I know it seems to be simple when it comes to what is included in a house and land package, house and land, right? But actually, there are a few traps and tricks behind understanding the term ‘house and land package’ that I want to let you guys in on.
Let’s start by defining the standard house and land package. A house and land package is two separate buying contracts, one for land, one for construction, that are combined together in one process. These are usually supplied from two different entities.
The benefits of this can include:
• The ability to choose your own home design
• Move in with no maintenance, renovations or fixes required
• Rent or move in to a brand new property
• New parks, new shops, new schools all around you
• You know the cost of the finished build upfront
• Made with luxury and space in mind
• Off-the-plan tax deductions
What is included in a house and land package?
A lot of vacant land is selected from a developer with blueprints usually showing the planned layout of the completed surrounding community so you can select what neighbouring environment will suit you best. You also select a builder who will give you a range of home designs and templates to choose from that cover a range of budgets.
Builders and home plans differ so knowing what is and is not included will need to be carefully determined before you commit to buy. Fortunately, terms are usually crystal clear and easy to navigate with models, demos and samples available to help your buying decision.
Standard homes come with windows, doors, electrical, phone and TV points, built-in robes, fully fitted kitchens, fans, fitted bathrooms, stairs and of course, titles.
Additions and upgrade options are many and wide ranging, meaning, you can add personal touches and create a functional space depending on your needs. Extras typically include landscaping, driveways and fencing, all of which may be mandatory, so be sure to read the fine print or ask the sales representative.
Why it’s good to buy
Usually new buildings mean greater energy efficiency and low maintenance. Some builders offer build guarantees on work for certain periods as well, which gives you peace of mind.
Some extras maybe offered as free upgrades to help sweeten the deal so items like carpets, tiling, stainless steel appliances and kitchen benchtops with stone finish may be scooped up as part of the overall deal. This is the most common way for builders to negotiate, unlike established home where you may be able to negotiate on price, for house and land packages you are best to ask for inclusions and add on rather than cost cutting.
Some builders will offer to pay your rent for a certain amount of time or rent to buy so you can afford your deposit more comfortably.
With online business now becoming normal, you may find you have the flexibility to cut the commute and work from home, or work from home a few days a week and head to the office the rest.
Display homes are set up for you to walk through a (albeit top of the range) floor plan and get a feel for what the finished product will be like.
What are the risks?
If you are one of the first in the neighbourhood you might have to put up with some unpleasant vistas of dirt blocks while you wait for the rest of the build, as well as the noise and mess of construction around you. You may also find there are no shops or banks until there are more homes completed too.
Other risks can be travel times. While these houses are stunningly beautiful with all the luxuries to make you feel like royalty, you most likely will be a long way from the CBD, or any form of public transport to get you to the CBD and closer suburbs. Think carefully about the impact long commutes will have on both your energy and finances or, if you are considering a change of job for something more local take into account fewer job opportunities and maybe a salary cut.
Homes are usually maxed to the land size making yards typically small with minimal space between neighbours which can feel cramped and lacking privacy for some people.
Check the dimensions carful before you agree. Builders can extend their profits by thousands by selling low grade finishes and low ceilings. Once built you are stuck with them so be sure you map out and test exactly what you are buying.
As with established homes, the price of the package does not include taxes, registration, stamp duty and your conveyancer costs. Your conveyancer selection is so critical here as you will need someone to liaise with the developer as well as the builder and ensure that all council and regulatory requirements are taken into account.
All utility connections are your responsibility. So you need to take into account the time and money it will take to select and sign on providers and make sure that water, power, gas and the internet are set up and ready by the time you move in.
Maintenance requirements can be strict and may cost money in terms of upkeep of landscaping and property tidiness, which might even be enforced during construction. In some instances, council have issued fines to new landowners for not clearing rubbish, having debris or even weeds on the construction site.
As with any purchase of property make sure you have done the ground work to research everything you can about what your property’s worth and suitability is. Always get a conveyancer on board early to help with the fine print and legal aspects so you don’t get caught out.