Bringing your dream home to life is a huge undertaking and can seem a bit overwhelming! In among all the excitement there are big decisions to make and many choices to consider, so it’s natural you will have lots of questions along the way.
At McDonald Jones, we do everything we can to make the process easy for you – after all, we’ve been building beautiful, architecturally designed homes for more than 30 years, and we know how to make your journey as simple and seamless as it can be.
We’ve put together some information on the most common questions we’re asked by home buyers. Hopefully some of these will answer your questions and help you make some decisions.
If you can afford to rent, you can afford a new home! Buy a great value house and land package at Mulberry Grove in Box Hill, Sydney for example with loads of luxury inclusions and a new Finance offer that means you'll have no loan repayments while we build. We make it easy to get started.
While some say buying is more affordable than building new, there are many extra hidden costs when buying an old home.
Buying an established home may turn your life into an episode of The Block, from fixing foundations and painting walls, to adding energy efficient appliances and building materials. Not only is this costly, it’s time consuming and exhausting.
Building new offers flexibility. You can customise your rooms and work on your street appeal. You can spend less on replacements and save on energy bills. Best of all, you can live the life you deserve as you raise your family.
Remember, building a home vs buying a home isn’t just about money, it’s also about time and achieving the outcome that you want.
Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal ownership of a property from one person or entity to another. We partner with MyChoice Conveyancing so you have a quicker and simpler way to secure your dream home.
This varies between council areas, however on average 6 weeks +
Almost all of our homes are ‘slab on ground’ construction. We level the block (for more information, see ‘Cut and Fill’) and then pour a flat concrete slab on top.
However, underneath and inside the slab there is a world of difference from one site to the next, depending on what type of SOIL is on and under the ground. Some blocks of land have very sandy soils, some have a lot of clay, some have rock – the makeup of what’s under the ground has a significant effect on what happens to whatever is built on top of the ground, especially when it rains.
To identify what type of soil is on a block, a bore hole test is conducted. There are two important pieces of information that a bore hole test confirms for us: soil classification and bearing.
You can learn more about this by watching our animated video here
The way soil changes when it comes in contact with moisture is called reactivity. Soils that are sandy and well drained don’t really change when they get wet – they aren’t at all absorbent and the water naturally runs away between the sand particles. However soils that are a mix of sand and clay, or very ‘clayey’ and dense, hold and absorb the moisture.
The wetter they get, the more they swell and expand, and once they dry out again they shrink back down. Because they react to moisture, clay/sand mixtures or clay soils are known as Moderately or Highly reactive – and referred to as M class or H class. Recently, H class has been separated more specifically into H1 and H2.
Determining a soil type is traditionally (and still often) done by sight, but sometimes if the soil looks like it might be on the border between two types (H1 vs H2 for example) the engineer will take a sample back to the laboratory for a ‘shrink swell test’ – a test designed to measure the change in volume of a soil sample in a controlled environment to more accurately classify it.
The reactivity of the site affects how strong the slab will need to be to cope with the constant swelling and shrinking of the soil underneath it – our ‘standard’ slab type (M) needs to have thicker concrete structure to cope with H1 class conditions, and thicker steel reinforcement to cope with H2.
Some other classes that may show up in NSW are Extremely Reactive – requiring specialised engineering assessment or at the other end of the scale Sandy – which although very well drained can be unstable in other ways.
You can learn more about this by watching our animated video here
Due to the heavy weight of houses, the other important consideration when it comes to foundations is weight distribution. Speaking in practical terms, if we build half a house slab on the sand and half a slab on a rock what happens when the sands shift?
Therefore, the home must be founded on an even bearing i.e. the ability of the ground to support equal weight (or pressure) across the entire footprint of the home. This is what piering achieves.
A concrete pier is a column of concrete bored into the ground that holds part of the weight of the house and transfers it to a common ‘strata’ or layer of dirt.
Under the ground dirt is always in layers. Over the course of years and years, the layers build up on top of bedrock, and when our engineer visits the site to complete a bore hole test, they are drilling down into the ground to see what the layers are like under where the house will be built - essentially trying to take a snapshot of the layers under the ground.
To learn more about this topic you can watch our animated video here
BASIX stands for ‘Building and Sustainability Index’ – it’s a NSW energy efficiency rating scheme. Each new home in NSW has to reach a certain level of energy efficiency before it can be built, and BASIX is like a point score system – different parts of your home carry a rating that either gives you points or deducts points… so you add, subtract and add until you get to the right level, and then you get a green tick on a certificate that we send to council or your certifier as part of your approval.
You’ve probably heard that most new homes need a water tank? It’s catching rainwater from the roof of your home and plumbing it back to the house for tasks like flushing and garden watering - that’s really the most influential part of the BASIX scheme that you will notice.
Registered land means (subject to approvals, etc.) your block has been defined and is ready to be built on.
This is land that is part of a sub-division, i.e. a large parcel of land being divided up into individual lots. This land is referred to as unregistered until the developer of the site completes all the work required to create the individual lots. This has to be approved by council and the plans sent to Land Registry Services (previously known as Land and Property Information) for each individual lot to be registered. This can take a while to do and often the contract will specify in a clause that the developer has 12 to 18 months to complete this, with an extension of time clause often included.
If you are a licenced electrician, or own an electrical business, and are considering performing the electrical work on your new home, there are a few things that you need to consider…
Stamp duty is a revenue levied by states on transactions including the sale of property. The amount of stamp duty you pay will vary depending on the value of the property you intend to buy and is determined by your state’s government.