Jump to content

New home useful things and must haves?


  • Please log in to reply
65 replies to this topic

#1 CallMeFeral

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:08 PM

Se we're starting out down the long path of trying to build a new home. Likely to go with one of those display home places, and once you are locked in then changes cost heaps, so I'm hoping to factor in EVERYTHING we could possibly need at the earliest stage, but it's so hard given we aren't really at that very detailed stage of the process yet. I can at least ask about the cost of adding these things at this stage.

So... what are your useful things that a house should have but that aren't immediately obvious or usually included?

What are the pitfalls I should beware off?

So far we are going to ask about
- picture rails
- laundry chute
- grey water system
- ventilation fans
- skylights

What other things have you found really useful?

#2 EsmeLennox

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:19 PM

Dishwasher recess ( I know not seems like a ‘nothing’ but it’s a godsend).
Insulation
Double glazed windows.

#3 lizzzard

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:44 PM

extra powerpoints
underfloor heating in the bathroom
security system

a mudroom :p

#4 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 11 June 2019 - 11:09 PM

Insulation - ceiling and wall
Extra power points
LED lighting
Ducted cooling
Double glazed windows
Ensuite door (ridiculous, but yes we had to add one)
Quality appliances- builders selection are usually crappy

I don't think I've seen a modern house with a picture rail?

When you go to the display home ask the salesperson to point out  ALL the upgrades. Usually display homes are massively upgraded.

Edited by FuzzyChocolateToes, 11 June 2019 - 11:11 PM.


#5 UniKitty

Posted 11 June 2019 - 11:26 PM

We are also in the process of planning a KDRB
The things that are 'must haves' for us are the things that can't be changed later. Eg

High ceilings
Passive solar orientation
Wide front door
Plumbing to island bench
Wide eaves
Gas points for heat and BBQ
Wider and longer garage
Built in storage
Powerpoints on internal walls
(Note we are in WA so double brick construction is standard and does influence some of the essentials such as internal powerpoints)

The nice to haves are items that could be added now or upgraded later if costs add up. Eg

LED lighting
Overheads cupboards in kitchen
Stone bench tops
External wall powerpoints

#6 Quick hedgehog

Posted 11 June 2019 - 11:35 PM

Picture rails are a pain when you repaint.

#7 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:58 AM

Just done our kitchen and we are absolutely loving our external motor extractor fan. So quiet.
In laws built and one thing they were really pleased about was having every singke appliance, toilet style, vanity etc listed. The company tried to "swap" items for something similar but inlaws just pulled out the contract and said "no way, that's not what's specified". Stopped some inferior items being installed.

#8 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:20 AM

Double glazed windows
Doors - yes I had to add extra doors to the house
Changes to the plan such as making a theatre room a multi purpose room with a bathroom.
Alfresco
Extra lights
Extra power points
Better carpet
Changes to flooring downstairs
Better fixtures & fittings in bathrooms
Locks on doors
Better tiles in wet areas
Changes to window sizes. Display homes have bigger windows
Changes to included doors
Fittings to the butlers pantry
Changes to included stairs
Feature wall painting
Upgrades to cabling such as USB cables & internet
Exterior light points
Changes to the facades & upgrades to all render or hebel.
A Harry Potter storage room under the stairs
Laundry room upgrades & cabinets
Tap upgrades
Toilet system upgrades
Kitchen upgrades such as feature cabinets & Caesar stone bench tops
Evaporated cooling
Zoned heating

Extras:
Underground power pit 1 phase $4000
Council asset protection permit $4000

Landscaping:
Concreting
Retaining walls
Crazy paving to front porch & alfresco
Leveling of top part of the block & lawn
Garden beds

Extras
Solar panels to roof.
Curtains & blinds

#9 luke's mummu

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:24 AM

I’d LOVE to have a study nook. I agree picture rails are a pain for repainting, and we have pictures/ photos at different heights. So not very useful really

#10 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:29 AM

North facing windows in living areas,

how you orient your house on your block is really important. Don’t be afraid to get a new driveway crossover laid if required, it’s not impossible although they will tell you it is (wish we had done that when we built)

Maximise your backyard.

Double glazing whenever noise might be an issue (like a front bedroom)

Refrigerated heating and cooling (did you know it’s actually one of the cheapest ways to heat your home?)

LOTS of storage. I’d love a walk in linen cupboard. We don’t even have a proper linen cupboard. It’s a pain. Every room need a build in wardrobe.

Powerpoints everywhere. 2 per room, min. Consider cat 5 cable points to every room too, especially study and loungerooms (for networking and internet, both out TVs and game consoles are hard wired to our modem)

Eaves and a good sized porch

Ceiling fans, or at least get the electricians to lay extra cabling for one, take photos of where the cable ends are before they plaster over it (we did this)

Cables for speakers if you want surround sound system (we did this too, just the cables in the walls for later hook up)

Lots of kitchen storage and bench space. Generous fridge hole. Lots of powerpoints. Power point on your island if you have one.

That’s just a few things!

Edited by ~LemonMyrtle~, 12 June 2019 - 08:31 AM.


#11 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:31 AM

Extra insulation. Double story think about insulation between top & bottom floors.

Drainage in the wet areas - can the builder add in a drainage point to the middle of the wet area so excess water can drain?

Look at the drop of your block. Will you need drainage? Connection to storm water.

The soil base your property will sit on will affect the cost of your slab. Mass built houses are quoted on the base price of a slab but this may change after the soil tests have been done.

Do you know what’s under the soil on your block? We found a underground broken storm water tank which had to be removed.

Green over lay? Is there any trees on your block that you will need a permit to remove?

How close will you build to your neighbors? Sun & shading on their blocks?

Extra fences to side & front of house

#12 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:38 AM

Dual use of space - look at the display homes & think of them as a guide only.

Some walk in robes are so large that they could be used as an office, a dressing room or a mums retreat.

I wish I had added a window or 2 to my huge walk in robe. Now it’s just a dark cupboard

#13 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:39 AM

Building over the garage saves land area but gives you extra in house size.

#14 BeachesBaby

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:43 AM

One thing to consider is also installing wiring for things you might want in the future, like a sound system, alarm or video system throughout the house, or tv points in kids’ bedrooms for later. If you put the wiring in now you don’t have to put in the actual system, but if you don’t wire things now it will be a lot harder and more expensive to wire them later.

We’re also preparing to build off the plan, and I’d recommend if you want to make material changes to the floor plan, it’ll likely be cheaper to hire an architect to draft new plans and a builder to go off of those. The volume builders really aren’t equipped to make significant changes (adding/deleting rooms and such, or moving plumbing), and not only will they charge way more to do it, but it will likely extend the time of delivery, since their standard contracts include only what’s on the original plan.

As others mentioned insulation and double paned windows are really important, not only for comfort but also for doing our part to reduce carbon emissions. Solar if you can afford it. And I second getting the brands and exacting details of all items included in the contract, so you can ensure there’s no bait and switch. Good luck!

Edited by BeachesBaby, 12 June 2019 - 08:44 AM.


#15 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:45 AM

BTW my KDRB is the porter Davis Hoffman Villa. Budget for whole build to completion is around $500k but I went for everything.

#16 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:03 AM

plumbing for your fridge cavity so you can have a fridge with ice maker and water dispenser (that’s probably standard in new builds anyway)

this is very “me” centric but two ovens! not one big oven (i don’t think they cook well) but two standard sized ovens.

heaps of bench space and storage in kitchen. built ins of course in all bedrooms.

a flue  in your living area so you can have a flued gas heater.

north facing backyard

with showers in bathrooms get a fixed shower head AND a hand held one (all in the one piece) the hand helds are a PITA for standing under and washing hair etc BUT they are so good for hosing down kids and cleaning the shower.

under shelf lighting in kitchen and laundry (again probably standard in all new builds)

as PP mentioned think carefully about power plug placements.

Edited by Lucrezia Borgia, 12 June 2019 - 09:04 AM.


#17 can'tstayaway

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:19 AM

Sometimes it is cheaper to exclude things and add them later with a separate tradie. Obviously not structural items like high ceilings, insulation, cabling etc but things like hinged doors, painting, the fitout of wardrobes, storage shelving etc.

Re double glazing, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Laminated glass like Solect or Viridian can be as effective as double glazing for heat and sound properties compared to some double glazing and much cheaper. I prefer the laminated glass because it is cheaper and easier to replace if damaged, has better security properties (less likely to be smashed), and better uv properties. Many of the high end volume builders I’ve seen already use laminated glass.

Re lots of north facing windows. Check your particular block of land. I’m in QLD and have found that south facing windows gives a much gentler/softer light in the house. The northern light is too glare-y and hot most of the year. When we lived on the southern side of a hill, the northern light was important to warm the house though.

Where’s the land you’ll be building on?  Check if there are any rules regarding designs that you’re allowed. Some estates have covenants that dictate the look of your front yard. I find that a bit too restrictive even though I understand they’re trying to achieve a cohesive look.

How large is your block?  Why ask for a grey water system?  If you want water for the garden, it would be better to ask for a water tank or the slab poured for the water tank. I’m a keen gardener and don’t like using untreated grey water in my garden. All the soaps, detergents and germs you wash away inside the house just get spewed out in your yard. I dot edible plants around my yard so I’m very conscious of what I put on them.  Many native plants will struggle with the nutrient level of regular household grey water. If it’s for water saving purposes, have the rainwater tank plumbed into your toilet and washing machine. Neither of those, requires potable water to work.

Laundry chute? I know this is a whacky idea but I’m finding it works really well - if you have the space upstairs, have the laundry upstairs. In one of our houses, I found the movement of washing to be a lot of double handling. Most of our laundry is clothing and towels and bed linens. All of that is upstairs in the bedroom area. Having the laundry upstairs has saved so much handling of washing, going up and down and piles of washing baskets accumulating in the living areas. I have airing racks but could install a washing line upstairs on our verandah/balcony. It also means that I don’t need to check the weather for rain before hanging up washing, it doesn’t fade as badly as if it was in full sun all day and no bird droppings or falling leaves from neighboring trees.

Skylights have their place but again, in a well designed and properly oriented house, there shouldn’t be too many dark corners that require skylights.

My biggest tip is to negotiate site visits (some builders don’t allow this), take along a private inspector and sign offs before building is allowed to proceed. Yes, it can delay the project but that would only be due to rectify mistakes that you don’t want to find later. I know a project manager who points out glaring mistakes on worksites that will cause problems down the track but not noticeable in a sparkly new build.

And as a PP has said, document everything. Don’t ever assume anything. Have it down in black and white. Name the brand and model of appliances included. The type of benchtop. The specific colours, name and brand of tiles. It’s not necessarily that the builder wants to take advantage but we’re all human and mistakes can happen. If it’s all written down, it makes rectifying it less emotional and easier.

And give yourself plenty of time. This is a big emotional and financial investment. Don’t rush and compromise.

#18 JuliaD

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:23 AM

We've built twice and there's a number of things I would get a builder to do before handover, and a bunch of stuff we've decided to do ourselves.

Be aware that every time you add something, the builder will charge you cost of product + installation/contractors fees + a builders margin so may end up being better to pay someone separate from the build to do the work after handover.

Things we included as part of our build package:
  • Concreting/pathways around the house;
  • extra power points
  • Upgrades to lighting (if downlight aren't already included), carpets, flooring, splash backs, bench tops, appliances (we went with Smeg appliances as our upgrade, and have not regretted it as I know many who stuck with the cheap builders brand and had to replace dishwashers etc after only a few years!);
  • Bigger water tanks (if you have room);
  • If I had my way again I would possibly include basic landscaping as it's so time consuming to DIY.
Things we didn't include:
  • Landscaping/gardening (although see above)
  • Clothes line
  • Letter box
  • Light fittings for any lights that weren't downlights
  • Curtains/blinds
  • anything else I can't think of that could easily be fitted once we'd moved in (and much more cheaply than the builder would do it!)


#19 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:24 AM

Yeah, you need a laundry chute that also sucks the folded laundry back upstairs! Get it downstairs is less of a problem. Lol.
Are dumbwaiters an option? I’d love one do those for the kids clothes and toys, I’m so sick of walking them back upstairs.

#20 CallMeFeral

Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:53 AM

View Postbubskitkat, on 12 June 2019 - 08:20 AM, said:

Evaporated cooling

Underground power pit 1 phase $4000
Council asset protection permit $4000

What are these? I don't even know!



View Post~LemonMyrtle~, on 12 June 2019 - 08:29 AM, said:

Refrigerated heating and cooling (did you know it’s actually one of the cheapest ways to heat your home?)

Consider cat 5 cable points to every room too

And what are these? So much to learn...

View Postluke, on 12 June 2019 - 08:24 AM, said:

I agree picture rails are a pain for repainting, and we have pictures/ photos at different heights. So not very useful really

We have them at different heights too - just with different length wires from the picture rail.
I guess it's part of living in a house currently that is tiny with zilch storage, but being able to buy a couple of S hooks from bunnings and hang stuff from the walls has been a godsend. We hang all bags (handbags, daycare bags etc) from the walls, we have a hanging shoe rack for the lesser used stuff that there is no room for on the floor shoe rack, hanging noticeboard, we have a big hanging net for the kids toys in their room, and we have hung up coat hooks for jackets in the corridor and inside rooms. At Christmas time we use them to hang lights. All due to the picture rails! Our (tiny) house would be unlivable without them.
I mean hopefully good planning and storage will eliminate lots of those needs, but the flexibility of being able to hang anything anywhere has been such a boon in this house that I wouldn't want to be without it.

#21 CallMeFeral

Posted 12 June 2019 - 11:00 AM

View Postcan, on 12 June 2019 - 10:19 AM, said:

How large is your block?  Why ask for a grey water system?  If you want water for the garden, it would be better to ask for a water tank or the slab poured for the water tank. I’m a keen gardener and don’t like using untreated grey water in my garden. All the soaps, detergents and germs you wash away inside the house just get spewed out in your yard. I dot edible plants around my yard so I’m very conscious of what I put on them.  Many native plants will struggle with the nutrient level of regular household grey water. If it’s for water saving purposes, have the rainwater tank plumbed into your toilet and washing machine. Neither of those, requires potable water to work.

Skylights have their place but again, in a well designed and properly oriented house, there shouldn’t be too many dark corners that require skylights.

Ah, clearly I need to look into the water issue more. Rainwater might make more sense. I just feel like we waste so much potable water that could be used elsewhere (not particularly on the garden, I thought grey water could be used for toilet flush or something). I just want to set up a way to waste less.

We won't have much say about the house orientation because one side is a main road so we want most things to face the other side. That said, that's also the dark side which is handy.

That's an interesting thought re laundry upstairs! I'd never have thought of it, but yeah, that's where most of the laundry will really be coming from.

#22 bubskitkat

Posted 12 June 2019 - 01:44 PM

An underground power pit is where they run your electricity to. The builder then connects to this and runs the lines to the house.

Check with your local council if they require you to pay for an asset protection permit.

#23 Karlee99

Posted 12 June 2019 - 01:49 PM

The only thing I wish I had added was a mudroom/coat room/phone charging area/dump junk area - like a walk in closet I guess that I could close off and not see all the shoes, jackets etc

#24 Crooked Frame

Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:14 PM

View PostKarlee99, on 12 June 2019 - 01:49 PM, said:

The only thing I wish I had added was a mudroom/coat room/phone charging area/dump junk area - like a walk in closet I guess that I could close off and not see all the shoes, jackets etc

Yes SAME, especially with a dog that loves our shoes.

#25 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:18 PM

In a similar vein, just a big laundry with a giant bench is the best. I love my big laundry that isn’t even super giant, but the big bench and sink and storage is fantastic at keeping mess in the one spot. The iron and ironing board are away in a cupboard, there is room for hooks for hats and jackets, all my medicines are up high, cleaning products are locked away. We even have a toilet in there, which is awesome for toddler toilet training disasters, just Strip them and put everything straight in the wash, I’ve even bathed them in my giant laundry sink once or twice. Or if you’re muddy from outside you can pop in for a quick wee and not muddy the whole house.

Edited by ~LemonMyrtle~, 12 June 2019 - 02:19 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

 
 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Viewed Articles

 
Advertisement
 
 
 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.