Points to consider before you start building

Private Property South Africa
Property Power

Some useful tips to make sure you're in the know, before you start building a home.

  • Establish from various builders, what the average building rate is per m2. This will depend on the finishes that you choose. A builder cannot give you an exact price per m2 without the plans, because a square structure will cost less per m2, than a complex shape, but get an approximate figure per m2. In doing so, you can decide how big the house can be for you to be able to afford it.

  • Measure your current home and establish exactly what your requirements are. Before you know it, you are going to be running around between architect and builder to come to terms with what exact size (m2) it is that you can afford to build. When measuring your home, take the length and width of a room, multiply these sizes by each other and that will give you the m2 of the room. Add all your rooms together and make your own calculations of more or less what sizes you are going to require for which rooms. Remember to make provision for the size of the walls, because square meter calculations are made from outside the exterior walls.

  • Read through the "Management Rules and Regulations" or "Home Owners Association Building Guides" or whatever the estate or complex you are buying into calls it (if you are buying into such a complex). These regulations are enforceable because the offer to purchase that you signed was more than likely subject to the terms contained in such rules. The building guides are formulated to protect the owners of the estate or complex and regulate things like building entertainment areas only on the north-eastern side of the stand, or screening walls to screen washing lines or certain materials that may not be used, or regulations regarding the size of the building, and so on.

  • If you do not take the above 3 steps into consideration before you start your building "expedition", you are going to waste money on plans from an architect, which you cannot use. The architect will design a beautiful home that blows you away and then when you get the quotation from the builder to build this home, you realise that you cannot afford it, because it is too big. Now you would have to pay the architect for these unusable drawings.

  • When selecting the architect, engineer, builder, plumber, electrician, and so on, ask for a list of their previous clients. Make sure that you check their workmanship and speak to their previous clients to find out whether they where happy with the work done.

  • Budgeting for building your home is very tricky. Make provision for at least 20% more than the estimated cost, for unforeseen costs. Also keep in mind the cost of your boundary walls, paving, landscaping, pool and any other costs not directly related to the building of the actual house.

  • Exercise caution before buying a stand in an area that still has to be proclaimed as this may never take place, or may take years. Check with your local municipality on the date. Transfer of your stand into your name will only take place on Proclamation of the land, after which you may be liable to pay double rates and taxes until you start building. This is to force owner to start building as soon as possible. Proclamation means that the local authority (municipality) formally confers suburb status on a new area (formally farms lands or the like). This means that the authority will provide water, electricity, sewerage, refuse collection and other essential services.

Some of the above points may be time consuming for you in the beginning, but it may save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

This article originally appeared in Property Power 11th Edition Magazine. To order your copy at the discounted price of R120 click here.

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