LANDCONNECT — 23 May 2024

10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey.

1. Plan Like a Pro

Don’t wing it. Seriously, planning is your best friend here. Create a checklist and timeline for your move. Break down tasks week by week, and prioritize what needs to be done. From hiring movers to notifying utility companies, a detailed plan will keep you organized and sane. Utilize tools like Google Calendar or project management apps to keep track of your moving timeline and tasks.

2. Declutter Ruthlessly

Channel your inner minimalist. Moving is the perfect opportunity to get rid of items you no longer need. If it doesn’t spark joy or serve a purpose, it’s time to say goodbye. Donate, sell, or recycle items to lighten your load and start fresh in your new space. Consider organizing a garage sale or using online platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to sell items.

3. Secure Your Essentials

Pack an essentials box. This should include everything you’ll need for the first 24-48 hours: toiletries, a change of clothes, important documents, basic kitchen supplies, and any necessary medications. Having these items readily available will save you from unnecessary stress on your first night. Imagine searching through dozens of boxes just to find your toothbrush or phone charger!

4. Change Your Address Early

Don’t procrastinate on updating your address. Notify the post office, banks, insurance companies, and any subscription services about your move. This ensures you won’t miss important mail and helps prevent identity theft. Also, update your address with friends, family, and your employer.

5. Scout the Neighborhood

Get to know your new neighborhood before you move in. Check out local amenities, grocery stores, parks, and restaurants. Understanding your new community will help you settle in faster and feel more at home. Visit the area at different times of the day to get a sense of the neighborhood vibe.

6. Inspect and Clean

Before unloading your boxes, do a thorough inspection and deep clean of your new home. Check for any damages or issues that need immediate attention. A clean, well-inspected space sets the foundation for a comfortable living environment. Look out for things like water damage, mold, pests, or any needed repairs.

7. Update Your Security

Your home is your sanctuary, so make sure it’s secure. Change the locks, update the security system, and ensure all windows and doors have proper locks. Safety first! Consider installing smart home security systems for added peace of mind.

8. Meet the Neighbors

Building relationships with your neighbors can enhance your living experience. Introduce yourself and exchange contact information. Good neighbors can be invaluable for everything from borrowing a cup of sugar to keeping an eye on your property when you’re away. Consider hosting a small get-together or joining local community groups to get acquainted.

9. Unpack Strategically

Resist the urge to unpack everything at once. Start with the most important rooms like the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. This allows you to settle in comfortably while gradually tackling the rest of the house. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Label your boxes clearly to make the unpacking process smoother.

10. Personalize Your Space

Finally, make your new house a home. Add personal touches like photos, artwork, and favorite decorations. Paint walls, arrange furniture, and create spaces that reflect your personality and lifestyle. Your home should be a sanctuary that brings you joy and comfort. Don’t rush the process—enjoy making your new space truly yours.

Moving Checklist

Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you stay organized during your move:

  1. Two Months Before Moving:
    • Research moving companies and get estimates.
    • Create a moving binder/folder.
    • Start sorting and purging items.
    • Collect important documents.
  2. One Month Before Moving:
    • Finalize moving company or truck rental.
    • Notify utilities and service providers of your move.
    • Start packing non-essential items.
    • Arrange for storage if needed.
  3. Two Weeks Before Moving:
    • Confirm moving details with the moving company.
    • Pack essentials and valuable items.
    • Change your address with the post office.
    • Plan meals to use up perishable food.
  4. One Week Before Moving:
    • Pack a first-night essentials box.
    • Clean your current home.
    • Disassemble furniture if needed.
    • Confirm move-in details with your new place.
  5. Moving Day:
    • Do a final walk-through of your current home.
    • Supervise the loading process.
    • Double-check that all boxes and furniture are loaded.
    • Ensure utilities are turned off at your old home.
  6. After Moving:
    • Unpack essentials first.
    • Inspect your new home for any issues.
    • Set up security measures.
    • Start personalizing your space.

Room-by-Room Packing Tips

  • Kitchen: Pack dishes vertically like records, and use dish towels to cushion them. Label boxes with fragile items clearly.
  • Bedroom: Use wardrobe boxes for clothes, and pack shoes in their original boxes or wrap them individually.
  • Living Room: Use bubble wrap for electronics, and secure cords with twist ties. Disassemble large furniture if necessary.
  • Bathroom: Pack toiletries in a leak-proof bag, and keep medications easily accessible.
  • Garage/Basement: Group tools and equipment by type, and secure them with zip ties or in sturdy boxes. Dispose of hazardous materials properly.


Moving is more than just relocating your belongings; it’s about creating a new chapter in your life. By planning ahead, staying organized, and personalizing your space, you can ensure a smooth transition and a fresh start in your new home. Here’s to new beginnings and making your new place truly yours!

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LANDCONNECT — 25 March 2024

Living Room Layout Essentials: A Comprehensive Guide to Designing Your Ideal Space

How to design the perfect living room in your new home build.

As you begin the exciting process of building a new home, the design of your living room becomes a canvas for your personal expression. This space, central to relaxation and social interaction, should be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, aligning with your unique lifestyle. This guide provides an in-depth exploration of living room layouts, empowering you to create a space that is not only visually engaging but also practical and comfortable.

Understanding the Basics of Living Room Layouts

The foundation of a great living room lies in understanding three key aspects: space planning, room size and shape, and the role of natural light. A well-thought-out living room layout not only enhances the room’s aesthetic appeal but also its functionality, making it a comfortable and inviting space for you and your guests.

  • Space Planning: This critical step involves more than just placing furniture in a room. It’s about creating a cohesive and balanced environment where each piece complements the others. Effective space planning ensures the room is navigable and welcoming, with each element contributing to the overall harmony of the space.
  • Room Size and Shape: The dimensions of your living room significantly impact your layout choices. Larger rooms offer flexibility but can feel impersonal if not properly arranged. Smaller rooms, on the other hand, can easily become cluttered without strategic planning. Understanding these dimensions is essential to selecting the right furniture and creating an optimal layout.
  • Natural Light: The amount and quality of natural light in a living room can dramatically affect its ambiance. Lighter color schemes and reflective surfaces can maximize light in north-facing rooms, which typically receive less direct sunlight. South-facing rooms, bathed in more light, allow for a broader range of color and decor options.

Comprehensive Layout Options and Their Benefits

Each layout type brings its own set of advantages and can be tailored to suit different needs and room characteristics:

  • Symmetrical Layouts: Known for creating balance and elegance, symmetrical layouts are often easy to arrange and work well in formal settings. However, they can sometimes feel predictable and lack creative flair.
  • Asymmetrical Layouts: These layouts provide a dynamic and modern feel, allowing for greater flexibility and creative expression. They are perfect for casual living spaces but require a keen eye for balancing different elements.
  • Open-Plan Layouts: Popular in contemporary homes, open-plan designs foster social interaction and a sense of spaciousness. They suit family-oriented lifestyles but pose challenges in decorating and creating distinct functional areas.
  • Compartmentalized Layouts: Offering defined areas for specific activities, these layouts create cozy, separate zones within your living room. However, they can feel restrictive in smaller spaces and may not suit those who prefer an open, fluid environment.
Layout TypeProsCons
SymmetricalBalanced, formal, ideal for showcasing focal pointsCan feel rigid, lacks spontaneity
AsymmetricalDynamic, modern, adaptableRequires skill to balance
Open-PlanSpacious, encourages socializingCan be difficult to define separate areas
CompartmentalizedCozy, defined areas for different activitiesCan feel cramped in smaller spaces

Analyzing Your Space and Needs

Creating an effective living room layout starts with a thorough analysis of your space and lifestyle needs:

  • Measure Your Space: Begin by accurately measuring your living room, noting the length, width, and height. This step is essential for understanding which furniture pieces will fit and how they can be arranged effectively.
  • Identify Focal Points: Focal points such as fireplaces, large windows, or entertainment systems greatly influence the layout. They naturally draw attention and should be considered when planning the arrangement of your room.
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Your daily life and activities should dictate your living room layout. A family with young children might prioritize open, flexible spaces for play, while those who entertain often may prefer a layout that facilitates social interaction and offers ample seating.

Furniture Selection and Arrangement

The selection and arrangement of furniture are crucial in defining the functionality and aesthetic of your living room:

  • Choosing the Right Furniture: The scale of your furniture should harmonize with the size of your room. In larger spaces, substantial pieces can anchor the room, while in smaller areas, more compact, multifunctional furniture is ideal to prevent a cluttered look.
  • Functionality: Each furniture piece should have a purpose. A large sectional might be perfect for a family room, while a smaller settee paired with armchairs could be better for a formal sitting area. Consider how you will use the space to determine the most appropriate furniture.
  • Arrangement: A well-thought-out arrangement is key to a successful living room layout. It should facilitate ease of movement, encourage social interaction, and create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. For instance, in a TV-centric room, arrange seating to ensure a clear view for everyone, while in a conversation-focused layout, position chairs and sofas to face each other.

Incorporating Aesthetics and Personal Style

Infusing your personal style into the living room not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also makes the space feel more like your own:

  • Color Scheme: The choice of colors sets the tone for the room. Light, neutral colors can make a small space feel larger and airier, while darker hues create a cozy, intimate atmosphere in larger rooms.
  • Textures and Patterns: The interplay of different textures and patterns adds depth and interest to your living room. A leather sofa, for instance, pairs well with soft, plush cushions, creating a balanced and inviting look.
  • Décor Elements: The final touches like artwork, rugs, curtains, and decorative cushions reflect your personality and tie the room together. These elements should complement the overall design while adding unique character to the space.

Maximizing Small Living Spaces

In smaller living rooms, smart design strategies can significantly enhance the space:

  • Space-Saving Solutions: Utilizing furniture that serves multiple purposes, such as a coffee table with storage or a sofa bed, can be highly effective in small spaces. Wall-mounted shelves and cabinets also help free up floor space.
  • Choosing Light Colors: Light colors on walls and floors can make a small room feel more open and airy. Reflective surfaces like glass or glossy finishes can also help to amplify the sense of space.
  • Furniture Scale: Selecting furniture that is proportionate to the size of the room is crucial. Oversized pieces can overwhelm a small space, while too many small items can create a cluttered look. Aim for a balance that makes the room feel comfortably furnished without being cramped.

Enhancing Large Living Areas:

Large living rooms

offer great potential for creative layout designs, but they also require thoughtful planning to avoid feeling cavernous or disjointed:

  • Creating Zones: In expansive living rooms, it’s beneficial to divide the space into distinct zones for different activities, such as a reading area, a conversation zone, or a media center. This can be achieved through strategic furniture placement, area rugs, or even room dividers.
  • Furniture Proportion: It’s important to choose furniture that matches the scale of a large room. For instance, a substantial sectional sofa or a large coffee table can anchor the space effectively. Be careful to balance large pieces with smaller ones to maintain a harmonious proportion in the room.
  • Using Rugs and Art: Large rugs help define different areas within an open space and can add color and texture. Similarly, oversized artworks can serve as focal points and bring personality to the room, making the space feel more connected and purposeful.

Awkward Living Room Layout Ideas

Dealing with unconventional room shapes or architectural features requires innovative solutions:

  • Custom Solutions: Custom-built furniture or shelving can be designed to fit awkward spaces perfectly. This approach not only maximizes functionality but also adds a unique, personalized touch to your living room.
  • Focal Point Reorientation: If traditional focal points like fireplaces or windows are not ideally situated, create new focal points with art pieces, statement furniture, or a unique arrangement. This can help redirect attention and balance the room.

Pass-Through Living Room Layouts

Designing a pass-through living room that serves as a transitional space requires careful consideration of both functionality and aesthetics:

  • Furniture Placement: Arrange furniture to allow easy passage while also creating inviting seating areas. This might involve using smaller-scale furniture or floating pieces in the center of the room to maintain clear walkways.
  • Visual Continuity: Maintaining a consistent design theme or color palette throughout the space can help create a sense of unity and flow. This is especially important in pass-through areas, where the living room might transition into another part of the house.

Living Room Layout Ideas for Different Lifestyles

Your living room should reflect your personal lifestyle and needs:

  • For the Entertainer: An open-plan layout with various seating options can accommodate larger gatherings. Consider incorporating a bar cart or a buffet table for entertaining guests.
  • For Families: Prioritize durable, easy-to-clean surfaces and include ample storage for toys and games. A casual and flexible layout with comfortable seating will make the space welcoming and child-friendly.

Technology and Living Room Layouts

Incorporating technology into your living room layout is essential in modern homes.

  • Smart Tech Integration: Planning for smart lighting, entertainment systems, and cable management can ensure that technology enhances the living space without dominating it. The key is to integrate these elements in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cable Management: A clean and organized space is crucial, especially with multiple devices. Solutions like in-built cable management systems, discreet power outlets, and wireless technology can help maintain a clutter-free and stylish living room.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Layouts

Eco-conscious design is increasingly important in modern living spaces.

  • Eco-Friendly Materials: Choosing furniture and décor made from sustainable or recycled materials can significantly reduce your environmental footprint. Look for items with certifications that guarantee eco-friendly production processes.
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Opting for LED lighting and maximizing natural light can enhance the energy efficiency of your living room. Energy-efficient appliances and smart systems can also contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

This comprehensive guide has explored a wide array of living room layout concepts, catering to various sizes, shapes, and lifestyle needs. From understanding the basic principles of space planning to implementing specific design strategies for different types of living rooms, this guide aims to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to create a living room that is not only functional and comfortable but also a true reflection of your personal style and preferences. With these insights, you are well-equipped to design a living space that brings comfort, style, and functionality to your everyday life.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

50 Interior Decorating Tips: Make Your Home Magazine-Worthy

LANDCONNECT — 06 October 2020

50 Interior Decorating Tips: Make Your Home Magazine-Worthy

Design Tips that will give your home that high-end look, while sticking to your budget

We all want that showroom home – the one that looks like it was pulled straight from the pages of a magazine. But, not all of us can afford a professional interior decorator and are instead left to fend for ourselves, often without even knowing where to start. 

But an awesome looking interior shouldn’t be exclusive to those who can pay for professional help. To even the playing field, we spoke to interior decorating professionals to find out how any homeowner can make their space look great.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 50 of the finest interior design tips.


  1. Visualise your ideas: Start visualising your colour scheme by creating a mood board (Pinterest is great for this!)
  2. Use a cheat sheet: A colour wheel illustrates colour relationships – use one to help you decide on a colour scheme.
  3. Get inspiration from art: Struggling for ideas? Find a piece that you love and pull your interior colours and textures from it.
  4. Limit your colour count: When choosing a colour palette, select no more than three core colours.
  5. Set rules and play by them: Establish a basic colour scheme for the whole house, but feel free to use it differently in each room.
  6. The 60/30/10 rule: 60% of any room should be the main colour, 30% should be the secondary colour and the remaining 10% should be the accent colour.
  7. Double your accent: The 10% of accent colour can either be a single colour, or evenly split into two complementary colours (5% each.)
  8. The ‘wow’ factor: Add bright and bold colours through the use of statement pieces and small patches of accent paint.
  9. The 80/20 rule: You should counterbalance the use of strong colours with a greater amount of neutrality. Aim for a ratio of 80% neutral to 20% bold.
  10. Test your paints: Before committing to a certain colour, brush on small paint samples to get a sense of what they’ll look like on your walls.
  11. Keep things fresh: Small areas of accent paint colour can be painted over whenever you want, making them a great way to bring a fresh new look to a space (and without the permanent commitment.)
  12. You’re hot then you’re cold: Mix warm and cool colours in your house for a contrasting yet balanced look.
  13. Classic or contemporary: Warm colours are associated with classic or traditional looks, while cool colours are more often used in modern interiors.
  14. Strategic intensity: Dramatic colour is best used in corridors, hallways and other spaces that you pass through.
  15. Don’t be too busy: Leave ‘white space’ in a room to allow the eye to rest.
  16. Avoid impulsiveness: Save your mood board and chosen colour palette on your phone so that you can always look them up, to ensure that any enticing piece that you stumble across will match.


  1. Shine a light on your colours: Colour can change depending on lighting conditions, so ensure you’re happy with how your choices look in both natural and artificial light.
  2. A different kind of light: Indeed you should consider all types of lighting – not just general, but ambient, task, mood and accent too.
  3. Playing with light: By generating light from multiple sources, the mood and ambiance of your home can be enhanced.
  4. In the limelight: Add a spot of light to create emphasis on an art piece.
  5. Reflections: Bring in more natural light by hanging a mirror opposite a window.
  6. Create clean light: Mount wall lamps on each side of a mirror to minimise shadows.

Preparing the space

  1. Look up: Often ignored, decorating the ceiling can really redefine a room, so why not dress it up with paint, lacquer, wallpaper or molding?
  2. Find your focal point: Every room needs a focal point, whether art, a feature wall, or a statement piece of furniture.
  3. Add space with colour: Create the illusion of more space by painting your baseboard, walls and ceiling in the same colour.
  4. Paper the walls: Liven up powder rooms and areas of transition with a bold wallpaper.
  5. What is art?: When used as an accent wall, wallpaper can replace expensive artwork.
  6. Shop to fit: Don’t let your heart override your head. Always measure your space and make an interior design plan before buying anything.
  7. Open up bottlenecks: Try to make the doorways and arches between rooms as high as possible, bring light in to make the space feel more open.
  8. Mind the gap: A room will appear larger and more spacious when the furniture is placed away from the wall.


  1. Start big: The largest furniture pieces, whether sofa, wardrobe or bed, will dominate your space, so it’s wise to choose the big items first and build your space around them.
  2. Take your time: There’s no need to decorate an entire room all at once. If you can’t find the right piece, don’t push it – be patient and the perfect item will eventually come along.
  3. Cloth before colour: To make sure your paint goes well with the rest of the room, consider buying your textiles first.
  4. Textured textiles: Vary the scale of the different fabric patterns you choose in a room.
  5. Form and function: Using pieces that are as functional as they are beautiful allows you to create a perfectly minimalist look.
  6. Bring the outside in: Large plants can add a calming natural element to your indoor space.
  7. Go evergreen: To achieve a clean and modern feel, decorate with large plants that don’t bloom.
  8. Keep ‘em guessing: For more visual interest, group odd numbers of accessories, and items with different textures, tones and heights.
  9. The same, but different: Pair different patterns and textures that balance each other visually.
  10. Add space with mirrors: Large mirrors can add a sense of space – potentially doubling it in smaller rooms.
  11. Hang them high: Hanging curtains close to the ceiling can make a room look taller.
  12. Beneath your feet: Rugs are an effective and inexpensive way to add colour and texture to a room.
  13. Anchor your rug: Make sure at least the front two legs of the sofa and armchairs are sitting on the area rug.
  14. Forge a metal friendship: Mixing different metals in different finishes creates a cohesive yet dynamic look.
  15. Blend eras: Mix modern pieces with antiques for an eye-catching result.
  16. Another 80/20 rule: When mixing interior styles, devote 80% of the room design to one style, and 20% to the other.
  17. Get some real life inspiration: Looking for style inspiration? Showrooms and open houses can be a great source of ideas.
  18. A pillowy bridge: Decorative pillows are a simple but effective way to bridge between two décor styles.
  19. Tell your story: Build your interior decorating around a unique story, and ensure every object is in line with that vision.
  20. Inject a bit of you: Always put a bit of your own personality into your interior. Take a trend & make it your own.

Interior design isn’t easy – if it was everyone would be great at it! Decorating your own home can be incredibly rewarding though, and if you’re happy to trust your instinct, you have an opportunity to create a space that is as stunning as it is unique.

And with the help of these 50 tips, you can be confident that you’re heading in the right direction.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

100 + Things Not To Forget When Building A New Home

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

100 + Things Not To Forget When Building A New Home

This list will prove invaluable checklist as you go through your building journey.

The ultimate checklist for building a new home 

Building a house is a considerable investment. It can be an exhilarating, emotional journey, particularly if you’re a first-timer. 

There is a mountain of information to digest, and many decisions will need to be made in a sea of limitless choice. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the bigger picture that the small details are often forgotten. 

These minor design flaws might not seem too important during the building process. However, their addition makes the house more comfortable to live in and are often a massive pain to correct once the house is built.  

We understand that building a home can be time-consuming, but it shouldn’t be a grueling process. To help save you some time and possibly a future headache or two, we’ve compiled a helpful list of things not to forget when building a home!  

The team at Lotmix encourage you to remember the following when  considering the little things: 

This piece of advice is derived from our experience from sitting on both sides of the fence. 

Ensure your communication and requests for the builder are easy for them to reference and keep track of.  

Excellent communication throughout the project is the key to success when building a home. The better the interaction between buyer and builder, the smoother your journey will be. It will reduce any unnecessary stress. So, do your best to communicate, in detail, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!  

A comprehensive list of tips for building a new home

  1. We put this on the top of the list because it is not only the biggest but also the most permanent. We highly recommend that you consider the site placement and ensure you are happy with your floorplan with the orientation of your chosen lot.  One of the first steps a builder will take you through is preparing a site plan.
  2. Powerpoint planning is part of the building process. But, it’s best to give it some thought before entering the appointment with your builder. It’s easy to overlook power point locations, so it’s vital to put some thought into it. Hallways are often forgotten, living without a hallway powerpoint can be a real challenge, especially if you have a corded vacuum.  
  3. Don’t forget to consider some outdoor power points too. You’ll thank us in Summer when you’re throwing a great barbeque and need some extra mood lighting or music.  
  4. Protect your home with an alarm and doorbell. 
  5. Ducted vacuums are a household essential, particularly if you’re building a double storey house. Quick and easy to use. They’re made to last, adding instant value to your home.  
  6. Installing a water tap for the fridge will open up your fridge selections when the time comes. Keep in mind that the location of the water point could impact the depth of the refrigerator.  
  7. That leads us to our next tip, take notice of the space around your fridge. Having limited space can impact the life and performance of your refrigerator. Take note of the location of the hinge on the refrigerator and allow enough space for the fridge doors to open. Kitchens are the heart of the home, so they should be well-functioning!  
  8. Are you getting a bath? Get in! Try it out the shape of the bathtub and make sure it suits your liking. Ask your builder where you can view different bath options; they are likely to have them on display.
  9. Map out your light switch positions across your house holistically, make sure you have a consistent placement. It helps to have a list of places you want light switches installed.
  10.  Another point often overlooked, consider the space between the bottom of the door and the final floor covering. You want to avoid installing your flooring only to realise you have significant gaps between the flooring and door casting.
  11. Consider a water tap at the property boundary, not just the wall. It will make outdoor activities like gardening and washing the car a lot easier.

  12. Review the location of your where you want to place your hot water tank, relocating it in the future can be costly! Water tanks come in different ranges and sizes, so make sure you pick a size that suits your needs.  
  13. Tell your builder if you want Security PoE Camera, as the data cables should be laid during the framing stages. 
  14. An essential design tip: When selecting the timber paneling of your patio, try to match it to the alfresco timber paneling. Remember that light timber is natural to darken, but dark wood can’t be lightened without being painted.  
  15. Windows are a striking feature in any home, and who doesn’t adore natural light! However, they leave limited external wall space for practical items we can’t live without i.e., clotheslines, air-conditioning units, water tanks. It is a good idea to allocate space for these necessities, as finding space for them can be problematic in the future.  
  16. If you plan on installing solar down the track, have it prewired. This will ensure that the installation is neat, tidy, and aesthetically pleasing. 
  17. Before you sign off on your new home plans, take a walk through your design! Envision your morning routine. Make sure your future self is comfortable and happy.  
  18. Door locks are an essential part of home security, remember to check which doors come with security locks and let the builder know. 
  19. Ask which locks with keys that are the same. It will save you the hassle of carrying multiple keys and trying to remember which key opens what. 
  20. You might not give doorstops much consideration, but they’re full of unexpected benefits. They eliminate noise and protect the door, so make sure they’re included and installed. 
  21. Another vital feature of home security is window locks and fly screens. Installing these features will allow you to let in fresh air without jeopardizing security. 
  22. Check that the windows are from the same manufacturer and that you don’t have mismatched keys!  
  23. Recycling water from around the house can help save money and the environment. Provision greywater collection from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry if you plan on having a greywater system installed down the track.  
  24. Consider double glazing for your windows or ‘High performance’ glass. They will help save on your energy bill, improve security, boost soundproofing. These benefits also add value to your property.  
  25. Don’t forget to install locks on any doors from the garage to the house. 
  26. Many people consider a cavity door for the en-suite a must-have feature. They will keep your bedroom or walk-in robe free from steam.   
  27. A helpful tip to maximize on wasted storage space in the laundry is to add a hanging rail in a tall cupboard, both practical and functional!  
  28. Be aware of the internal dimensions of the garage. Remember, you might upgrade to a bigger car one day. Not being able to fit a vehicle in a poorly designed garage can be frustrating!  
  29. Skylights are a striking architectural feature; they provide daylighting and are a contribution to energy efficiency and comfort.   
  30. High ceilings evoke expansiveness, consider taller doors if you’re raising the ceiling height.  
  31. Check if there are cornices on bulkheads and consider if you want them there!  
  32. To avoid paying a premium on custom windows, consider ‘standard sized windows.’ They come with a wide selection of ready-made blinds and curtains so you’ll save on tailor-made costs.  
  33. Translucent glass doors are a fantastic way to maximize sunlight, and they add a touch of elegance to any living space.  

  34. A light in the roof is a hot tip! Consider placing the switch near the maintenance hole for convenience and a power point for Christmas decorations or fairy lights.  
  35. Extension cords can be an eyesore! Consider floor outlet boxes for table and floor lamps. You won’t have to run extension leads across the floor and behind furniture, minimizing hazards.  
  36. We’ll keep this one straightforward: Install an outdoor light near the clothesline, you’ll thank us when daylight savings ends. 
  37. Allow easy access to the stair light, mainly if the stair light fitting is above the stairwell. Plan it out now so you can avoid future hazards!  
  38. For the sake of the environment and your utility bill, consider sensor lights and fans in the bathroom! We’ve all been guilty of leaving the lights on at some point in our lives, let senor lights do the job for you. 
  39. Check your building contract to see which costs are included, and budget for any upgrades that you know you can’t live without, such as USB charging power points!   
  40. As a households get bigger, less space becomes available inside the house, consider installing extra power points in the garage for a second fridge or dryer. 
  41. To ensure hassle-free cleaning, consider a powerpoint in the utility cupboard particularly if you have a rechargeable vacuum cleaner  
  42. Garden lights are an excellent way to entice the family to spend more time outdoors. Illuminate your outdoor living space by installing an electrical conduit under the driveway or path to provide electricity for garden lighting. So light up the backyard and enjoy those summer evenings! 
  43. Add a little personal zest to your home by picking your doorbell chime or decorative design, get creative when selecting your doorbell, just don’t forget it!  
  44. Check that light switches are conveniently located, if you have double doors ensure that you still have access to the light switch when they are opened. A poorly located light switch will have you fumbling in the dark.   
  45. A change is as good as a holiday, and that runs true within the home too. You can refresh your home and rejuvenate your mind just by moving the furniture around, allow extra TV points and power points in the main living area to keep your options open. So consider furniture arrangements as you settle on a floorplan. 
  46. For additional security and easy access, install the electrical switchboard in the garage or under the stairs. As these locations are usually dark, keep a rechargeable torch nearby. 

  47. Most houses generally have single-phase power. Three-phase power is typically used in larger homes that use multiple large appliances that require larger currents of electricity, such as pool heaters. To avoid future power fluctuations and needs, discuss this in your electrical appointment and if you will need three-phase power installed.
  48. For a hassle-free installation, add a conduit for phone and TV cable for Foxtel. This tip will save you future headaches if you need to install those features on a non-cavity wall. 
  49. If you’re lucky enough to have the space to consider having a pool, think about getting a circuit for pool equipment now!  
  50. The bathroom should be stress-free! Consider installing additional power points for electrical devices in the cupboard or under the vanity benchtop. It’ll help keep the space tidy and functional, but remember to install them a safe distance from water sources. 
  51. If you’re planning on an outside feature wall, consider the location of the downpipes. You don’t want the aesthetics of the feature wall ruined by downpipes.
  52.  Evaporative cooling is eco-friendly and cost-effective if you’ve given it the green light, install capped water point, and power points to the roof to make the installation a breeze.  
  53. Drainage holes in the bathroom, laundry, and kitchen will make general cleaning easier and are an added advantage if your appliances leak or there is an overflow.  
  54. The kitchen is usually where most people use small amounts of hot water the most, so If possible, consider installing the hot water system close to the kitchen. 
  55. Check the location of your hot water system, if it’s on the blind side of your house, make sure your clothesline is easily accessible from your laundry. 
  56. While we’re on the topic of hot water tanks, make sure that there is enough space for the side gate to open.  
  57. Ensure that the hot water tank is mounted onto a concrete slab and not on the ground, this will help keep your system in safe working order.  
  58. If you plan to install a ducted vacuum, measure the distance between ducts on the plan to ensure the hoses are long enough to reach the entire house. Alternatively, invest in a larger hose so that you can reach all parts of your home effortlessly.   
  59. If you plan to install split air conditioning, consider how it will appear on the exterior. A large system can be an unsightly view, and an overgrown garden can compromise its performance. 
  60. Plan out the locations of ceiling vents for heating and cooling. In the bedroom, make sure they are not positioned directly above the bed.  
  61. To accommodate for a different temperature preference of each person inside the home, consider multi-zoned heating.  
  62. Underfloor heating will keep your feet lovely and warm all year round. Consider adding this luxurious feature in the bathroom to keep your feet warm as you step out of the bath or shower.  
  63. The standard width of a fridge recess is 900mm, however, consider increasing your fridge recess to 1000mm to allow for all fridge brands. This will be particularly helpful if you plan to grow your family as the more heads to feed, the bigger your refrigerator will need to be!  
  64. Did we mention how much we love lounging outside in the summer? Consider installing an outdoor tv point. Now, cricket can keep your friends entertained while you fire up the BBQ! 
  65. It is essential to optimize all the storage space in the kitchen! Measure the size of the drawers in the kitchen and allow room for a large pot and pans. 
  66. Soft-close doors are a popular kitchen accessory. Consider installing them on other cupboards around the house to extend their lifespan.  
  67. Give careful consideration to where the dishwasher will be located in the kitchen. Consider the cabinet layout and ensure you have easy access to all the cabinets without having to open and close the dishwasher when unpacking the dishwasher.  
  68. Occasionally builders use offcuts when installing a splashback. Specify in your contract that splashback must be installed as ‘one piece’ or ‘no joins’ to ensure an aesthetically pleasing design.  
  69. Overhead kitchen cupboards are a great way to create more storage space. Ensure that the mounted cabinet will be flush with the wall. A kitchen island offers plenty of extra storage space and enhances the design of your kitchen, for added functionality, consider installing power points onto your kitchen island.  
  70. Waste bins can be an eyesore in the kitchen. Built-in bins or slide-out bins for your waste and recycling will help keep the kitchen looking tidy!  

  71. If you plan to install an under-mount sink, consider if a drainage board is right for your kitchen.   
  72. Frosted windows in the bathroom and toilet will help increase privacy while still allowing natural light to enter the room.
  73. Check which way shower doors open, and stipulate in the contract your preferred direction for all doors in the bathroom to follow the same direction. 
  74. If you have upgraded to a higher ceiling, consider the height of the shower screen.  
  75. Privacy locks are an excellent option for the bathroom. They offer privacy for much-needed downtime, and they also allow you to unlock the door from the other side in the case of an emergency. 
  76. If you have a habit of placing a bathmat on the floor outside the shower, consider the distance between the bathroom door to allow enough space for the door to open and close.
  77. Sliding doors on built-in robes save a tremendous amount of space in the bedroom, and best of all, they won’t restrict your furniture placement.  
  78. The standard width for built-in robes is 500mm, consider increasing the width to avoid clothes catching when closing the door. 
  79. Put some time aside to go through the contract, confirm that each variation is drawn correctly in the plan. 
  80. Are you happy with the location of the Gas and electricity box? If possible, these should be external to your side gate. Otherwise, utility companies will charge you a meter reading fee each time, which can be expensive in the long term. 
  81. A hot water service needs ample space. Make sure you happy with the installation location as it can often be difficult and costly to relocate a system in the future. 
  82. Right window orientation increases the efficiency of a home. But, make sure you are happy with all the aspects of your windows! 
  83. Ensure slabs have been laid for extra features around the property such as the porch or rain tank, these are often overlooked and will save you time and money in the future. 
  84. Consider where you want phone points installed. Common locations for phone lines include the kitchen, bedroom, hallway, study, home-office. Your options are endless! 
  85. High ceilings can add value to your property; they add elegance and a greater sense of space. A classical feature in any home!  
  86. If you plan to install frameless shower screens, consider an inset channel in the wall before the tiles are laid. This will reduce the unsightly view of the silicon running down the sides of the glass and the wall. 
  87. Consider ventilation in the laundry. This tip will help maintain circulation by removing excess moisture!  
  88. The laundry room should be well equipped and well organized. Consider a tall cupboard in the laundry to hold bulky items such as a vacuum cleaner and ironing board.  
  89. Washing machines floods can be a real pain, a drain in the laundry floor will ensure a quick clean up and help prevent water damage and mold.  
  90. During the framing stage, take photos of walls in all rooms before gyprock is applied. A great way to document the location of studs; you’ll be happy you did when it comes to decorating the inside!  
  91. Curtains and carpet are an excellent way to add character and comfort. They also reduce echo, which is particularly helpful in large open spaces.  
  92. You might want to install a fan in the alfresco area, make sure the ceiling height is high enough to accommodate for one! 
  93. Open floor plans come with many added benefits, consider installing doors for an added sense of privacy and flexibility, which is often desirable when the kids get older. 
  94. Access doors serve a variety of purposes, consider if you should install a fly screen to provide security and airflow.  
  95. Never underestimate the advantages of dimmer lights, they’re excellent at conserving energy, and they provide tranquil mood lighting. They shouldn’t be limited to the bedroom, consider installing them throughout the house, including the alfresco! 
  96. For some houses, a workshop to the side of the garage is a must-have. They are perfect for storing tools and bikes, offering extra security for your valuables, and decluttering the backyard.  
  97. To optimize the signal of your internet connection, consider a central location for your wireless router (this can always be solved with wifi range extenders)
  98. Cables are another household eyesore! Plan how you can minimize the appearance of your TV or projector cables. Depending on the situation, you’ll be able to find advice online on how to blend cables seamlessly. 
  99. Check and recheck all the ins and outs of your plan. It’s a good idea to recheck all the small details.
  100. Keeping your shower essentials within reach while maintaining an organized bathroom can be achieved with a shower niche. They can also be installed in the bathtub to hold toiletries, a clutter-free feature for the bathroom.
  101. Consider installing an additional light switch by your bed so that you can control the lighting of the comfort of your bed.
  102. When designing a house, consider the width of the hallways carefully. Once it has been built, it will be too late to correct.
  103. Cavity sliding doors are super space savers. Swinging doors are convenient. Both offer a myriad of benefits, decide which one is right for you.
  104. Ventilation is crucial and should not be overlooked when planning the positions of windows.
  105. It may be obvious to say but a wall-mounted toilet holder works best if installed within reach. 
  106. A laundry chute is like a helpful hand around the house, and they eliminate the need for laundry baskets, which tend to overflow during busy periods. 
  107. Map out where your furniture will go, not only is this tip a bit of fun, but it will ensure everything will fit in your space. This should save you the hassle from moving furniture you might not need.
  108. See if you can have the stacker doors go into the slab to ensure you’re not stepping over the frame to go outdoors. 
  109. Take the time to consider shelf height in both your wardrobes and pantry. This is particularly important if you decide to change the door heights and ceiling heights in the future. You may need to add in an additional shelf if the ceiling or door height has been adjusted, this will ensure that the shelves are functional as aesthetically pleasing. 
  110. Organise your wardrobe layout, be practical with the design, and make good use of the space. Not only will it make the room feel more spacious, but it will also make mornings a little easier too. 
  111. Did you know, depending on the size of your bench, that it is common for it to have a join? This is due to the stone slab sizes commonly provided by leading brands. It’s a good idea to do a little research and discuss this with your builder to ensure you are happy and understand the outcome.
  112. Check the number of downpipes. Regardless if the area you live gets much rainfall downpipes are an essential part of any building’s drainage system.
  113. Consider including a garage access door!  
  114. Downlights in the eaves will provide your backyard with ambient lighting; they’re perfect for entertaining.
  115. Stair Railing – in many house designs, the standard stair railing upstairs is a plaster wall. Also, do not assume if you upgrade the plaster wall to have a railing that this will run around the landing. Confirm this with your builder as to exactly where the railing goes to and what is around the landing/void. 
  116. Review the location of your driveway against the floorplan you are considering. Many builders will be able to flip the design; however, ensure you are still achieving the optimum orientation to take advantage of the most sun/light. If you do request to relocate the driveway location, you also need to check this with your developer in most cases this requires approval. 

There are many things to consider when building a new home, and it’s always in the detail that will make your life an absolute joy when you move into your new home.

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The Ultimate Guide For First Home Buyers

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

The Ultimate Guide For First Home Buyers

Sit down have a coffee and make your way through this ultimate guide.

So, you’ve decided to enter the property market and build your first new home? Congratulations! You’re about to embark on an incredible life-changing journey that will be exhilarating, daunting, challenging, rewarding, and emotional from start to finish. To help you navigate through the experience of building your very first home, we’ve created The Ultimate Guide for First Home Buyers. Use this guide in harmony with all the other insights on Lotmix, and you will be well informed, educated, and empowered to make reliable decisions every step of the way.

You are saving for a deposit! 

Some people are natural-born savers. They make saving money their habit. We have all heard the stories about people saving home deposits in a short period, often on average incomes with nothing but discipline and a great process. So how do you become one of those few who manage to get it done? Let’s explore some specific habits that make certain people more successful when it comes to savings. 

Step 1 – Clear any outstanding debts. 

Clearing debt requires the discipline of saving and not spending any more money than you need to. By clearing outstanding debt, you get rid of any debts which are incurring high-interest rates, and you start to form positive saving habits. There are a few tried and tested methods that can help you tackle this. 

Snowball method 

Financial guru Dave Ramsey argues that the snowball method is the fastest way out of debt, so we think it’s a great way to begin.

Begin by creating a list of all of your debt. And sort your debts in order from smallest to the largest balance. 

Each month make minimum repayments on all your debts and allocate any extra funds towards the debt with the smallest balance first. Once the debt with the lowest balance is paid off, you move on to the next balance in line. 

Doing this will help you build momentum, as it provides a sense of accomplishment and positively reinforces your ability to clear the debt. 

Unexpected Money 

We occasionally come into unexpected money. It may be in the form of a gift or a bonus, or maybe you finally sold the bike that’s been cluttering the garage for years! It might be tempting to treat yourself with this windfall, but remember by contributing these unexpected funds towards your debts, you will reach your goals quicker.

Debt Consolidation 

Paying off outstanding debts that may be holding you back is a terrific way to regain control of your finances! Debt consolidation should be investigated, particularly if you have loans or credit cards with a high-interest rate. 

Debt consolidation is the process of combining several debts, such as personal loans and credit cards – into a single loan or credit card account.

In some situations, it can be a practical way to simplify your repayment schedules, having one repayment date instead of several will help you stay on top of all financial incomings and outgoing. You may even be able to align your repayments with your pay cycle. 

Contact your bank and speak with a financial advisor to see if it’s right for you!

Step 2 – Set up a bulletproof process.

You will achieve your saving goals quicker if you have a realistic and manageable process in place. Start by considering your source of income and how you manage it when it first arrives in your account.  

We’ve put together a realistic and straightforward strategy to help you prioritize your savings goal. 

Make your money harder to reach

Making your money less available to you will help you achieve financial progress much sooner. Having limited access to your funds will ensure that you don’t overspend on unexpected splurges like lunches and dinner with friends.  

The most effective way to limit your funds is to deposit your paycheck into your savings account and then allocate yourself a budget into an alternative account. 

Some people find having their paycheck deposited into an account without internet banking one way of making sure they are disciplined. The extra hassle and step of calling your bank and requesting a transfer puts up a barrier between you and impromptu spending. 

Implementing this method in your savings process is a terrific way to help you stay on track! Often, we forget to include small expenses in our budget, like that second-morning coffee, as they don’t appear to be significant enough. However, all these smaller expenses add up and can throw you over budget, which can leave you feeling stressed and disheartened. 

Limiting your access to your money will help you see the money that is available to you and discourage you from overspending on temptations.

The Envelope System/Percentage Allocations

The envelope system has been around for much longer than both you and me, and it still stands the test of time.

Back before savings applications and internet banking existed, people needed some easy way to budget their weekly paychecks. Due to its physical and tangible benefits, the envelope system was commonly used in most households. So how does this time-honored system work? 

First, you start by calculating your monthly discretionary spending, which includes rent, debts, bills. Then you work out your spending bucket budget, which includes items such as groceries, paying for gas, movies, coffee – things that make your life more abundant! 

Decide on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly allowance for each bucket category. Allocate an envelope for each category and put physical cash into each envelope. Once you spend the money in the envelope, that’s it for the month. You can’t spend more!

Several banks now offer a similar service via internet banking! 

50-30-20 Rule 

When creating a budget, it’s crucial to create a sustainable one. A budget needs to cover all your needs, such as housing, food, healthcare, and debt repayments. It also needs to include your wants, too, such as going to the movies and catching up with friends. It’s a lot to cover.

We think the 50/30/20 rule will have you covered when it comes to saving. You may already be familiar with this budgeting rule; its widespread success is mainly due to its simplicity and effectiveness. 

How does the 50/30/20 budget work?

The 50/30/20 rule is worked out on percentages and not what you earn. There is no complicated formula, simply divide your after-tax income into needs, wants, savings. 50-30 20, that’s the rule! 

50% is your needs. The necessary costs you need to survive, things such as groceries, housing, utilities, health insurance. To work within the framework, you must differentiate between needs and wants. A need is any payment that would severely impact the quality of your life, such as electricity and prescription medicines. 

30% is your wants. As much as we all want a holiday, this, unfortunately, doesn’t mean a trip to the Bahamas. For this budget to work, 30% is for the necessities of life. Such as your Netflix account and going to the movies, costs you enjoy but can live without having. 

20% is for your financial goals, your savings! This 20% is to be put away and left untouched.

The framework is simple but effective; if you work within it, you will take control of your finances and achieve successful money management – with a bit of room to indulge! 

Household Percentages Budget 

When it comes to successful budgeting, working out budget percentages for how much you’ll spend on your expenses is essential. It’s an excellent way to understand your income, your spending habits, and what you need to do to achieve your financial goals.

Here is an overview of how your income can be divided

  • Housing: 25-35%
  • Insurance (including health, medical, auto, and life): 10-20%
  • Food: 10-15%
  • Transportation: 10-15%
  • Utilities: 5-10%
  • Savings: 10-15%
  • Fun (entertainment and recreation): 5-10%
  • Clothing: 5%
  • Personal: 5-10%

Keep in mind these are fundamental categories to cover and can be changed to suit your lifestyle and needs.

The best way to approach this method is by starting with your fixed expenses first, such as housing, utilities, and debt – your outgoing costs. Evaluate those expenses to see what percentage of your total budget they represent and determine if you can eliminate some of them to bring that percentage down.

Next, move on to your variable expenses. Your variable costs will cover things such as food, entertainment, transport, etc. Follow the same rule, add up the total percentage of your budget these variables account for, then determine what you can eliminate to reduce the percentage. 

Lastly, take your fixed spending and variable spending percentage and add those two together; what’s remaining is what you should commit to your savings. For example, if your fixed expenditure is 50% of your budget and your spending is 20%, then you should allocate 30% of your income towards your savings.

Quick money-saving tips! 

These quick tips can help make a little room in your budget or add a bit extra on top of your savings, remember when it comes to saving for a house, you’re in it for the long run, so every dollar counts.


When it comes to food, we can easily justify spending more than we have to, as we categorise food as a need, not a want. Eating out can bust your budget, so it’s time to get creative and be prepared. Bringing your lunch to work is an excellent way to save some extra cash if you keep an additional $10 a day, that’s an outstanding $3650 a year! Another savvy saving tip: write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket, and do not deviate from it under any circumstances! 

Need new clothes?

Clothes can be expensive, especially if you have a soft spot for shopping. A great way to make room in your budget for new items is to sell old ones! Keep an eye out for clearance sales or even shop factory seconds, who doesn’t love a discounted bargain that makes you feel a million dollars?!

Have a countdown.

Countdown the weeks until you want to have a deposit saved! It’s an excellent way to make every week count. 

Be patient.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying down the bricks. Saving for a deposit can be difficult, and it can be tempting to give up when your budget has gone pear-shaped. Don’t give up! Be patient with yourself; start the next day again. You’ll be entering the property marketing before you know it, we can already hear the sound of champagne corks popping!

Saving for a deposit can best be defined by Will Smith’s insight: 

You don’t set out to build a wall. 

You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’  

You don’t start there. 

You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”

Recommended Reading

There are so many great books on the topic of saving money, written by industry professionals that will motivate and inspire you to become a super savvy saver. We suggest utilising the following resources, as they provide a solid foundation for saving that will help you build lifelong saving habits. The above methods have been inspired across the lessons learned within these books. 

They are invaluable. –

The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams by Trent A. Hamm

Trent Hamm shares his journey on how he went from debt to wealth. He provides the reader with practical tips and tools to empower them to do the same. 

‘The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness’ by Dave Ramsey\Dave 

Ramsey is a financial expert, and this book showcases why. Ramsey distills two decades of financial counseling experience into a 7-step guide to help the reader gain control over their money. 

‘The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money’ by Chelsea Fagan

This book offers a basic grasp of financial principals, and that’s why we love it! Saving doesn’t need to be complicated. Fagan draws expert advice on how to create a budget, manage credit, and reach financial stability! 

Helpful Applications

Personal finance apps are on the rise like never before, and most of them are free to download! They will provide you with a categorical breakdown of your monthly expenditures, to help you stay within your budget. 


Pocketbook syncs with your bank account and lists every one of your purchases into a category. This allows you to easily see where your money is going and where you should make cutbacks if you are overspending. 


Similar to Pocketbook, MoneyBrilliant syncs to your bank account and categorizes your spending. However, unlike Pocket, it syncs your superannuation and offers a tax deduction function that helps find potentially tax-deductible expenses based on your occupation.

Let the shopping begin.

Finally, the time has come, you get to consider how and where you will decide to spend all the money you have worked hard to save! Choosing the perfect block of land in the ideal community will be a monumental milestone, and the decision shouldn’t be made lightly. Here are some essential factors to consider before you start shopping!

Lot consideration 

One of the biggest things that you will consider in your search for a perfect lot of land is community amenities or its proximity to amenities. 

This includes things such as public transport, education facilities, gyms, shops, and restaurants. Not only will these amenities add to the value of your life, but they will also add to the resale value of your home. 

Future community plans 

Do your research on the community and neighborhood of the land in interest. Check to see if there are planned developments scheduled that might impact the quality of your life and resale of your property. Information on future community developments is readily available online or speak to the local council. Many developments, such as shopping centers, can add value to your home, and some developments can decrease the value of your home.

Travel distance 

When calculating travel distance, to work, or your morning school drops off, make sure you investigate the traffic of that route. Some neighborhoods are much busier than others, so to avoid a nasty surprise of bumper to bumper for two hours during your morning commute, it’s essential to research the travel distance of your daily routine. 

Estate considerations

Typically building in an estate is cheaper than building in an established suburb, making it an excellent way to get a foothold into the property ladder. As they are generally located on the outskirts of towns, they boast more recreational space, providing more room for larger backyards, playgrounds, and lakes. 

Building a new home offers the opportunity to alter or change your lifestyle and maximise on your future needs. It’s essential to analyse your current and future lifestyle when considering the location of your new home. 

A great place to start is by asking yourself-

Once you move in, where will the occupants of your house go to work, school, shop, or get health care?

Remember the closer you are to these services, the more time and money you will save, especially with the consistent rise in transport costs.

Choosing the right builder

When it comes to any property development, surrounding yourself with the right team is vital, it has the potential to make or break the entire experience for you. So how do you select a builder with confidence?

Visit the display homes.

Once you have whittled down your list of potential builders, it is a good idea to visit their display homes. Doing this will help you gain insight into the quality of their build as well as how the house makes you feel when you are walking through it! 

Check their folio 

Many builders specialise in specific styles, so if you have a particular type of home in mind, its a good idea to find a builder whose skills best align with your plans. 

Read reviews 

We research everything from restaurants to skincare. So it makes sense to examine what a builder’s previous clients say about them. This is an excellent way to gain insight into the reliability and quality of their services. 

Find a builder who you connect with! 

Building your first new home is a long journey that will face many challenges. So you must find a builder who listens to your goals and understands your vision. Understanding your needs and wants early in the process will ensure great teamwork and help avoid unnecessary headaches. 


Kitchen layouts, number of bedrooms, north facing lots, corner lots alfresco’s, site costs. 

The choices seem endless, and each final decision will have an impact on your life in your new home. 

There are a lot of practical factors to consider, especially when selecting your floorplan and a lot of land, so we’ve outlined them for you! 

What to look for in a floorplan 

Choosing your floor plan is, without a doubt, the most significant decisions you will make when building a house, so it’s imperative to select one that suits your lifestyle. Research makes perfect, so one of the best things you can do is visit as many display homes as possible.

One tip when you walk into a display home is to place yourself in the house as you’d live in it. Walkthrough it like you are starting your day or like you are coming home after a long day at work. 

Go through your routines and see how they feel in the space. How does the layout of the bedroom feel getting off the bed and doing your morning routine? 

You might fall in love with a floor plan, but it may not accommodate your lifestyle. 

Assessing your lifestyle before choosing a floor plan and ensure you and your family are comfortable for years to come. 

Lot orientation 

House orientation is the positioning of a building based on seasonal variations, such as the sun’s path and wind patterns, to help increase the energy efficiency of your home. Proper house orientation will reduce the need for cooling and heating systems, making your new home more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run.

If the orientation is not ideal, there are a few simple ways to make the most of poor orientation. Potentially you may be able to increase the size of north-facing windows or swap rooms around so that the sunniest room becomes the lounge room. You can also install double glazing windows to improve the thermal performance of your home. Good orientation will add value to your life, and if you decide to part with your house, it will add to the resale price too. With more people choosing to purchase energy-efficient homes, it’s a good idea to consider the local climate and orientation before you buy a lot. 

Site Costs  

These are the costs that you need to pay to prepare your site for the actual construction of your home. Site costs will vary depending on the quality and location of your land and can often be a substantial amount. So what impact site costs?

Slope/ Terrain. 

The slope of your land will be one of the most influential factors when calculating site costs. Simply the flatter the land, the less you will have to pay, as there will be less work involved to prepare the land. 

Soil condition 

You might find a perfectly flat lot, but if the soil is problematic, then your site costs will rise. Just by looking at a block of land, you won’t be able to tell if there are boulders under the soil or the moisture content. A soil test will provide you with all the information your builder needs to know to prepare the lot for construction and ensure the safety of your home. 

You can find more information on what to expect from site costs here (link to article) 

It’s Time to Get Finance

You’ve read the books, you’ve downloaded the budgeting apps, you’ve ditched your second-morning coffee from your favorite cafe, and you’ve finally saved your deposit! Congratulations, what an exhilarating feeling! Now, it’s time to apply for your first home loan. The home loan market is complex and competitive; there is a lot to navigate. Your friends and family will want to share their advice and experience, which can add to the confusion. Do you go with a broker? Should you go directly to a bank or a non-bank lender?

Following is everything you need to know about the process so that you can embark on this leg of the journey with confidence. 

The Process 

There are two options when going for your loan either a) going directly to your preferred financial institution or b) contacting a broker to help you navigate the process. 

How do they compare, and which is better?

The advantages of using a mortgage broker 

A mortgage broker will take care of the entire process from application to settlement; they will collect your income evidence and any other documents you need to provide for your use.

Their service means they will be your one point of contact throughout the entire process. On your behalf, a broker will liaise with valuers, your solicitor, your builder, and even creditors to ensure a seamless application process. They are with you every step of the way.

The advantages of going directly with a bank.

If you have excellent credit, a stable income, and you are already a customer of the bank, then chances are you will receive a reasonable rate from your bank. Building on your existing relationship with your bank can be advantageous as your bank will have your banking information, such as your account history, your income, and credit history. With this information, a loan officer will help you find a loan to work with other bank-provided products you have already. 

The advantages of going with a non-bank lender

A non-bank lender is a lender that is not a bank or a credit union, offering an alternative to traditional banks. They borrow their funds at wholesale prices, which means they have a significant margin to work with and can often deliver much lower interest rates than banks. As they are smaller in size, they usually have a flexible approach to lending. 

Ultimately the decision will be up to you, we suggest you shop around, ask lots of questions, and go with the industry professional that you trust. 

What will you need to provide?

For your reference, we’ve put together a checklist of all the documents you may need to provide for your home loan. Please note, depending on where you apply for the home loan, you won’t need every single one, but it helps to have them ready. 

Personal Identification 

You will need to provide two forms of identification, one of which is photo ID (i.e., drivers license or passport)

If you don’t have the above, then you will need to provide two or more forms of identification from the following list:

Birth or citizenship certificate

Centrelink pension card

Medicare card

Utility bill 

Rates notice 

Tax assessment notice 

Information on your income 

To satisfy the lender that you are receiving a regular salary, you will typically need to provide two payslips showing your year-to-date pay for at least three months.

If you are a contractor or casual employee, generally, you are required to provide up to six months of payslips, as well as bank statements. 

If you are self-employed, you will be required to provide the financials (Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet) for your business along with your personal and business tax returns. 

Proof of your expenses and debts 

Understandably your lender will want to know if you have any other obligations you are responsible for, such as personal loan repayments, childcare, or student loans. This information can be easily verified with bank and credit card statements.

Insurance policies.

In the interest of protecting their loan, lenders will ask you to provide documents on insurance policies you have. In the unfortunate event that something happens to you, many lenders will want to know that the loan will be covered. 

Tips from brokers 

To help you get the best value from your home loan, here are some tips from industry professionals 

Do your homework!

Research makes perfect! Understanding the market will allow you to decide on the right loan with confidence. 

Ask lots of questions 

Shop around, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, remember whether you go with a broker or bank they want your business! 

Understand your options 

With so many different loans available to you, it’s important that you understand your options and how they will meet your financial needs.

Ask for details in writing 

It can be an overwhelming process, so make sure you ask for all the 

details of commission, fees, and products in writing for your reference.

Don’t rush! 

Chances are this will be one of the most significant financial commitments of your life, so take your time to ensure that you don’t commit to anything you don’t understand. 


New home inclusions are items or services included in the stated base price of the home. Typically, standard inclusions will vary with each builder. You will need to ask your builder for a full inclusions list that provides you with everything included for that price. Often standard inclusions won’t include items such as flooring, fencing, landscaping, heating, and cooling. 

Most builders will offer different inclusion level packages to suit every taste and budget and provide you upgrades along the way. Make sure that the information that you receive from your builder is upfront and transparent so that you can make the right decision to accommodate your lifestyle in your new home without soaring over budget. 

Five things to budget for

Building a new house is a substantial financial outlay, to help you prepare for what’s ahead, we’ve compiled a list of items you should budget for! 


The right flooring in a house is vital for comfort and aesthetics, and it might come as a surprise to you that not all building quotes include flooring in your home. The finished building is constructed on a concrete slab, and then you decide what flooring to have. It’s a good idea to research the cost associated with the flooring of your choice. 


Most quotes provided by builders will be for the building only. Anything outside of this, such as driveways, will come at an extra cost. Driveways range in prices and urgency, so it’s a good idea to check your quote and make room for your driveway! 


Landscaping can drastically range in price. Depending on your personal preference, remember to include landscaping in the budget. Purchasing lawn and building your garden over time can be the cheaper option. However, it can be costly and send you over budget. 

Wheelie bins 

Depending on your local council, you may need to purchase your own wheelie bins. For more information on an accurate fee, we suggest you call your local council.

Finishing Your Home

Colour selection 

Choosing the color scheme for your new home is your opportunity to make your home uniquely yours. Some may enter the process with confidence, and others may find the overwhelming amount of choice daunting. We’ve put together some tips to help you make your decision with confidence to ensure you are happy with the aesthetics of your home for years to come. 

Understand how colours work 

When building the colour palette for your new home, it helps to have a basic understanding of the colour wheel. The 60-30-10 Rule is a timeless decorating rule, designed to create balance and give your space a harmonious look. 

So how does it work?

It’s simple. 60% is the primary colour of your room, so anything that anchors the space and serves as the backdrop. 

30% is your secondary colour. This colour will be used half as much as the main. Its role is to support the primary colour while still being different enough to be set apart and enliven the space. 

10% is your accent colour, this 10% adds a splash of colour and ties the area together. Often the 10% is worked in with furniture and decor, something that can be easily changed over time.

Do some research.

Find inspiration from design magazines, Pinterest, and display homes and create an inspiration board. Doing this will help you narrow down your choice and help you design a colour scheme that evokes positivity.

Visualiser tools

Many new home builders will offer a colour visualiser tool. They are designed to give you a completely immersive perspective with the click of a button. You can mix and match colours, textures, and materials, and finishing touches. 

Electrical selection 

Not as exciting as Colour selection, but an integral part of the journey. This step will involve choosing the location of your lighting and electrical points, light fittings, electrical fittings, power points and USB points. A consultant will guide you through the selection process to ensure you understand all the options available to you, and your final decision supports your lifestyle. 

Purchasing Land! 

Once you have found your dream lot of land, that’s in your dream community. It’s time to make it official! Purchasing land can be a lengthy and complicated process, but don’t let that damped your enthusiasm. We’ll outline the steps you need to take so that you can step into the property market with confidence. 

First and foremost, you need to get pre-approval for your home loan. 

A Pre-approval is not a guarantee but an indication from the bank as to how much you can borrow — understanding your budget will allow you to shop with confidence!

Once you find your dream block, it’s time to come to an accord with the seller and sign the contract of sale! 

The contact of sale is the legal document that outlines in detail every aspect of the transaction. Such as the terms and conditions of the sale, the price you are offering, and the settlement period. 

Typically a conveyancer or solicitor prepares the document, and it is one of the many legal documents that are unavoidable in any real estate transaction. 

Next, pay a deposit! Generally, developers release land in stages. Once you pick the one you want to build your dream home on, you will need to secure the land by putting down a deposit (which is usually 10% of the purchase price.) The deposit is held in a trust account and cannot be accessed by the developer until settlement.

Once you have secured your block, you will need to finalise your mortgage arrangements. Your lender will assist you through this stage.

The developer will need to organise the land by adding utility connections, street lights, roads, and other facilities before the council can register it. 

Once this is completed, the council will register the land, and the land is ready to be titled! 

Land titling can be complicated, but it’s an integral part of due diligence when purchasing land. 

It is the process of handing the land over from the previous owner to the future owner (that’s you!)

It’s important to note that each state or territory has its register documenting who owns what land. If Land Titling is not included in the contract of sale, a conveyancer or solicitor will search for property title records during the settlement process. 

If you are purchasing land through a developer, the process of land titling is slightly longer. Due to the high demand for land across the country, the process can take up to 12-18 months before the land title is transferred. Although this can be frustrating, use the time to explore the property market and fall in love with a house design. 

The Build

You have chosen your block, your home design, and all the finishes. It’s time to get down to business, its construction time! We’ll get straight into it as you’ve waited long enough! 

There are typically fourteen stages to construction, here’s what to expect.

Stage 1 – Earthworks

The most critical stage of the building process, the earthworks need to be completed to provide a stable and safe foundation for your home. This involves removing vegetation and making your land level. 

Stage 2 – Slab down

Before the concrete can be poured, the concreter will work with the plumber to pre-lay all the pipeworks that will be located beneath the slab of the development. Once the track pipes are in place, it’s time to pour the footings and floor slab. Congratulations, you have the foundation for your new home! 

Once the slab is laid, a drainer will be organised to come and install the sewer lines. This vital step ensures all the pipes that are laid down in the slab can be connected up to the sewer.

Step 3 – Framing

Typically the frames will be prepared before they are delivered on-site, which enables them to be erected within a day or two. This is one of the most exciting stages as you it’s the first time you can feel your house come alive.

Step 4 – Roof Tiling 

Most builders will want to put the roof up as soon as possible to protect the frames from weather damage. The electricians and plumbers will complete the installations of plumbing and electrical tubes. The roofer will work on the roof cover and gutter installation.

Step 5- Brickworks 

Once the frames are up, and the roof is on, it’s time to put the external cladding on your house. Bricklaying can be a relatively slow process. How long it takes to put up the exterior will depend on how big your house is, how many builders are working on it, and the weather. 

Step 6- Lockup

All windows and external doors are installed during the lock up stage. 

Step 7 – Rough Ins

Once the exterior claddings have gone up, it’s time for a licensed plumber and electrician to install the necessary piping, cabling, and fittings into the wall cavities before the plasterboard goes up. 

Step 8 – Interior linings

After the rough-in has been completed, it’s time to install insulation into the ceiling and walls. The vast majority of builders insulate houses using Glasswool or Rockwool insulation batts, which are installed in the cavities between the wall studs. 

Once the house is insulated, the internal lining will go up on the interior walls and ceilings of the house. This usually is plasterboard. This is an exhilarating stage of the journey as your house begins to look like a home. 

Step 9 – Waterproof and tiling 

Now it’s time to waterproof the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, and powder room in preparation for the tilers’ arrival! Waterproofing in wet areas is a vital requirement; water leaking into wall and floor spaces can cause devastating damage to your home. 

Step 10 – Timber mould out

This stage, your carpenter will install the kitchen cabinets, skirting boards, architraves, doors, door jams, ceiling roses, and dado rails! 

Step 11 – Interior and PC fit-out 

Generally, this is every new homeowner’s favorite stage of construction! It’s time for the installation of all of the fittings, fixtures, and finishing touches that will transform your house into a home and make it uniquely yours! 

Step 12 – Practical Completion Inspection 

Remember when you were downloading budgeting apps, and you were trying to determine if your second-morning coffee was a need or want? Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final stage of construction. During a practical completion inspection, the building supervisor checks that all the building work is complete and lists any items that need to be attended to before your house is reasonably fit for occupation. 

Step 13 – Handover

Once the PCI is complete, you will receive a report detailing any defects that don’t comply with regulations. Once these defects have been rectified, you can finally take ownership of your new home! 

Step 14 – Final Payment

Once the work is completed in accordance with your contract, your final payment is made.

When you move in 

When it comes to moving house, a little bit of planning will go a very long way! 

Connect internet 

Contact your internet provider three weeks before you move. The Internet takes longer to connect than other utilities, organising your internet in advance will alleviate the inconvenience and frustration of not having the internet in your new home. 

Connect your utilities.

Typically utilities take 2 to 3 days to connect, and the process is straightforward. Either call the supplier directly or a utility connection service to have your gas, electricity, water, and tv connected.Just remember to organise the connection before your move so that you are not left without power in your new home.

Alternatively, you can always entrust this responsibility to a connection service provider such as MyConnect who can assist to find you the best deals for all your connection needs. One less thing to worry about for the big move!

Have spare keys cut.

You won’t realize how critical spare keys are until you’ve lost your set of keys or are locked outside on the phone to a locksmith! Remember to make everyone in the house one, including spares. 

Organise house and content insurance. 

If you don’t have house and content insurance, now is a great time to consider protecting your home and valuables within. 

Wheelie bins 

Call your local council and organise your bins, and while you’re on the phone, find out when bin days are! 


Though the home building journey can be full of challenges, understanding the stages of the process will help ease bumps in the road and create a positive and rewarding experience. Remember to do your research, be prepared, surround yourself with a trustworthy team, ask lots of questions, and, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun along the way! 

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Land Transfer (Stamp) Duty in Victoria For Building A New Home.

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

Land Transfer (Stamp) Duty in Victoria For Building A New Home.

The Basics of Land Transfer Duty in Victoria

You cannot buy a property without hearing something about Land Transfer Duty (formally referred to as Stamp Duty). Land Transfer Duty can be one of the most significant upfront costs associated with buying a property, so it’s imperative to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs. This article will give you everything you need to know about Land Transfer Duty in Victoria so that you can prepare your budget accordingly and ensure you don’t get caught out by any unexpected costs

What is Land Transfer Duty?

It is the mandatory tax the government applies to property purchases. The amount payable is subject to varying calculations that are influenced by the state or territory you plan to purchase in.

In Victoria, it’s calculated on the “dutiable value” of your property. Dutiable value is the price you paid for the property, or it’s market value, whichever is greater, this also includes any GST payable. However, it’s important to note that many factors are considered when calculating Stamp Duty. In a later section, we’ll explore some of the critical factors and any exemptions that might apply to you! 

Land Transfer Duty on New Builds In Victoria?

One of the benefits, when buying a house and land package or building a new home on a vacant lot of land, is stamp duty will only be paid on the value of a vacant lot of land and not on the building component. This is important to note as it could end up saving you thousands of dollars! 

What Factors Go Into Calculating Land Transfer Duty? 

Other than the location of the property and its dutiable value, several other factors determine the cost of stamp duty. Some of the key factors that go into determining the amount of Land Transfer Duty you will be liable for are as follows: 

· If you are an Australian resident or a foreign buyer. 

· If you are a first home buyer. 

· Is the property going to be your primary residence or an investment property? 

· If you are buying land or building. 

· Concessions or exemptions i.e., for first homebuyers or pensioners. 

The above will impact how much you will need to pay to the state revenue office. 

Available Concessions, Reductions, and Exemptions

As of publication, there are multiple concessions, reductions, and exemptions available, which can be found on the state revenue offices website.  The more common ones which may apply to those looking to purchase a house and land package or build a new home are as follows. 

Pensioner duty exemption

If you are an eligible pensioner, you may be able to claim an exemption (once-only) or concession from stamp duty when you buy a property you plan to be your principal place of residence.

Follow this link for further information

Off-the-plan concessions

Buying-off-the-plan is when you sign a contract to purchase a dwelling that is yet to be constructed.  Buying off-the-plan may make you eligible for a concession to check your eligibility you can review the requirements at the below link:

First Home Buyer exemption, concessions or reductions

If you are purchasing your first home, you may seek to see if you are eligible for an exemption or concession from paying duty provided that you entered your contract of sale after July 1st, 2017. You can find more information on key requirements here:

Principal place of residence concession

If you intend to live in the property you’ve purchased for a continuous period of 12 months, then you may be entitled to a concession. To see if this applies to you, please follow this link

Make sure to check for information relevant to the state or territory you plan to buy in. The links provided in this article will help you gain an understanding of any requirements, exemptions, and concessions that you might apply to you.

Land Transfer Duty must be paid 30days after settlement, so it must factor into your budget early in the process to avoid any nasty financial setbacks!

Calculate your potential stamp duty 

Follow this link to calculate any upfront costs you might be required to pay! 

Upfront Cost Calculator

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

Home Loan Terminology Explained Simply

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

Home Loan Terminology Explained Simply

Terms you will likely hear when financing your build

Is it your first time buying a new home? If so, you may start to feel overwhelmed by the terminology being thrown around by family and friends. Do not worry; you are not alone! The world of banking can be difficult to navigate, and all that jargon can leave your brain feeling bamboozled. 

Before you begin the conversation with your bank or broker, this article will bring you up to speed and demystify key terminology to help you feel at ease during your home buying experience.

Interest Rate

When you take a loan, you will be required to pay interest. It’s one of the ways that lenders make their profit, so consider interest the fee you pay the lender to borrow money from them. Typically, it’s calculated as an annual percentage of the total amount of your loan. This additional charge is added to the amount borrowed and must be repaid in addition to the original loan.

Interest rates will vary and their two typical loan types: Fixed-Rate Loans or Variable-Rate Loan.

Fixed-Rate Loan  

As the name suggests, with a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate is ‘fixed’ at a rate for a specified period. The advantage of fixed-rate home loans are they offer the borrower peace of mind for a predefined period.

Your fixed-rate Loan may lock in the rate for the first 2 to 5 years of your loan, after which it will convert into a variable-rate loan. Then the rates will be subject to market conditions.

The certainty fixed loans provide means you can plan for years to come when you know repayments will not increase. However, it’s important to note, if interest rates decrease, you will miss out on taking advantage of lower rates. 

Variable Rate Loan

A variable loan is the more common of the two as it offers flexibility. The interest rate will fluctuate throughout the term of the loan. The rise and fall of the rate are closely aligned to the interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Variable loans allow you to take advantage of falling interest rates; however, if interest rates increase, then your lender may increase your repayments’ too. This type of uncertainty may make it harder to budget.

Other terms you may hear in conversation related to interest rates as follows:

Interest Only

Investors typically use Interest-Only loans; they allow the borrower to temporarily pay only the interest cost of their loan for a predefined period without requiring you to pay down the balance of your loan. After the interest-only period ends, the loan reverts to paying Principle and Interest to pay off the remainder of the debt. 

Pros – The monthly repayments are comparatively lower as you are paying only the interest component on your home loan. This can be appealing to borrowers as lower monthly repayments create positive cash flow to put towards other investments, such as a business or another investment loan. 

Cons – You’re going to need to pay the principal of your loan at some point, so Interest Only Loans can make that more difficult by delaying the inevitable. Paying down your loan balance reduces your risk when it comes time to sell. If your property loses value during the interest-only period, then you could end up owing more than the property is worth, possibly requiring you to sell for a loss. 

Principle and Interest 

Most home loans require principal and interest repayments. The principal is the amount of money you have borrowed from the lender, and interest is what the lender charges on top. Your repayment will be divided into these two components, part of your payments the interest on your outstanding loan amount and other to pay off the balance of your loan. 

Introductory rate 

Some lenders may offer an introductory rate, providing the borrower with a discounted interest rate period. The discounted rate is applied at the beginning of your home loan for a predefined period. While these loans are popular, it’s important to note that typically, after the introductory period ends, the loan reverts to a standard variable rate where the interest rate is likely to be higher. 

Basis point 

Basis point, otherwise known as ‘bps’ or ‘bips,’ is a standard measurement unit commonly used to define changes in interest rates. A basis point equals 0.01% interest, and there are one hundred basis points in 1%. 

Redraw Facility 

Some loans will offer you a redraw facility. This feature allows you to make extra repayments on your loan, which will reduce the interest payable and the length of the loan. If down the track your financial circumstances unexpectedly change, you will be able to redraw those banked overpayment funds. 


A guarantee is given to the loan provider by a 3rd party on your behalf. Usually this maybe a family member or friend. Once they sign as a guarantor of the loan, they become legally responsible for your loan if you fail to make repayments. 


The technical definition of equity can be complicated. Simply, equity is the portion of your new home that belongs to you and not the bank. The value of your property minus the amount you owe on your home loan is your equity! 


The settlement is the date in which your purchase becomes finalized, and you take legal possession of your property. Commonly people use solicitors and conveyancers to assist them through the settlement process.

Drawdown date 

This is the date on which you first utilize the home loan! 

Credit report 

Everyone has a credit rating assigned to them. Your credit report contains your financial histories, such as details on your repayments on credit cards and previous loans. Your Lender will assess this report to gauge a clear understanding of your creditworthiness when you apply for a loan. 

LVR (Loan to value ratio)

This is simply the amount of money your loan will contribute to the purchase price of your new build.

For example, if you are purchasing an $800,000 home and you have saved $160,000 for your deposit. Your LVR is $640,000 or 80% (800k – 160k)

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) 

In the event your LVR is over 80%, you may be required to have Lenders Mortgage Insurance. This is because an LVR of more than 80% is a higher risk to the Lender.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance is designed as a safety net for your loan provider in the event you default, or there is a valuation shortfall when you sell the property. It will not protect you, only the Lender — the result of having to pay lenders mortgage insurance increase your monthly repayments. However, if you are having difficulty saving 20% of your home loan deposit, paying an LMI can help you enter the property market sooner. 

Stamp duty 

Stamp duty is the tax the government applies to property purchases. Few factors go into calculating stamp duty, and each state has its own levy, so it is essential to research what is relevant to your state. Some states offer first-home buyer benefits, which means you’ll pay no stamp duty. You can find more information on Stamp Duty in this article.

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21 Common Terms New Homebuyers Should Know When Building a Home

LANDCONNECT — 05 March 2020

21 Common Terms New Homebuyers Should Know When Building a Home

Get up to speed on the common words you’ll hear on your journey.

Property purchases are big and complex; there are boxes to tick, professionals to consult, negotiations to have, and forms to sign. And because this is far from a regular occurrence, first home buyers can feel like they’ve been thrown in the deep end, drowning in big numbers and odd words.

Thankfully there’s a way to simplify the process, make it more efficient and enjoyable, and ensure you secure the home you want at the price you want. All you need to do is learn the terms.

There are a wealth of property-specific words that you’ll only ever encounter as a property buyer and owner. Let’s take a look at 21 of the most common and confusing, and find out exactly what each means.

1. Appraisal 

The terms appraisal and valuation may seem to be used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. ‘Valuation’ is the formal process of placing a value on a property (often with legal standing), while an appraisal is more of an informal figure; an educated guess on the property value that can serve as a guide in several situations.

2. Body corporate fees/strata fees 

If you buy a unit, apartment, flat, villa or townhouse that shares common areas with other properties, the control and administration of these areas are governed by the body corporate; a group made up of the registered owners. Body corporate fees, otherwise called strata fees, ensure that these areas are maintained.

3. Comparison rate

The interest rate is the most important feature of any home loan, but it doesn’t tell the whole story – other fees will apply. The comparison rate adds these extra costs to the base interest rate, giving a consumer an idea of the ‘true’ cost of the loan, as well as the opportunity to quickly and easily compare loan against loan.

4. Contingencies 

Contingencies are conditions that must be met to finalise the purchase of a property, e.g., a loan must be approved.

5. Conveyancing 

Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of a property from one individual to another. In Australia, this can be done either through a lawyer or, more commonly, a specialist conveyancer.

6. Cooling off period 

This is a legally required period after a contract has been signed, during which the purchaser is able to cancel. The length of time depends on the sale and the state.

7. Escrow

Escrow is a contractual arrangement where money or property is transferred through a third party. This third party verifies the funds and holds them in a secure account for the seller, who then transfers the property to the buyer before receiving payment. An escrow account can also be set up by the lender to collect monthly payments from the buyer.

8. Fixed/Adjustable rates

A fixed rate and adjustable rate are the two main types of interest applied to mortgages. Fixed-rate mortgages charge a predetermined interest rate for a set period, or for the entirety of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage sees the interest rate change with the market but generally starts lower than a fixed rate.

9. Honey moon rate

The mortgage market is competitive, so lenders will try to entice customers by offering a honeymoon rate, in which a lower interest rate applies to the initial period of the loan, often 12 months. A higher than average rate can apply after the honeymoon period however, so research is important.

10. House and land package

This is where a volume builder offers a home built on a specific parcel of land. This can be one of the most cost-effective ways of buying a new home.

11. Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)

This is a type of insurance paid by the borrower to guard against the failure of the borrower to pay back the loan on time or in full. LMI is necessary when borrowers have less than a 20% deposit to put towards the home loan.

12. Offset account 

An offset account is a way to use your savings to reduce your interest payments. Any balance in this account offsets your principal (see below). If your mortgage is $350,000 and your offset account has $20,000 in it, you’ll only pay interest on $330,000 of your mortgage.

13. PPOR or Investment 

You can either buy a property as a PPOR – principal place of residence – or as an investment.

14. Pre-approval 

Before shopping for a home, you should seek pre-approval from your lender. This is a figure, usually announced in a formal pre-approval letter, that serves as an estimate of how much you’ll be able to borrow.

15. Principle

This is the amount of money you’ve borrowed to purchase a property. A mortgage is made up of two parts – the principal and the interest. The faster you pay the principal down, the less interest you’ll pay.

16. Refinancing

This is the process of restructuring your loan or replacing it with a new one, with different payment structures and rates. The purpose of refinancing is to find a way to pay less.

17. Site costs

Any cost related to preparing a site for construction is considered a site cost. These costs can include building permits, soil tests, builder’s insurance, temporary fencing, and any expenses related to actual works when preparing your site; things like slab upgrades, rock removal, and service installation.

18. Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a government tax on property purchases applied by each state. Stamp duty is calculated as a percentage and based on the total purchase price of the home. 

19. Builder standard inclusions 

Standard inclusions are the technical term used to describe the fixtures and fittings that are included in the price of a newly constructed home. Builders will also offer a range of upgrades that can dress up and customise a home.

20. Unconditional approval 

Unconditional approval is confirmation that your lender is committed to lending you money. While you can start shopping for a property when you get pre-approval, you’ll only be able to receive your funds – and therefore buy a house – when you get unconditional approval from your lender.

21. Valuation shortfall 

Valuation shortfall is a banking term that means the bank valuation is less than the price paid for a property and can see a lender offering less money than you need.

Your first property will almost definitely be the biggest purchase of your life. So while it will take a little time to familiarise yourself with the strange terms that you’ll encounter during the process, this investment, like that of the property itself, can pay itself back in a big way.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]