If you’re considering building a home in Australia, visiting display homes is a great way to start your journey. Builders generally construct display homes to showcase their latest designs, features, and quality to prospective customers. These homes are often located in display villages, where model homes by various builders are showcased together.

If you’re planning to build a home from scratch or looking to substantially renovate an existing home, it could be worth planning a visit to some of the display villages in your area, showcasing houses built by various top builders. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the experience:

Research builders and display homes

Before you plan to visit a display village, take some time to research builders in your area and find ones that fit your style, budget, and location preferences. Once you’ve identified some builders you like, check their websites for information on their portfolio of display homes so you can group the nearby sites on a single visit to save time.

Take notes and photos

The aim of visiting display homes is not to get bowled over but to explore the best possible options in design, fixtures and finishes for your home. Remember to bring a notebook or use your phone to take notes on the layouts, features, and finishes you like. You could also take pictures of the aspects you like to help you remember the details.

Remember that display homes give you a first-hand account of the quality you can expect from a builder. Apart from the aesthetics, remember to look at the practical aspects, such as the layout, space utilisation, cupboards, shelves, electricity points, etc. If you like something or need more information, builders typically have sales consultants at display homes to answer your queries and provide more information on the construction process, costs, and customisation options.

Understand costs and inclusions

Display homes usually feature the best quality fittings and features offered by a builder. These upgrades and features may be excluded from the base price. You could check with the sales consultant about the standard inclusions and the cost of any upgrades in the house. Understanding the total cost of the home, along with additional expenses like site preparation, council fees, and stamp duty, will help you set a realistic budget.

Follow up

After visiting display homes, follow up with the builders if you like to get more information on the building process. You can book a consultation and discuss your plans with the builder to get started with the process. Remember to bring your notes and pictures from the display homes you liked to guide the discussion.

Financing your new house

Visiting display homes is a good starting point to kickstart your home construction journey, but you also need to arrange for the finances. A construction loan is a type of loan for those who wish to build their own home rather than purchase an established house. Unlike a traditional mortgage, you can progressively draw the money in instalments throughout the construction process. The interest is only payable on the amount you use, helping you save some money in interest payments.

To apply for a construction loan, apart from your identity documents and income proofs, you’ll also need to provide the approved plans for your new property. Your local council must approve these plans, and your builder or architect will arrange for this. You’ll also need some documents from your builder, including the builder’s contract, property specifications, and relevant insurance policies. You could speak to a mortgage broker to learn more about construction loans and how you could apply for one.

Purchasing a display home

Interestingly, it’s also possible to purchase a display home, but the process of financing a display home can be a little complicated. Builders generally sell display homes with a leaseback contract. It means the builder will sell you the house and rent it from you to continue using it as a display home. The duration of a leaseback contract could range from a few months to up to a couple of years.

If you want to borrow money to purchase a display home, you may need to apply for an investor loan. You can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property’s value with some lenders, provided the leaseback period doesn’t exceed 24 months. Additionally, some lenders may not consider the rental income from the display property while calculating your serviceability for the loan. Speaking to a mortgage broker about the exact requirements for a loan could simplify the application process for you.

By Vidhu Bajaj,
Hashching Content Writer

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