as developing plans, consents, site set up, or purchasing materials. A good rule of thumb for a deposit should be no more than 10% of the build cost which allows your project to start and protects you as the homeowner. If your builder requests a deposit of more than 10%, discuss this with them, and fully understand why it is needed before signing your contact.

Protecting yourself with a guarantee
While the vast majority of build projects go smoothly, sometimes things can go wrong. Guarantees provide an efficient process to get a resolution during a stressful time and protects your investment when you are building. They’re also increasingly required by most mortgage lenders.

A Master Build 10-year Guarantee can only be offered by a Master Builder and can cover you for loss of deposit, non-completion, workmanship, structural defects, and temporary accommodation during remedial work. It provides the best peace of mind that exists in the market, and costs less than 1% of your build cost.

It’s a good time to build!

Building or renovating your home can be incredibly rewarding. Registered Master Builders have been building beautiful, quality homes that last, for 130 years. We will work with you throughout your building process to ensure you achieve the home of your dreams.