To build or not to build, that is the question!

blog image

To build or not to build, that is the question!

We have now owned a piece of land in Wanaka for over a year and have been umming and ahhhing as to what we do with it? Shall we build or sell and make some immediate gains in this heated property market. I decided to ask a few friends about their experience with building and one of my friends have provided this very honest view……..

Only 8 weeks out from potentially moving into our house, I feel like my views on things may differ if I was writing this from my verandah with a glass of pinot next to my laptop enjoying the views and feeling the warmth of my underfloor heating in my new home. But I am not. I am sitting in my rental waiting patiently to get it finished!

Architect or Draftsman?

A lot of it came down to price for us as we had a budget and that was our main driver.  You would think this is everyone’s main driver but, in my experience, and discussions with others, budget can be overtaken by the need for the house and to have the best of everything. When every option is there for the pickings it is hard to not pick the best, we have gone with the middle of the road for most items.

When absolutely wanting a bullnose verandah around your little cottage seemed like an easy budget conscious option, only to find out going for something completely out of the normal for Wanaka was actually very expensive – it’s hard to compromise on the one thing you’re not prepared to compromise on.

Home builder or Independent builder?

We went and saw every home builder in Wanaka, we spoke with 3 independent builders and had many in-depth discussions with tradies and people who had built. It became apparent that some companies want to build you the house they want to build.

Finding someone who could see our vision was the key, it came down to who we could see ourselves working with for 8 months amicably and who could actually listened to what we wanted and was able to explain to us the process. Building is hard but extremely rewarding.

Who knew a concrete slab pour was a joyous occasion or windows and doors arriving and being installed could get you to orgasmic heights, the struggle is real but the completion of a task or the arrival of door knobs on time is worth it.

Trades and Suppliers

Man oh man, oh boy this is the key, communicating with the team is what makes or breaks your day, every week, every month. We will be on site next week usually means Thursday 12.30pm! I was watching Grand Designs NZ and this quote stuck with me ‘you can plan and schedule the build as much as you like but if you can’t handle delays, changes, or formulating new ways forward then building is not for you.’

Nothing will go to plan so you need to be flexible and prepared to change direction. My advice is to  please sit down with your partner and agree to ride the waves and make it fun.

My hot tips

1.       After every meeting be it re windows, the builder, the electrician or the plumber, send an email reiterating everything you spoke about because we all take different things away from our discussion and it is really good to make sure you are all on the same page after each meeting.

2.       Book your kitchen design straight away it took us weeks/months to lock in a kitchen joiner but once we found the right one it was amazing.

3.       Read the fine print, pay attention to detail, read everything twice or even three times to be sure. I signed a lot of stuff off that I just assumed was what we had spoken about when it wasn’t and that’s my fault.

Orders, delivery, and expertise

I could not have ordered, coordinated, or chosen the tiles, carpet, paint, handles, frames etc without the knowledge and help of the builders, the trades, the shop assistants the list goes on.

Low stock, long delivery times and Covid all made for hard decisions. The knowledge and opinions of the whole team of legends who were involved in our build has made the process so much better then just walking in and not taking on board their opinions or asking for their advice. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think? What would they choose?

Speak openly about your build to friends, families and anyone who will listen because everyone has so much to offer it takes a team of builders and trades to build a house but it takes a village like Wanaka to build a home. We had a small bar fridge on site full of beers, wine and soft drinks and this was a good reward for a hard days work for our trades and it was well received.

Research, research, research is the key if choosing a carpet or a tap or a handle & check availability, cost and have a backup. For example, when I chose brushed brass because of its beauty and cottage style I did not realise till it was too late that brushed brass tap ware, handles and lights means door handles, shower grates, sink plugs and hinges (a normal chrome hinge is $7 and brushed brass is $27, you live, you learn, gosh damn it)!

So 8 weeks out we just have the painting inside, and all the fittings to be completed. Would I build again I hear you ask? Ask me when I’m sitting on my verandah having a pinot spending my money on a trip to Australia rather than a $27 Brushed Brass hinges.

‘Men at some times are masters of their fates’ Choose wisely my friends and be kind.

Thank you my friend for that view…I’ll update you next month on my decision on to build or not to build!


Get in touch today!