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Is It Cheaper to Buy a House or Build One? 2024 Costs Comparison
Is It Cheaper to Buy a House or Build One? 2024 Costs Comparison

For many buyers, the journey toward finding a forever home to settle down and build a life around comes down to the eventual question of ‘should I buy or build a house?’. Among the various differences between the two options, cost is invariably going to be the largest contributing answer to whether you should build or buy. With costs continuing to rise across Australia for both house building and house purchases, we’re here to help you find out if it’s cheaper to build or buy a house in 2024. Cost considerations when buying a house The national Home Value Index has been rising for 14 months in a row now, with a recent uptick of 0.6% in March 2024. As a result, buying a house in Australia is becoming more and more expensive. But it’s not just the value of homes that are the cause of this increase. On average, the costs of buying a house range from 7 and 11% of the purchase price. For example, for a home valued at $500,000, buyers can expect to pay between $35,000 and $55,000 in extra fees in addition to the price of the home. Here are some of the most important cost considerations for buying a home:  Stamp duty Stamp duty is a tax levied by the state government based on a percentage of the house purchase value. It is required payment on the buyer’s end that varies from state to state. Some stamp duty concessions may be available to first-home buyers, and it’s important to take stamp duty into account as it can often cost as much as hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Land tax Land tax is an annual levy on the land that the property sits on. The amount is based on a certain value threshold and will change depending on where you live. Potential repairs Depending on the state and age of the property when it is bought, repairs may need to be made to upkeep the property, the cost of which can run into thousands of dollars. It’s not uncommon for major issues to surface much later after having lived in the house for some time. Property inspection fees These are the charges incurred for property assessment services by experts to identify any potential flaws before purchase. They are a required cost and a critical part of the purchase process, as they ensure that buyers are informed about the property's condition. Cost considerations when building a new home Building costs for a new home are likewise rising all across Australia, due to shifts in the market for labour and construction materials. According to the ABS’ findings in 2020, almost half of new residential dwellings (44.9%) cost more to build than they were approved for. Here are the essential cost considerations for building a new home: Materials The quality of materials chosen for the construction can significantly affect both the initial expenses and long-term maintenance costs of building a new home. More durable materials will usually have a higher upfront cost, while cheaper materials are more prone to frequent maintenance. Site considerations The site condition of the new home can impact the overall construction cost. Typically, a soil test will be done on the property to determine if more work needs to be done to set a proper foundation for construction to begin. Poorer soil quality will require a higher-grade foundation that costs more, while a sloping surface of the block will require excavation work and the addition of retaining walls, which also incurs more costs. Landscaping Proper landscaping is an often overlooked part of building a new home. Depending on the work that needs to be done, the cost of landscaping can come as a surprise to some home builders. Cost of living while the build occurs Building a new home can take months, extending to over a year, and home builders will need to factor in the cost of accommodation and transport during that time as they wait for the new home build to be completed. Is it cheaper to build a home or buy an existing one? No two homes are alike, and it’s difficult to directly compare whether it’s cheaper to build a home or to buy an existing one. However, there are a number of benefits that homeowners get with a new home build that simply can’t be obtained by buying an existing house, from customisation in terms of the style of the home, to the inclusion of more efficient energy saving designs, and in many cases, an overall more cost-effective way to create their dream home – not to mention a builders warranty for your peace of mind.  At John Munro Builder, we offer the chance for future homeowners looking to build a house in Townsville and North Queensland. Browse our Townsville house and land packages today and build your future home with us!

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Budgeting for a New Home Build: A Guide
Budgeting for a New Home Build: A Guide

Budgeting for a new home build can be a daunting task, especially as a first home owner. Many land purchasers underestimate the various costs that are involved with building a home, such as the land and construction costs, and as a result, find themselves facing surprise costs upon completion of the home.  To avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your finances, it’s crucial to understand what goes into budgeting for a new home build. This guide will provide an overview of the key considerations when creating a budget for a new home, as well as what costs should be accounted for when you’re building a new home. The importance of a budget when building a new home With building costs rising all across Australia due to shifts in the market for labour and construction materials, it’s not unheard of for builds to exceed their estimated costs by 10-20%. Adding to this, surprise issues arising throughout construction, such as poor soil quality or resource shortages, can often raise costs further. While a budget won’t account for every unknown factor, it is still the best way to prepare and plan when building a new home. Having a budget provides a basis on which to decide the size, layout, and other aspects of your future home. Considerations while creating a budget There are several key considerations to keep in mind when creating a budget for a new home build:  The main goal of your budget – figuring out what costs it will cover Any non-negotiable elements to include in the new home build Inclusions and exclusions that apply with the chosen builder The amount of financing available (with pre-approval) Having as much confirmation of the above considerations will help to solidify a budget with confidence. It’s also important to remember that while builders will often provide an estimate of the costs involved, the actual costs involved can vary significantly, so you’re better off using these quotes as a guide, rather than take them at exact dollar value. What should be included in a new home build budget?  Building a new house will incur costs that can vary from state to state, from builder to builder. The costs involved in a new home budget will typically fall into the following categories:  Land costs The land a new home will sit on will usually come as a separate cost, unless it has already been included in the case of a house and land package. The cost of land is affected by size and location, and is an essential cost that should be included in a new home budget. Site preparation costs also fall under this category. Depending on the nature and condition of the soil on the plot of land, it may need to undergo additional preparation to provide a stable and proper foundation for the home construction.  Construction costs Construction costs account for the builder’s work in putting the new home together. Such costs may be included in a building package or included as separate costs for materials and labour, so it’s important to clarify with the builder as to whether they will need to be accounted for in the new home build budget. Permit fees  Each state in Australia has its own requirements for building a home, along with specific building and development permits that will need to be applied for and obtained as part of the home building process. Considering that the cost of applying for these permits can add up to quite a sum, they should be included in the budget for the home build.  Additional costs  Home builds are large-scale projects with many moving parts, and it’s more than likely that some additional expenses will be incurred along the way, whether due to late-stage modifications to the home or due to a material shortage. In any case, it’s a safe option to include a buffer of 10-20% in a new home build budget for such allowances. Build your dream home with John Munro Builder Building a budget is an organic process that can change throughout the new home build planning process. Speaking to an experienced builder is a good starting point for understanding the different elements that will form the budget for a new home.  If you are considering building a new home in North QLD, John Munro Builder is a leading Townsville home builder trusted by local residents for high-quality, well-designed homes. We can provide expert advice that will inform your new home build budget and help you create your dream home.

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Knockdown Rebuild vs. Renovate - Which is Right for You?
Knockdown Rebuild vs. Renovate - Which is Right for You?

Looking to revamp your home and stuck between rebuilding and renovating? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. For tens of thousands of Aussies, choosing between renovating and rebuilding their home will be a consideration at some point in their home ownership. But when it comes to choosing between renovating and rebuilding, which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of each option, as well as the factors that you must consider before choosing between renovating and rebuilding your home. Factors to Consider when choosing between knockdown rebuild and renovate Age of the home  The issues that many homeowners have with older homes extend to both aesthetics and functionality. In cases where age has begun to wear down the core structure of the house, a fresh coat of paint or cosmetic renovation project will not be sufficient to extend the lifespan of the house. As such, building a new home is generally favoured over renovating, when it comes to a home with old bones.  Extent of desired renovations Renovations are ideal for targeted changes to parts of the home, like the bathroom, or the kitchen. If your idea for a renovation project is going to cover a vast majority of the property’s spaces, you may want to reconsider going ahead with it. A renovation project is only efficient (costs and results-wise) on a smaller scale, and if you are going to remodel the entire house, you may as well get the best result with a completely new house. Restrictions on renovationS Some council areas have restrictions on what you are allowed to change in your home. The more extensive your renovation, the higher the chances are that you may run into some problems obtaining the necessary permits to go ahead with it. This is mainly applicable for structural changes to the building, as these could potentially lead to the development of structural issues. Timeframe for completing the project Timeframes for renovation project completion will usually be much shorter than building a new home, owing to the fact that the former is a modification to the existing property, while the latter involves constructing the home from scratch. Keep in mind that most simple renovations can take from a few weeks to a month to complete, while knockdown rebuilds or new builds can take up to a year or more. How long you intend to live in the property If you are choosing to live in the property as your forever home, then a knockdown rebuild should be your choice. Knockdown rebuilds give you the opportunity to create a home that perfectly suits your needs and preferences and will provide a brand new property upon completion. Conversely, if you have plans to move elsewhere sometime in the late future, a quicker and cheaper renovation project may be good enough to make the property comfortable in the short term.  Pros and cons of renovating and rebuilding Renovating and rebuilding a property each have their own pros and cons, and it will ultimately be up to you as a homeowner to decide which option best suits your needs. Pros of renovating your home Relatively shorter timeframe Improve selected areas of the home No need to relocate out of the home during building Relatively cheaper option Cons of renovating your home Building activity be disruptive May not add as much value to your home as you expect Can potentially uncover hidden problems within the home that need fixing Pros of rebuilding or building a new home Opportunity to create a home that perfectly meets your needs and wants Ability to build a quality home with the latest building materials and technologies Long term investment that offers long-lasting value Cost savings with energy efficient building designs and technology Cons of rebuilding your home Higher upfront cost Longer project timeframe Need to live elsewhere while it is being rebuilt Knockdown Rebuild vs. Renovate - Which is Right for You? So, which is the better option for you, to do a knockdown rebuild or a renovation? In summary, a knockdown rebuild for your home is more valuable when you are planning to live in it for a long time, and are willing to invest in a property that meets your needs. Renovations are better suited for smaller changes to certain parts of your home that need a refresh. At John Munro Builder, we excel at building new homes for homeowners in Townsville. If you are looking to rebuild your home, take a look at our new home designs. Contact us today to find out how we can build the home of your dreams!

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How Much Does A Kitchen Renovation Cost in Australia?
How Much Does A Kitchen Renovation Cost in Australia?

The costs alone are one of the main barriers for homeowners who are looking to upgrade their kitchen with a renovation. However, renovating costs can vary enormously, and can often be completed while sticking to a budget. As the most popular type of home improvement, kitchen renovations can range from a simple update of cabinets and drawers to a full-scale overhaul, and understanding how much your ideal kitchen renovation may cost can help you make a more informed decision. In this article, we will shed some light on the average cost of kitchen renovation in Australia, as well as how different renovation elements in the kitchen can impact the costs and timeframe.  Average cost of kitchen renovations in Australia In 2017, a survey conducted by Houzz.com.au revealed that almost one out of every four (23%) homeowners who had a kitchen renovation spent upwards of $40,000 in costs. The largest proportion of homeowners (38%) in this survey spent between $20,000 to $40,000 on kitchen renovations.  Looking at the data we have now for 2024, the average cost for kitchen renovations has increased slightly, but not too far out of sight. Here are the average costs for the different scales of kitchen renovations in 2024: Small/budget kitchen renovation cost range: $15,000 - $30,000 Mid-size kitchen renovation price range: $25,000 - $40,000 Large/premium kitchen renovation cost: $50,000+ It’s important to note that these costs should be used as estimates to help you budget for your kitchen renovation, and not relied on as industry-standard prices. As for how long it will take to renovate a kitchen, it will again depend on the size and extent of your renovation project. On average, most kitchen renovations will take between 6-9 weeks to complete. Factors that impact the cost of kitchen renovations When it comes to kitchen renovations, budgeting is your best friend. Be sure to accurately plan what you’re planning to shell out for, to avoid any nasty surprises when the bill comes in.  Size of your kitchen Having a large kitchen is a luxury in itself, but when it comes to renovation, bigger spaces typically mean more work, and consequently, higher costs. Unless you’re only looking at changing isolated aspects of your kitchen, like having a bigger sink or replacing the countertop material, the size of your kitchen will definitely contribute to the overall renovation cost. Extent of works carried out (remodel vs. rebuild) A complete tear-down and rebuild job to change the entire layout of your kitchen will incur higher costs compared to a surface-level refresh. Rebuilding your kitchen will also significantly lengthen the time taken for the renovation to complete, so you should consider sticking to improving your current kitchen’s layout instead of starting from scratch if time and finances are a concern. New fittings and fixtures required Having new cabinets across your whole kitchen can add a lot of value in terms of utility and design style. Likewise, implementing new fixtures like lighting or shelves can add to the natural flow of your kitchen. The more fittings and fixtures you add or replace in your kitchen, the more you should expect to pay. Custom vs. off-the-shelf cabinets & joinery To add to what we’ve mentioned about fittings, there’s also the decision of whether to have custom-made cabinets or simply install standard ones off the shelf. Custom cabinet designs are the premium option and will add to the cost of kitchen renovation, but they also come with the benefit of being customised to fit your kitchen’s space and functionality. Quality of fittings and equipment Opting for higher-quality materials for your fittings like stone or timber finishes area great way to ensure their durability, but they will come at a premium price. You pay for what you get, so you’ve got to weigh up the upfront costs vs long term durability. Electrical/plumbing works required In some cases, electrical or plumbing services may be necessary to reroute existing power and water systems to better-positioned areas in your kitchen. Don’t forget to account for this when planning renovation costs as these issues may not appear during the planning phase, but can arise unexpectedly as construction is carried out. Quality of workmanship Last but not least, the expertise of the renovation builder who puts all of the above elements together will make a huge difference in the final result of your kitchen renovation. Higher quality building services will command higher prices, but it’s well worth the cost. After all, no one wants a half-baked kitchen renovation result. Final thoughts Like any large project, managing the cost of kitchen renovations is the key to a successful home improvement project that not only raises the value of your home but also makes it more comfortable and convenient. If you have a home in Townsville and North Queensland and are looking for a reliable home builder to carry out your kitchen renovation, look no further than our team at John Munro Builder. We offer home building renovations for properties in Townsville and can help you create a kitchen space that is both aesthetic, functional, and within your budget.

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Your Guide to Buying Land and Building Later in Townsville
Your Guide to Buying Land and Building Later in Townsville

Find out how you can secure your piece of the burgeoning Townsville property market with our comprehensive guide to buy land and build later in Townsville. In this article, we’ll look at the process for buying now and building later, the key factors that you should consider, a guide to the purchasing process, specific local considerations for the Townsville and broader North Queensland market, as well as important lifestyle and practicality considerations that you should consider throughout the process. Table of Contents Why buy land and build later? Key factors to consider Location Size Building Regulations Government grants Townsville-specific considerations Why buy land and build later?  Purchasing a block of land in Townsville today with the intention of building within the next 1-2 years is an ideal way to secure land for your dream build. With buy land now, build later freedom, buyers have the opportunity to effectively separate the purchase process into buy and build – buying time to plan, save, and make an action plan for building. The buy now, build later approach to home ownership in Townsville affords buyers greater control over finances, as well as more control over the home’s design for a tailored, budget-conscious approach. The slower pace of the transaction ensures that the final construction aligns with the buyer's vision, and there are fewer time constraints on builders so that they can source the right materials for the project.  Key factors to consider with buy now, build later  Weighing up the right place to buy and build in Townsville can be tricky. There are a number of important considerations that buyers should keep in mind, these include: Location & lifestyle Buy now, build later means that buyers have the opportunity to build their dream home and their ideal location. For buyers, this means finding vacant lots of land that are close to school, work, and other amenities in Townsville. With the value of land steadily increasing, buyers are also afforded the insurance of an appreciating asset should circumstances change before the build commences.  Size and space The size of the land is a crucial consideration for buyers. Before buying land, it’s a good idea to consult with your prospective builder to understand the requirements and restrictions that may exist at your desired location. Space considerations mean understanding natural light, and specific outlooks that buyers wish to capture from different rooms in the house before building. Local building codes and restrictions One of the key advantages of building on vacant land is the freedom afforded to buyers. However, it’s important to consider that these freedoms aren’t limitless, and they still must comply with local building codes and regulations. In Townsville, most building and construction work will require a permit which is assessed against the relevant building codes. Government grants If you’re looking at building and owning your very own home for the first time, the First Home Owners Grant in QLD is something that you should definitely keep in mind. This government grant awards a sizable cash grant to those looking to buy or build their first home. As of the writing of this article, the grant amount has been doubled to $30,000 for eligible first-home buyers, making it a key consideration. To add to the above grant amount, you can also claim a concession for transfer duty when buying a vacant plot of land to build your first home. This is done under the First Home Vacant Land Concession. When buying land that is valued under $400,000, this concession can help you save on transfer duty costs of up to $7,175. Add both of these grants together, and you’ll have a sizable reason to start buying that plot of land in Townsville you’ve been eyeing for a while now.  Townsville-specific considerations Buying and building on new land in Townsville comes with specific considerations for the local market. The size and positioning of the land is crucial for determining things like space and features like pools or gardens. Orientation, where your home faces and the direction of natural sunlight, breezes, and outlook are also key considerations for Townsville’s notoriously hot conditions. Considerations such as positioning of rooms and outdoor spaces within the house are all points that you can work with a builder to determine based on your block of land. Natural factors specific to Townsville such as land elevation, type of soil, and bushfire ratings by area are also factors that should be considered and can even be used as a bargaining tool when purchasing vacant blocks of land. Aligning the local considerations with your overall budget and subsequent construction is crucial to ensure you get the most out of your build and can accurately project expenses once the land has been purchased. Final thoughts Buy now, build later in Townsville presents a lucrative opportunity for buyers to secure land that suits their building and lifestyle goals, while affording the freedom of building a dream space. In spite of the local market’s median house prices increasing by more than 20% over the past three years, Townsville continues to offer buyers relative affordability against national averages, coupled with increased rental yields. With the renowned laid back lifestyle and year-round tropical weather, Townsville’s positive real estate trends make buying land and building later a strategic approach real estate for buyers looking to invest or live in Townsville.

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How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Home
How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Home

As your new house is going through the design process, you may be wondering how to choose the right lighting for your home. While lighting may not be the first or most urgent thing that comes to mind when you’re planning to move into a newly built home, it’s certainly one of the most important. To make sure you get the ambience, function, and mood that you want from your home, you need a well-designed lighting plan. In this article, we’ll explain how to choose lighting for your home and the main priorities to consider in the process. When Do You Choose the Lighting in Your Home? If you’re ordering custom lighting and need fittings to be shipped and installed, it’s best to arrange for delivery at least a month before your lights are scheduled for installation. Getting in early allows for delays due to availability and shipping and helps ensure you get what you want, when you want. So, what does that mean for the home-building timeline? Pretty much as soon as construction gets underway, we recommend getting in touch with your builder and inquiring about lighting installation. Once they give you a date, aim to choose and order your light fixtures and fittings as soon as possible so they arrive in time for installation. How to Choose Lighting for Your Home Choosing lighting for your home isn’t just about looks. When done well, a good lighting layout can add value to your home. To conceive your lighting plan, we recommend considering: The Type of Lighting You Need  Each type of lighting serves a different purpose. It’s worth getting to know these three types: Ambient lighting is intended to illuminate the space so you can move around safely. Task lighting lights up a specific part of the room, like a desk or chair. Accent lighting provides mood lighting for specific areas or purposes, such as led strip lighting. When planning your lighting layout, we recommend having at least one of each type of light source in every room, especially the living room. The Warmth and Colour of the Light Bulb Luckily, this part is easy to swap out later. Measured in Kelvin (K), light bulb warmth and colour play a significant role in the mood of your home. Warm bulbs (2700K–3000K) create a cosy, inviting atmosphere, best used in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. Cool bulbs (3100K–4500K) feel clean and modern and are best used in kitchens, bathrooms, and work areas. Daylight bulbs (5000K–6500K) offer bright natural light, perfect for study areas and home office The Type of Fittings The type of fitting you choose for each room depends on the type of lighting you need, the atmosphere you want, and the functionality and convenience you require. Sconces are small, mostly decorative light fixtures mounted directly to the wall. Flush and semi-flush mounts are ambient lights embedded in the ceiling or joinery. Pendants are task lights that hang from the ceiling by a cord or chain. Chandeliers are large lighting systems that hang from the ceiling and use more than one light source. Lamps — whether for the floor or table — are good task lights, as they are easy to move around to different locations.  The Ceiling Height When you think about floor plans, it’s usually the width and length you look at. But don’t forget about height! Ceiling height will affect the dimensions of the space that needs to be illuminated, so it’s an important consideration for lighting plans. We recommend recessed lighting, table lamps, track lighting, and wall sconces if you have low ceilings. Meanwhile, high ceilings may be best off with lights that provide good illumination and visual interest. We recommend floor lamps, pendant lights, and chandeliers. Don’t Forget About Natural Light When you’re choosing the type and warmth of bulbs and thinking about electricity costs, it can be easy to forget that natural lighting plays a huge role in your home’s ambience. Ask yourself: where are your windows located? How big are they, and what direction are they facing? Some tips to utilise natural light (and save energy) are: Use well-placed mirrors to reflect the light coming through the window Install a skylight Use light-filtering curtains and window treatments Utilising natural light contributes to sustainability and energy savings, so making the most of it is well worth your efforts. General Lighting Tips Don’t neglect lighting outdoor areas like pathways and driveways when choosing lighting for your home. Use LED bulbs. They last longer than other bulb types and use up to 80% less energy. Stick to one style throughout the house but alternate between fittings, i.e., combine flush mounts with floor lamps. Don’t get Kelvin and Lumens mixed up — Kelvin measures the colour temperature and Lumens the brightness of a light bulb.  Final Thoughts Choosing the right lighting for your home is a task that takes careful calculation, patience, and advice from trusted friends and unbiased professionals. At John Munro Builder, we can provide the latter. As we build your house from a catalogue of stylish, modern home designs, we’ll be happy to have a conversation about how to choose the lighting for your home. Once that’s all sorted, we’ll install your lighting plan, and you’ll enjoy your newly-built, well-lit home!

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Exterior Renovation

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