[Interview] New Home Building on the Gold Coast
Take a listen to Nathan Dunn from Stroud Homes Gold Coast talk about some considerations and tips if you are looking to build a new home around the Gold Coast region.
Mick: Thanks and welcome back to Stroud Homes. I’m talking with Nathan from Stroud Homes on the Gold Coast. Ideally, if you’re listening in today, you’re interested in building and what it takes to build on the Gold Coast. I grew up on the Gold Coast. I used to love the beach life and going to the surf club and then the rivers and access to the hills and things like that. Quick stats I’m going to give you about the Gold Coast, it has basically a population over 500,000. It’s actually the 6th largest city in Australia with an international airport, so you can dive overseas. Something I didn’t know, obviously lots of beaches but as I actually look at the stats here, there’s actually 70 kilometers of beaches. The visitor count on the Gold Coast tourism website is they hit 10 million folks through the Gold Coast every year in tourism. It’s a pretty happening spot; I reckon it’s a beautiful part of the world. Have you always been on the Gold Coast, what’s your background on the Gold Coast, Nathan?
Nathan: Myself, I’ve never lived there but obviously holidaying and as we grew up, going there most weekends and enjoying the great lifestyle it offers. I don’t actually live here myself but now working and basically playing on the Gold Coast and building our homes for our wonderful Gold Coast people.
Mick: Fantastic. So what’s some of the favorite things about the Gold Coast that you really enjoy?
Nathan: I just think we live in one of the best regions in Australia. We got the best beaches, the ideal climate, just a fantastic lifestyle that the Gold Coast offers.
Mick: Okay. I know the Commonwealth Games is coming up. Is it starting to build a buzz at in the community there at the moment?
Nathan: Yeah there’s a lot of anticipation. It’s obviously a huge event for the Gold Coast and it’s a really big coup, so I just think there is a lot of positivity around the place and people are really excited about what the Commonwealth Games will bring and having that local flavor to it with having it in Australia and what the opportunities it will bring for the area.
Mick: It’s a pretty long strip, the Gold Coast. There’s the hills behind it, so there’s a fair few different areas with each have their own little flavor and sort of local feel to it. Is there a couple of different areas where you guys are building at the moment that you want to highlight to folks listening?
Nathan: We’re actually have our display home which is opening this Saturday, the 19th of July. We’re positioned in Pimpama but we’re building in Pimpama, at Coomera and a really popular spot at the moment is Gilston, which is at the back of Nerang but we’re not restricted in any particular area but they’re the hot spots at the moment but we can obviously build right down to Tweed Heads. [If you’re looking to build in the Tweed or Northern Rivers regions speak with Stroud Homes Tweed Heads.
Mick: There’s a real growth area, the back part of the Gold Coast and then up towards, as you start moving into Logan and Brisbane. If you look at all the state planning, that’s a huge growth area in that section there. What are some of the infrastructure there that is attracting folks?
Nathan: Pimpama is really a suburb on the move. It’s been waiting in the wings for quite some time and it’s really just coming online now. There is a broad planning scheme in place and there’s going to be some massive capital injection happening, so there’s quite a few estates coming on board, lots of transport, educational and shopping infrastructure to be built in the area. There really is a lot happening, especially at Pimpama, so it’s a really great place for families to come and plant some roots.
Mick: How close is that to Dreamworld? I guess folks who are listening they might not know necessarily where Pimpama is but they might know where the theme parks are. Where is it in relation to the major theme parks?
Nathan: It’s a stone’s throw away from Dreamworld, basically. It’s about a 5-minute drive down the road. It’s got a lot going for it, as I say people love going to the theme parks. It’s right at the doorstep there.
Mick: The family life, and I guess it’s important for folks these days too, is just cost of living and affordability. How’s the Gold Coast sort of right for those sort of aspect?
Nathan: Look, at the moment I think families are really spoilt for choice on the Gold Coast Land. It’s very affordable right now, offering some of the smaller flatter blocks which are easy to build on. There is a lot of savings there when you buy flat lands. In fact you can actually purchase a block right now and Gainsborough Greens for as little as $290,000; coupled with one of our beautiful fully loaded Stroud Homes, you can be living the dream for as little as $380,000. The Gold Coast is a great affordable place to raise a family.
Mick: Great. A big thing for family is the local schools and access to education. If we talk about Gainsborough Green, what’s the sort of local access to education there?
Nathan: There’s numerous local schools basically within 5 minutes drive. It’s really handy to drop the kids off in the morning, head to work. It’s all at your fingertips. You don’t have to be driving too far to all the amenities.
Mick: What are the projections for growth in that area? Is there statistics out there so a person will know they’re buying into an area that’s going to have capital growth and is going to have investment in infrastructure?
Nathan: Recent figures brought up by 2 property insight are suggesting 4% growth within the next 12 months. That’s ideally very attractive to move into an area and have that in the back of your mind that it is a sound investment and that you are going to get good returns over on your investment.
Mick: Yeah because it is a big concern because even if you’re buying it as your own home rather than an investment property, it’s still one of biggest investments any of us makes. Having that sort of security is pretty sought after.
Mick: Whether you’re buying on the Gold Coast or other areas, and I guess maybe the Gold Coast has its own especially things you sort of know about, but when you’re starting out looking for a new home build, what are some of the things you can do to make sure you get it right the first time?
Nathan: There’s a few vital things you can do, Mick, to get the edge and ensure success. Probably #1 is to get sound financial advice. Start the process with a reputable and experienced mortgage broker, a banker. It really comes down to the local knowledge because each region I guess you really need that ear to the ground. We can obviously assist our clients with that. We work closely with some local mortgage brokers. I strongly suggest speaking with them as early as possible. It just takes the stress out of what you’re able to do and what you’re capable of achieving when you’re out there looking for a house and land.
Mick: Okay, so that will give you like an initial budget range then to help you sort of narrow down your options?
Nathan: Yeah, ultimately you really need to know what your overall capacity is when purchasing. I think that’s critical. You don’t want to go in blind, so to speak. I think the earliest you can speak to someone about what you can achieve, I think it just takes the stress away.
Nathan: I really think you need a bit of fat in the deal too. Obviously once you have a nice brand new home you do have to landscape, do the landscaping and fencing. Also I think it’s always nice to have a bit of nice new furniture in the home too.
Mick: I know people that have moved in and the mattress is on the floor for the first few weeks.
Nathan: Yeah. I think it’s always nice, as I said, if you’re in a nice new house to have a few items that are brand new.
Mick: Alright, so we need to get our financing, our budget squared away fairly early in the process. What would be the next thing to try and tackle?
Nathan: If you don’t have your land, I think it’s good to obviously ask the builder and get him engage pretty early when you’re selecting the land. They usually have the experience and know-how to advise you on the land and there sometimes can be hidden side cost which could cost you a fair bit of money. The builder should steer you away from making poor land choice. What we do at Stroud Homes is we actually provide obligation for your land evaluation because we know it’s not our only price alone that you should be taking into account. Experience is one thing that you can’t buy for nothing. I would definitely recommend getting the builder involved early on when selecting your land.
Mick: Okay and you guys are happy to do that, if someone’s got a block they’re thinking off, you’ll come out and give them a quick assessment of what you think of it as a builder?
Nathan: Definitely. We can give you a fairly good idea of what sort of costs are involved with building on that particular land, taking into account all the services to the site or cut and fill and we might even be able to know what sort of soil type that is common in the area. All those things sort of add up to being well advised so you can make the right decision.
Mick: Alright Nathan, I guess next step is you actually got to then choose what you’re going to build, so you need a design or a plan to go with. There’s so many different plans out there – how do you weigh them up against each other and choose the right house for yourself?
Nathan: I just think you need to do research and compare apples for apples, know exactly what you’re getting. Not all builders are the same. Their standard inclusion levels can vary and it’s not a decision to rush through. You really need to know what you’re getting, what the standard inclusion level is of the builder (take a look at Stroud Homes’ standard inclusions), so you’re basically not starting out with an empty deal and then getting hit for loading a lot of inclusions in after you’ve been given the initial price.
Mick: What about getting references or speaking to other people who have built with that builder. Would you recommend doing that as an early step in choosing the design?
Nathan: Yeah I think it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and find out about the builder. It’s as easy as just asking for some references from the builder about client testimonials or just asking your friends and family if you’ve heard of the builder. (Take a look at some of our customer reviews)
Mick: Sometimes, and we’re probably going back more about 10 years ago, but the Gold Coast had a fairly bad rep for interstate purchases of land and developers and being out of touch with prices and things like that. What are some of the tricks you’ve seen developers and builders use around pricing?
Nathan: Lots of builders have some smart sales tactics. You’ve got to be a little bit dubious about huge giveaways and free inclusions that seem to be too good to be true, because most of the time they are. They price that you see advertised isn’t always a true indication of what you’ll ultimately be paying for. It’s a bit of a 3-step pricing system that some builders work on.
Mick: What happens there? The day you meet with them with the contract in front of you, all of a sudden there’s a different price on the contract?
Nathan: Yeah. It can sort of come from left field. They might add a whole lot of contingencies in there or trying to cost items or provisional sums that can leave you open to getting hit for additional cost as the build goes by.
Mick: To guard yourself against that, when you’re talking to the builder and you’re looking at prices and you’re looking at the different designs, is there a couple of things you can do to sort of head that off at the pass?
Nathan:You really need to be asking for a fixed-price contract. That way the builder is committed to doing what he says on budget. Basically what sets us apart, Mick, is at Stroud Homes we begin from basically a high inclusion level, which is almost turnkey, albeit the fencing and landscape.
Mick: Let’s go back on turnkey, for folks who don’t know the terminology and things like that, can you just expand on that? Does that mean you basically get the key from the builder and you walk in and everything is completely finished and done and everything you need is there? Is that what you mean?
Nathan: Yeah that pretty much explains our fully loaded inclusions, so you’re getting everything, albeit the landscaping and the fencing. Some people want to do their landscaping and they want to get other people to do it for them. You’re really getting that piece of mind when you move in that everything is taken care of. You’re starting from a very high inclusion level. That’s where we think as a responsible builder who really has our client’s interest at heart, that that’s the kind of level that we want to be handing out houses over to our clients.
Mick: What are the other reasons, what are some of the other key differences for Stroud Homes or some of the benefits and features that you guys offer?
Nathan: We offer genuine quick start rewards to our clients. We deal with different suppliers. They come to us from time to time and offer us a new product or a reduced price item that they’d like to put out to market. We’re able to offer that to our clients. Sometimes it can be very attractive to our clients. That’s what we offer as far as a bit of an incentive to get people to build with us. Not only that, we reward our clients by not changing our standard plans. We have again, additional things like a new fridge or entertainment packages from time to time that we’re able to offer our clients, which can be a real sweetener on the deal. We tend to offer genuine rewards that people really get excited by it. Everyone likes something for free.
Mick: Yeah absolutely.
Nathan: That’s what we value.
Mick: Nathan, what feedback do you get from customers and people who are looking at your designs, about how they relate to our local sort of environment here in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and entertaining culture, I’d guess you’ll say.
Nathan: I really think that we offer a better product and obviously service for our customers. I really think we have unique homes that work in unison with our fantastic Queensland climate. We focus on capturing our indoors-outdoors lifestyle and our aim is to take advantage of this in our design and also siding the home to position the living rooms in that northern usually aspect. We just manage to find the right fit for the family, the block and the budget. (Take a look at our extensive range of new home designs)
Mick: Okay, I guess there’s a bit of an art to that. How long does it take to build a house?
Nathan: What sets us apart at Stroud Homes is that we guarantee a 7-day start date from council approval and a 16-week build guarantee. We basically know that our clients pay our way so start by exceeding their expectations also with our 24-hour quotes and worry-free service guarantee. We feel that that sets us apart because we stand by what we say.
Mick: So that’s from council approval, within 7 days you’re on site, already digging and taking up dirt and then within 16 weeks they walk into the home.
Nathan: Exactly right.
Mick: That’s pretty powerful. Thank you, Nathan. That sort of gives people I guess a quick indication about some of the aspects about being on the Gold Coast, what to look out for, and I guess if they’re after more information about some of those features that we talked about that Stroud Homes offers as a specialty, how can they follow up and where can they go to get more information?
Mick: Thanks very much for giving your time with us today and I’m sure we’ll check about more building aspects around Gold Coast, what you need to look at for your new home sometime soon.
Nathan: Fantastic, Mick. Thanks for talking to me today.