Owner Builders and the Wow Factor!
Whilst owner builders are not in the business of building and they are expected (legislated) to live in the home for a given period of time (normal between 5 and 7 years), they still need to be considerate of getting the wow factor into their design.
Our NSW and QLD owner builder course students often ask me what's the biggest selling feature in any home?
Apart from the old saying location, location, location, it is without a doubt bathrooms and kitchens which provide the greatest opportunity to wow any potential buyer.
Owner Builders whilst restricted in their opportunity to sell in the short term need to look at long term capital gains. This should also be considered when renovating or extending.
Today, we are a nation that places enormous value on our climate and access to open spaces. Thoughtful attention to al fresco areas can pay big dividends in the ultimate sale of a property. Think about how the indoor and outdoor spaces connect and their use ability across the range of weather conditions your particular site will encounter across the seasons.
Owner Builders who include design elements that allow open spaces in the home to be used year round normally see greater capital gain and realise higher prices on resale. Outdoor kitchens, heating, lighting, cooling and shades or weather covering are all important in getting that true wow factor in your owner builder project.
When it comes to kitchens, don't skimp in this area. Think about the usability and flow of the kitchen, placement of appliances to work spaces and how the area works with the adjacent living spaces.
More and more the trend is towards open plan living in contemporary design, but if you have a heritage or traditional theme this may not be appropriate.
Quality appliances, modern splash back treatments and the accentuation of natural timbers and light can really make a kitchen pop.
Have you got room for a butlers pantry?
Does the space fit your own family needs?
Do you need/want formal and informal dining options?
All of these questions require consideration when you are planning your owner builder project.
With bathrooms and powder rooms, the more the merrier. It is true that the more bathrooms, ensuites, powder rooms and wet areas add true value to any property.
Use quality fittings, the best you can afford and look for inspiration in tile showrooms, trade journals and design magazines.
The big sellers in bathrooms are certainly frameless glass treatments, double showers, rainwater head shower roses, free standing baths double basins.
Consider lighting and ventilation of these areas and where possible maximise the views form any bathroom or ensuite without compromising privacy.
While you are planning your owner builder project, we always suggest that you start a portfolio or scrapbook of ideas you like and things you see. Visit display homes and building display centers, but be mindful of copyright issues.
The design phase of any project can be incredibly rewarding, and this is especially so for owner builders. There is nothing quite like being able to sit back and say, "I designed that!"
Keep an eye out for our next owner builder blog post and in the meanwhile ...
A good rule of thumb is for the kitchen and bathroom costs to each be 2-3% of the total cost of the final project.
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Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.