Category: Building

The Rise of Smart Home Technology: The Future of Living

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In this age of technological advancement, our homes are becoming smarter, more efficient, and more connected than ever before. Incorporating smart home technology into your custom-built home is not just a trend but a step towards embracing the future of living. From enhanced convenience and comfort to increased energy efficiency and security, smart home technology offers a multitude of benefits. This article will explore the possibilities and advantages of integrating smart home features into your new home with ZAC Homes, many of these features are available through our supplier partners at HPM/LeGrand.

Enhanced Convenience and Control:

Imagine controlling your lights, thermostat, security system, and entertainment devices with just a tap on your smartphone or a simple voice command. With smart home technology, you can effortlessly manage and automate various aspects of your home. Whether you want to adjust the temperature, dim the lights, or play your favourite music, smart home devices provide unparalleled convenience and control, allowing you to personalize your living environment to suit your preferences.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability:

Smart home technology can significantly contribute to reducing your environmental footprint. From LeGrand’s MyHome temperature control units that learn your preferences and optimize energy consumption to their Netatmo automated lighting systems that turn off when not in use, these technologies promote energy efficiency and help you save on utility bills. Additionally, monitoring devices can provide real-time data on energy usage, enabling you to make informed decisions about energy conservation.

Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind:

Your custom-built home deserves the highest level of security. Smart home technology offers advanced security features such as smart locks, surveillance cameras, motion sensors and even a smart weather station that can be accessed and utilise voice control. Receive instant alerts on your smartphone in case of any suspicious activity, ensuring the safety of your loved ones and giving you peace of mind, even when you’re away from home.

Integration and Future-Proofing:

When building your custom home, it’s essential to consider future needs and advancements in technology. By incorporating smart home infrastructure during construction, you create a foundation for the seamless integration of new devices and technologies as they emerge. This future-proofing approach ensures that your home remains up-to-date and adaptable to changing technologies, enhancing its value and desirability.

Incorporating smart home technology into your custom-built home is an investment in the future of living. From convenience and energy efficiency to security and integration, smart home features offer a host of benefits that can transform the way you live. Embrace the possibilities and speak with a ZAC Homes sales consultant who can help design a custom home that embraces the power of smart technology, providing you with a connected, comfortable, and sustainable living environment through our supplier partners HPM/LeGrand.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes

With ZAC, you will receive exceptional customer service, and the ZAC Homes team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Changes to the NSW BASIX Scheme

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Changes to the NSW BASIX scheme

The NSW Government has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 to help improve the quality of life for the people of NSW to protect the environment and maintain a strong economy, which means reducing energy consumption in measurable ways.

What are the changes to the BASIX scheme?

  • A minimum standard of compliance with the Building Code of Australia’s energy efficiency requirements is being increased from 6 stars to 7 stars (out of 10).
  • Energy consumption stringency increased, varying with building location and type.
  • There will also be a new provision introduced to calculate and report the embodied emissions of building materials in the building. There is no specific target or benchmark, but information must be reported on the embodied emissions through a new calculator.

The key changes that will impact new builds are:

  • R6.0 Bulk Insulation to all trussed ceilings (excl. Outdoor Areas)
  • Double Glazed Low-e Clear to all windows/sliding doors (excl. Bedrooms & Wet Areas)
  • R2.5 HD Insulation to all external walls including Garage internal walls
  • Use of light roof colours
  • Thermal wall wrap to all external walls

Please note that the key changes noted above is an estimate of the products the homes may need to meet the BASIX requirement. These inclusions are subject to change without notice and will be determined once the BASIX assessment has been completed on the home. Modifications

What will this result in?

  • Cheaper energy bills. You’ll use less electricity so your bills will be cheaper – saving as much as $980 a year on energy bills, according to a NSW Government website
  • More comfortable homes. Your home will be naturally cooler in summer, warmer in winter, which means you won’t be turning the heater or air conditioner on as often.
  • Fewer carbon emissions. This contributes towards our goal of net zero homes by 2050.

How will the changes impact my ZAC Homes project?

You can expect additional costs due to the building components required to meet the standards. These costs will vary depending on the home design, climate zone and location, it will also include other factors like neighbour shading and proximity to other buildings.

How do I beat the BASIX price rise?

If you have yet to engage in the building process with us, you must start the process as soon as possible to ensure your CDC or DA application is lodged and accepted on the Planning Portal with a valid BASIX certificate prior to 1st October 2023.

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about NatHERS, a star rating system that rates the energy efficient of a home based on its design here.

Our experienced team is here to support you at every step of the way, visit one of our Display Homes at Marsden Park or Box Hill to start your home building journey with us!

Ten helpful tips for working with your home builder

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Whether you hire ZAC Homes, or another reputable builder to construct your dream home, you need to develop a good working relationship with the builder, the company and their key personnel. We’ve previously talked about what to look for when choosing your builder which you can read here.

A good builder will help guide you through the building process, set realistic timelines, communicate regularly, and make themselves available to you. But there is still a level of responsibility for you as the home owner to educate yourself and then be realistic about the process.

1. Understand the process

When building a new home there is a process that needs to be followed.

There is a pre-construction phase that includes choosing designs, drawing up plans, approvals, signing contracts, demolition if required, site preparation, and more.

Once you get to the construction phase, the building of your new home will occur in a particular order. There are a number of milestones you will reach in the build process including:

Slab construction

During this crucial first stage, the slab and the foundations are laid, and the site is prepared to have the slab poured. Before any concrete can be poured, the plumbing pipework is also laid, as it sits beneath the slab.

Frame construction

In this stage, you’ll see your new home starting to take shape as the skeleton appears. This stage includes the frame, roof trusses, windows and door frames. You’ll get a good idea of room sizes and layout even at this early stage.

Brickwork and exterior cladding completion

This stage will depend on the choices you have made with exterior finishes. If you’ve chosen brickwork they will be laid, and exterior cladding will be put in place. Before moving inside, the roofing and guttering will be fitted, and this will again depend on the choices you have made previously.

Internal work

The work then moves inside, with the rough-in of the electrical wiring and plumbing before any internal linings are completed. Insulation will also be installed, followed by the wall and ceiling plastic work. The internal fit-out also includes waterproofing and tiling of the wet areas. It is also at this point the carpenters will be on the job to fit any skirting boards, architraves, door jams, doors and even kitchen cabinets.

Lockup is complete when all external doors including the garage door have been fitted.

2. Understand your contract

A building contract is a binding legal document that spells out the rights and responsibilities as agreed between the builder and you. It is essential that you read the contract thoroughly and ensure all elements of the build are understood before signing. If in doubt, ask questions before you sign and have a trusted advisor view it.

3. Discuss expectations at the beginning

Be open and honest with your builder from day one. If you get weeks or months into the building process and start voicing your expectations you might find your hopes do not match the builders’. Speak up at the start of the process so any misunderstandings can be dealt with early on.

4. Let the builder manage the project

If you hire a reputable builder like ZAC Homes you need to trust them to manage the project. Of course, you can ask loads of questions and be involved every step of the way but trust in the building professionals to deliver what they have promised you.

5. Communication

Effective communication is absolutely essential when building a new home. At the start of the build, ask your builder how they plan to communicate with you. If they don’t tell you upfront, ask loads of questions including:

  • What communication channels will be used? ie. email, telephone, text, video call.
  • How often will you make contact?
  • Will you only call me when something goes wrong?
  • Who will be available to answer my queries?
  • How long will the standard turnaround time be to answer queries?

6. Be specific

When you query something during the build process be specific about it. For example, don’t make a vague comment about a lack of communication; name the specific times and dates you expected to receive communication.

7. Be decisive

When you build a new home, you make hundreds of decisions about layout, colours, fittings, and more. With a home builder like ZAC Homes, you make most of those decisions before construction even begins with the expert guidance of our team. But there are times during the build when you may be required to make a quick decision on a variation. The longer you take to make that decision, the more the process will be stalled, so be definite.

8. Be realistic and fair

Building a new home is a complex project even for an experienced home builder. There will be small things that don’t go to plan. There might be a hold-up on the delivery of some key building materials which will slow down the whole project. It might rain for weeks just before your concrete slab is due to be poured. You need to be realistic about the things that can delay the building process and be fair to the builder who is working hard to get your dream home completed.

9. Ask questions

Ask questions of your builder regularly. Building a new home is a huge financial and emotional investment so you need to be comfortable with the building process. By asking questions through the communication channels you agreed from the start, you’ll feel involved in this important event.

10. Organise regular site visits and do the final walk-through

If you’re building a brand new home you won’t have unlimited access to the site for safety reasons, but your builder will arrange regular site visits so you can check on progress. Make sure you attend all those site visits and ask loads of questions. Take some pictures so you track the progress of your new home.

The most important site visit is the final walk-through with the builder where you make sure you’re 100 per cent happy with your new home. You will have plenty of opportunities to sort out any issues that arise, but you want to be content at that final walk-through meeting.

Working with ZAC Homes

When it comes to building a new home, we want your building journey to be as enjoyable as possible. From initial design to receiving the keys to your dream home, our team is on hand to support you every step of the way. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

New home designs for a narrow block

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The supply of land for housing in the greater Sydney region is decreasing, even in the outer-ring suburbs. As a consequence, lot sizes in Sydney have gradually decreased over the past decade. Data from the Urban Development Institute of Australia reveals that greenfield median lot sizes have dropped in Sydney from an average of 520 square metres per block in 2009 to 380 square metres in 2019.

As a consequence, there are more narrow blocks coming onto the market in greenfield locations which is one way to make the land more affordable but it presents some challenges for builders. Established inner suburbs also have narrower blocks because houses were once smaller in urban areas.

At ZAC Homes, we define narrow blocks to be anything less than 12.5 metres wide. For this size land we have a number of home designs that are well suited like the single storey Sienna 20, and the double-storey Solitude 26 and Machu 30, all designed for narrow lots. We also build custom homes and can construct a bespoke home to suit narrow blocks.

Buying a narrow block of land has several advantages and disadvantages but it doesn’t have to stop you from building a new home that suits your lifestyle and budget.

The key to creating your dream home for a narrow block is a clever design incorporating an open plan, high ceilings, loads of natural light, and indoor/outdoor flow.

Pros and cons of a narrow block

Chief amongst the advantages of a narrow block is affordability. Having fewer square metres of land means it costs less, and could be the difference between you building a home you love in an area that you enjoy, or not.

Building on a smaller block can also mean there is less maintenance. Choosing a narrower lot generally means you’ll have a smaller garden which cuts down on your initial landscaping costs as well as the ongoing outlays.

There are some downsides to narrow lots. They can impact the design configurations for your new home, and give you less flexibility. You’ll notice that not all the ZAC Homes designs can fit onto narrow blocks, but there are still many options including custom design.

Parking is a consideration for many families and some narrow lots may mean you have to settle for a single-car garage.

Before you settle for a narrow lot you need to be sure that you can accommodate your lifestyle for you and your family.

Duplex designs for narrow blocks

Well thought out duplex designs enable you to build a dual occupancy home, even if you have a narrow block.

On 1 July 2020, the NSW Government renamed its existing Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code to the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (LRHDC) to reflect the diverse housing choices it provides. The Code applies to all local government areas in NSW.

Under the code, blocks for duplex homes must be either 400 square metres or the minimum lot size required by the council, whichever is greater. As well, blocks need to be a minimum of 15 metres wide, or 12 metres wide where the required car parking is provided at the rear or accessed by a secondary road.

Many ZAC Homes designs fit a 15-metre wide block including the popular Amazon design. But there is also the option of custom design to suit many other size blocks.

Design tricks for narrow block homes

The key to creating your dream home for a narrow block is a clever design incorporating open plan areas, high ceilings, loads of natural light, clever landscaping, and good flow from the indoors to the outdoors.

Open plan

An open plan design ensures the living areas of your new home feel larger and welcoming. By incorporating your kitchen, living room and dining room in one area you create a sense of space that you can’t achieve if these rooms are divided by walls. Plus, an adjoining alfresco area will ensure it is part of the living space as well.

High ceilings

If you can’t go outwards, then go vertical with higher than average ceiling heights. By increasing ceiling heights to 2.7 metres you’ll create a feeling of space. Another design trick to create vertical space is a void above the kitchen, dining or living area to open up your home.

Natural light

Natural light is a key feature in all ZAC Homes designs because it creates a sense of space and openness. Using an open plan design and raising the ceiling heights can increase the amount of natural light that filters through but it can also be achieved through well-placed windows, skylights and glass doors. Natural light will also vary depending on the orientation of your home on your narrow block.

Clever use of space

There are plenty of ways you can cleverly use the smaller space to create a home you’ll love on your narrow block including:

  • Choose a double-storey design to maximise the number of square metres you can build
  • Build underground, a great way to house your garage, wine cellar, or home gym
  • Build as close to the boundary as your council requirements allow
  • Use sliding doors because they take up less room, and minimise your hallway length to cut down on unusable areas
  • Consider multi-purpose rooms that could double as a home office by day, and living space by night
  • Buy furniture that includes storage space.

Indoor/outdoor connection

An alfresco dining area will help with a sense of space and the indoor/outdoor connection but it’s not the only link a narrow lot house can have to the outdoors. Boundary walls with vertical gardens can provide a feeling of bringing the outdoors in with the clever use of large windows.

Custom design with ZAC Homes

At ZAC Homes, we consider custom-designed homes to be those that are designed from scratch to suit the client’s requirements. We call this service ‘Tailored Approach’.

At ZAC Homes if you want full flexibility with the design of your new home then you can work with our experienced in-house designers to craft a design that is perfect for your lifestyle and narrow block.

Our designers will work with you and your family to make your vision for your new home come to life. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Tips for visiting a display village

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Display home villages like the Homeworld Villages in Marsden Park and Box Hill are a great way to see many off-the-plan dwellings in one convenient location. They are also an excellent way to see the build quality and style of homes each builder offers and to have discussions with building companies.

To make the most of a visit to display homes in Sydney or other major cities around the country, you need to prepare beforehand, to ensure you get the most out of your visit and to avoid becoming confused by so many choices.

Homeworld Marsden Park has 83 display homes from 30 builders, and Homeworld Box Hill has 110 homes and 35 builders represented. That number of homes is just too overwhelming to just rock up, and you can’t judge a home by its front exterior alone.

Before you jump in the car do some research and plan your day. Arm yourself with the details of your land, prepare a budget, research the builders, compose some questions, and book appointments.

Prepare beforehand with details of your land and more

Your first step will be to create a checklist of the mandatory features you want your new home to incorporate. Questions you need to answer could include:

  • How many family members will live in the house?
  • Will this change over time?
  • How many bedrooms?
  • How many bathrooms?
  • Do you love casual entertaining, so do you need a large kitchen and living area with al fresco dining?
  • How many cars do you need to fit in your garage?
  • Will you be working from home?

The answers to these types of questions will help you determine what you want your new home to feature.

Once you’ve got that in place you need to gather up as much information as you can about your block of land including its dimensions, gradient, easements, and more.

Prepare a budget

The single most important way to save money while building your new home is to create a realistic budget and stick to it. Your budget may be determined by how much money you can borrow to build your new home, plus any savings you may have.

This will also help you narrow down which builders you should talk to when you visit the display village. Not all builders will have pricing on their websites but with a bit of research, you can determine which ones will be in the ballpark for your budget.

Before you head out the door, you need to know exactly what you can afford and be willing to share this information with prospective builders so you’re not wasting your time or theirs.

It’s not hard to get carried away when looking at the stunning display homes in a display village, but it’s important to be realistic so that you use your time efficiently and avoid disappointment by falling in love with a home that is beyond your budget.

Research builders

With 110 Box Hill display homes, and 83 Marsden Park display homes at Homeworld it’s well beyond anyone’s time or headspace capacity to visit them all.

Well before you visit the villages do some research on the builders that will meet your criteria. As previously mentioned, budget is a major consideration but other factors like home design, size, and areas where they build need to be studied.

You could also do some anecdotal research by talking to family and friends who’ve recently built a new home, look around your area to see which companies are building nearby, and more.

Plan your day and book appointments

The number one tip we share with our customers who are visiting our display homes at Homeworld Box Hill and Homeworld Marsden Park is to limit the number of houses you visit in one day. This number will be determined by the time you have available and the results of your research.

Armed with your shortlist of builders you can plan out your day. If you don’t want to be left waiting around you could also book appointments with building companies. This ensures you definitely get to speak to the builders you have identified and have a good look at their display homes.

On the day, you can also have the flexibility to look through a few extra homes if you have time to spare but by locking in at least some appointments you know you’ll come away from the visit with vital information.

Ask questions, take photos and keep notes

Prepare some questions beforehand and ask each builder the same list of questions to make it easier to compare what they are offering.

Typical questions could include:

  • Is there flexibility in the floor plan, inclusions, facades, and more?
  • What is included in the base price and what are the extra costs?
  • What is your building process?
  • What homes can I fit on my block?

As you visit each home, and sit down and talk to the building companies, take clear notes with the date, building company and design names, and take photos on your phone to go with the notes. It is really easy to mix up the different homes and builders in your head once you get home and start thinking about which ones you liked best. Your notes will allow you to jog your memory and share your thoughts with others.

ZAC Homes display homes

ZAC Homes has two display homes at Homeworld Marsden Park – the Sorrento 24 and the California 32; and three display homes at Homeworld Box Hill – the Echo 31 Mk2, the Gemini 19/21 and the Chara 27.

These display homes provide a good representation of the quality builds from ZAC Homes, but there are many more options that the sales staff at these locations can also discuss.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes

When visiting the display homes with ZAC Homes, speak with our sales team who are experts in the home building process. They can guide you through the initial steps to building your dream home.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How to keep building costs down

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As the cost-of-living increases with higher interest rates and inflationary pressures, it’s more important than ever to keep a lid on building costs, even if you’re building your dream home. You also don’t want to overcapitalise your building project. The good news is that with the right advice you can keep building costs down but still get a house you’ll be proud to call home.

There are many ways you can save money and a professional building company like ZAC Homes can help with the right advice. Ideas that we often share with our customers include choosing a standard design, creating a budget and sticking to it, locking in the price at the start, understanding inclusions and minimising upgrades, and taking advantage of promotions.

Picking a standard design and not making changes

At ZAC Homes, we divide our services into four distinct types:

  • Fast Track – off-the-plan design
  • My Style – modify an existing design
  • Tailored approach – custom design with complete flexibility
  • Zac By Design – the ultimate luxury home building experience

With Fast Track, you choose an off-the-plan design, with no changes. It’s the fastest path to tender with the quickest turnaround times.

There are several advantages but the most attractive is the affordability. ZAC’s Fast Track homes feature standard designs, and with the volume of homes built, we can achieve lower prices for bulk purchasing of materials and labour.

It’s also great to see exactly how your home will look by visiting a display home like ZAC Homes displays at Marsden Park and Box Hill. You and your family can see the dimensions and layout of a floor plan and gauge how it matches your lifestyle. You can also inspect the workmanship and quality of finishes, and touch, test and inspect all aspects of your new home.

You can still add an individual touch to your new home with fixtures and finishes, as well as being able to choose from the many designs and facades offered.

Creating a budget and sticking to it

The single most important way to save money while building your new home is to create a realistic budget and stick to it.

Your budget may be determined by how much money you can borrow to build your new home, plus any savings you may have. Once you’ve established how much you can afford you can start researching your options.

If you change your mind in the middle of the building process, it will cost you extra money so stick to your plans and you can’t go wrong. Keep all your paperwork including receipts so you can track your expenditure throughout the build.

Locking in the price as soon as possible

Building companies have different approaches to pricing their jobs, but if you want to lock in a price before you start building then you need to ask for a fixed price tender and then sign a contract that locks in the price.

Before signing make sure the contract really does include everything to complete your home.

And ask lots of questions about the process the builder will be following once you’ve signed the contract.

Knowing what’s in your inclusions and having a budget for upgrades

Most volume builders will have different levels of inclusion which are packaged together to make it easier to choose. Most homes will come with standard fittings, fixtures and appliances built into the price. At ZAC Homes, each of our home designs comes with our Opulence Inclusions, site costs and BASIX as standard.

There might be some things you’d like to upgrade by choosing a higher level of inclusions like benchtops, bathroom ware and tiles, light fittings, flooring and more. But every time you choose a more expensive inclusion the price will go up, so focus on the things that matter most to you.

For example, the ZAC Homes Opulence Plus inclusions package includes stone benchtops for your kitchen and bathrooms, 900 mm appliances and items such as 2,590 mm raised ceiling heights. While our Opulence Grand inclusions has luxury kitchen and bathroom upgrades as well as higher quality finishes throughout the home.

Making the most of promotions

Volume buildings will run promotions from time to time that will help you save money so keep an eye out and take advantage of any offers. But don’t be lured in by an offer that appears to be too good to be true. Make sure the builder is reputable and is transparent about the total cost of your new home.

At ZAC Homes we’re currently running two promotions – a $20,000 Cash Discount and Free Solar Package. Both of these are for a limited time only and several Terms & Conditions apply to each.

Build a new home on budget with ZAC Homes

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How to add that wow factor to your custom-built dream home

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Homes with a wow factor contain elements that are evocative, inspiring, and even surprising. What gives a home a wow factor? That’s a very difficult question to answer because one person’s wow factor is another person’s flop.

It also depends on your motivation for creating a wow factor. If you’re doing it to impress your visitors, rather than to please yourself you’ll likely take a different approach.

At ZAC Homes we see the wow factor as the unexpected, the thought-provoking ideas that push the boundaries of convention and embrace the freedoms of individuality.

The good news is that creating a wow factor in your new home can be inexpensive. You just need to be creative and imaginative.

It could be created through your choice of building materials like flooring, a feature like a fireplace or artwork, an outlook through a window or door, or even something functional like home automation.

Where to generate ideas

There are so many places to look for inspiration.

Before you get started, think about the overall style of your home, or the style you would like to achieve, because if you want your wow item to stand out you need to know where your predominant style lies.

Start with Internet searches of other homes, and visit the social site Pinterest which has a plethora of design ideas. And don’t overlook interior design magazines which you can buy or borrow from your local library, as well as books on the subject of home design.

Visit open houses to see how other people inject the wow factor, and watch TV programs where houses are spruced up for sale.

If you like to travel, you’ll see plenty of inspiration in exotic locations around the world or even closer to home. Your wow factor might even be created by purchasing a key item of artwork, statuary, furniture, or similar while you’re in a far-flung land.

You don’t have to go too far to gather ideas. You can also find inspiration in nature which could be right outside your back door or in a nearby nature reserve.

And if none of that gets your creative juices flowing you can consult a professional. At ZAC Homes we have our own inspiration on hand with Studio ZAC. It’s our colour studio for ZAC customers, to help them choose the finishes and fixtures to customise their homes, with the guidance of our experienced team. And our team is great at adding the wow factor.

How to stand out from the crowd

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd when designing your new home. The most obvious direction is to create a custom home where you start from scratch with your design.

Custom elements that can help create a wow factor are a grand entrance, a large luxurious master suite, large windows with a spectacular view, or high ceilings with a void above. There is a myriad of elements you can add to a custom-designed home. The trick is to have only a few wow factors in your home because they become less surprising or evocative if you overdo it.

But you don’t have to have a big building budget to create a wow factor. Special elements like statement lighting can be the item in just about any room in the house.

Interior elements like artwork, furniture, soft furnishings, or even paint colour can create a wow moment for you and your guests. Ideally, you want a statement item that is unique or unusual and that’s where your travels come in handy, but it might also be something you find in a second-hand store.

Adding the wow factor that will fit your lifestyle requirements

There is little point in adding a feature to your home if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, even if it makes your visitors gasp. Like a fireplace, if you live in a tropical zone, or a very large master suite when you have to make all the other bedrooms tiny to accommodate it.

You might also love the idea of an indoor water feature, but you have small children. Obviously, the two are incompatible.

At ZAC Homes, when we guide our clients with their design requirements, we ask all the right questions to help you understand your requirements that will suit your lifestyle now, and your lifestyle as it changes over time. This is particularly important if you’re planning to stay in your brand new home for many years to come.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes with a wow factor

At ZAC Homes you will receive exceptional customer service and help to identify your wow factor. Our team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How to budget to build a new home

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One of the first key steps you need to undertake when building a new home is preparing a budget. How you go about this will depend on your particular situation.

The first way to set your budget is to estimate the maximum you can afford by looking at your current finances, future earnings, borrowing capacity, and more.

Or you may be in a comfortable financial situation where you can identify the attributes of your dream home and then calculate how much it will cost you to build.

Either way, you never want to start a building project without knowing the costs involved.

Should you look at house designs first or buy the land first?

The typical way that most would-be homeowners choose for their new building project is to buy the land first and then choose a building design. Recently, at ZAC Homes we’re seeing more customers looking through our display homes at Marsden Park and Box Hill before they’ve secured a site.

There are no rules that dictate in which order you undertake a home building project, but it can be difficult to make a firm selection until you know the land size, aspect, block slope, and more.

However, by looking at home designs and talking to a builder like ZAC Homes you can identify a preferred design look and inclusion level and receive a price estimate to include in your budget.

Then once you’ve acquired land you can return and determine which homes will fit on your block.

What are the different building options?

Once you’ve determined a rough budget for your build you can start considering your options.

The fastest option for most people is usually a project home, and some people like the ease of this route. You choose the standard home designs you like best, and you make minimal changes to it.

On the other end of the scale is hiring an architect and a builder. This is typically the most expensive option but also usually is the one with the most flexibility to create a unique design.

Ultimately you need to decide on a ballpark cost and identify your requirements. The option you choose will determine how many items you need to include in your budget.

Project home

Project homes are designed to make the building process easier for customers, with a range of off-the-shelf designs. They are generally good value for money but may not suit your block or your lifestyle perfectly.

On the plus side, it is much easier to estimate the budget particularly if you opt for a house and land package where you have just one final price. There will still be other parts of your budget to consider like loan costs, insurance, interest repayments, and items that aren’t included like landscaping.

At ZAC Homes, we call this Fast track where you choose an off-the-plan design, with minimal changes. It’s the fastest path to tender with the quickest turnaround times.

Architect and builder

If you choose to go with an architect and builder, you will have a design that is a one-off that is tailored to suit your site and your brief. This gives you and your family unlimited choice of style or aesthetic expression.

You will also have a home that is designed to optimise your site’s orientation to the sun, capitalise on views and enhance privacy. Architects are also skilled at incorporating specific requirements such as environmentally friendly design. On the flip side, it is the most expensive option, involves a lot more involvement from you and will likely take the longest to complete.

For this option, you’ll need to budget for the architect’s design fees, changes, supervision and more. You’ll also need to include land costs which means the purchase of the land as well as any site preparation costs and demolition. The next step is approvals which has several costs associated and then there are the building costs.

A competent builder should be able to provide a fixed price for your build, so you don’t need to break it down. However, you will also have to factor in landscaping, driveways, paving, outdoor areas, and fencing.

Custom builder

There is, however, a third option which involves hiring a building company like ZAC Homes to create a custom home. In this case, the design and build are part of the same package and handled by an expert team with nearly 30 years’ building experience.

It is a good way to know what the final costs will be from the start while building a new home designed specifically for your site and needs. This method will also save time and money compared to the architect and builder option.

If you’re demolishing your existing home, you’ll also need to include demolition and site preparation costs. For a lot of builders, this process is handled by an external company that you will have to organise. With ZAC Homes though, this process is handled by our specialised team and will be included in the quote.

The custom home option with ZAC Homes gives you the flexibility and uniqueness of an architecturally designed home, with the efficiency and experience if a project home builder.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes

At ZAC Homes you will receive exceptional customer service, and our team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

What is a custom-designed home?

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A ZAC Homes house that is custom designed

In the world of home building, custom design is a term that some in the industry use to describe just about any home with a minor adjustment to the standard designs on offer. In truth, the words custom design mean that something is a unique design, a one-off, that is different from anything else available.

However, in reality when building homes, we usually borrow from existing designs and ideas. This occurs even if you use an architect to design your dream home.

At ZAC Homes, we consider custom designed homes to be those that are designed from scratch to suit the client’s requirements. We call this service ‘Tailored Approach’.

We also consider our ‘My Style’ service, where we use our existing designs and modify them to suit your requirements to be customised too. This includes elements of custom and off-the-shelf design and can save time and money. The great part about building a new home is you have many choices, and you decide how much ‘custom design’ you want to apply to your dream home. Here is an outline of some of your options:

Should I hire an architect?

Bespoke homes built by architects are highly sought-after due to their uniqueness. Highly-trained architects put together drawings, plans and renderings of your project. Some will also help with budgets, council approvals, hiring consultants, and even supervising the build. But you’ll also need to hire a builder.

When hiring an architect, you need to do research into their past projects and experience and understand their design style. If you’re looking to build a bespoke home, with experimental or difficult design features or fittings, it may be best for you to consult an architect. But, if you’re looking for a well-designed, functional and more conventional home you may be better with a builder who offers custom designs. Not only will they handle your whole build from start to finish, but they’ll also be more affordable.

Custom home with a builder

Some builders also offer design services. At ZAC Homes if you want full flexibility with the design of your new home then you can work with our experienced in-house designers to craft a design that is perfect for your lifestyle and block.

Our designers will work with you and your family to make your vision for your new home come to life.

You will have a much greater choice of fittings and fixtures based on what suits the design.

Having complete flexibility also allows you to include sustainability as a key design element. There are many ways a home can be sustainable including the materials used, the design, the inclusions, and more.

Choosing a custom design home will take longer, you’ll have more decisions to make, and it will generally be more expensive, but you’ll have a one-off home to suit your needs. Our designers can work with almost any site, although an undulating site will require careful and considered design, suitable construction techniques and most likely increased costs.

Modify an existing design

If you’d prefer to have some of the advantages of an existing design but make it your own, then ‘My Style’ could be the best option.

You can choose one of the many ZAC Homes designs and modify it to suit your family’s lifestyle, block and budget.

There are many ways you can customise the standard plans and make them stand out from the crowd.

You can make small changes like the addition of special light fittings, an island bench in the kitchen, or a butler’s pantry.

You could also make larger changes like an altered floor plan to create extra living space. If the standard floor plan doesn’t quite fit your needs, we’re happy to work with you to alter the floor plan with minimal structural changes to the overall design.

You could consider enclosing part of an open-plan living space to create an extra room to work from home. Sliding doors can be a great option because you can leave them open to get the open-plan feel most of the time and then only close them when you need.

Perhaps add a skylight to your new home for a little bit of extra natural light, or some additional windows or different size windows depending on the aspect of your new home. A popular way to distinguish your home from a neighbourhood of similar new homes is to change the façade. You can also experiment with different paint colours on the front door or a custom door handle.

Build a new custom home with ZAC Homes

Whether you choose My Style or our Tailored Approach, you will receive exceptional customer service, and the ZAC Homes team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

What to look for when choosing your builder

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Hiring the right builder is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when building a dream home for you and your family. It’s something that takes time, energy and dedication to get right.

It’s not something you can rush or solve with one phone call. There are many formal and informal checks you can undertake to ensure you find the right builder or building company for your project, whether it be a knock down rebuild, duplex, custom home, or a standard project home.

Check their past work

Before you hunt down the right builder, you must have some idea about the type and style of home you’re wanting to build, and then find a builder with the skills that best align with your plans.

It is important to find a builder who has existing home designs that you favour or has built similar dwellings in the past. You don’t have to get caught up in the minor details of colours and exact layout but if you’re keen on a Hamptons-look home and the builder specialises in ultra-modern homes you should probably look elsewhere.

Request references

All reputable builders will have the names of past clients who are happy to speak to you. You’ll learn a lot about a builder/building company by speaking to past clients.

Try finding reviews online of your builder but be wary of online reviews and use these only as a supplementary source of referral.

Ask questions of previous clients like:

  • How quickly did the builder respond to questions?
  • Were you kept fully informed at every stage?
  • Did the builder keep to the budget and timeline that was originally promised and if not, why not?
  • How did they handle unexpected problems if any arose?

If possible, visit and inspect past builds, or if they have them, display homes.

Check licences and insurance

You should never assume that a builder is fully licenced and insured. It’s up to you to check by asking them to provide the necessary proof or for you to run your own checks.

In NSW, a builder who undertakes works of more than $5,000 must have a licence, but there are different categories of licence. Several insurances are also required including public liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, and home building compensation.

A reputable builder like ZAC Homes will happily provide all the necessary details and advice about this critical area. We’ve worked with the various industry bodies and regulators over many years to ensure we are always covered to protect your dream home build and our business.

Assess how they communicate

It’s difficult to fully assess how a builder might communicate during the build process, but even in the early dealings with them, you’ll get a feeling for how responsive they are to questions, and whether they take the time to talk things through with you, and what communication channel they favour.

A reputable building company will respond right from the beginning of your interaction. This responsiveness indicates that they invest in their team to ensure that customers and their experience are at the forefront of their business.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the builder understand my concerns?
  • Have they helped me work out what’s important in terms of design and features?
  • How quickly do they respond to my enquiries or questions?

Don’t rely on price alone

If you get several quotes from builders don’t judge them only on cost. Committing to building a new home is a huge decision and you need to be happy with what they are providing, not focused just on the cost. It’s likely that if you’re looking at two or three quotes, they have included and excluded certain items so it’s very hard to compare them. At ZAC Homes we can provide a fixed price tender if requested that provides peace of mind, no hidden costs, and no surprises.

Consider what they offer

Some builders, like ZAC Homes, will offer services right from the rezoning and demolition to the completion of your new home. Other builders will only build the new home, so you will need to organise all the approvals and demolition if your project is a knock down rebuild.

Home building companies will also vary in what they offer as far as custom builds. Some offer only project homes built to match the designs they provide with very little variation.

ZAC Homes has three different levels of building:

  • Fast Track – off-the-plan design
  • My Style – modify an existing design
  • Tailored approach – custom design with complete flexibility.

Build a new custom home with ZAC Homes

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity, and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.