The term ‘house and land package’ seems self-explanatory, but understanding what is and isn’t included can be tricky.
Searching for your forever home in a dream location can be an exciting but overwhelming and time-consuming process.
While combining the home and land loans into one package provides an affordable way to find the best property to suit your needs, let’s look at exactly what you’re in for with a house and land package.
What is a house and land package?
A house and land package is when a buyer secures a block of land and the construction of a home in one process but two contracts.
Andrew Whitson, chief executive of residential for Stockland, one of Australia’s leading residential developers, says house and land packages are popular because buyers can know the combined price of their home and land from the outset.
“A buyer will have contracts for both land and construction, because they are purchasing from two separate entities. In Stockland communities, the land is purchased from Stockland and the home is purchased from a builder,” Whitson explains.
How to buy a house and land package?
1. Find a developer that offers a house and land package that suits you
All builders and houses differ, so buyers should find out exactly what is and isn’t included as part of the deal.
Whitson says ‘standard inclusions’ in a new home usually include a fully fitted kitchen and bathroom, windows and doors, built-in robes, electrical points, TV and phone points, fans, stairs and tiles.
Many interior design elements will cost extra, as well as driveways, landscaping and fencing.
“Builders may also offer additional inclusions, depending on the price and style of the home. For example, it may include carpets and tiling throughout, stone kitchen benchtops or stainless steel appliances,” Whitson says.
“Builders may provide driveways, landscaping and fencing as part of their additional inclusions. This will depend on the house and land package you are buying.”
2. Visit display homes to get a good idea of what you want
The best way to find the best design and builder is to visit a range of display homes on your favoured estate.
Once you have found a house with the design you like, it’s time to talk turkey with the builder. Start by enquiring about the following:
- What is included and what isn’t – display homes feature the best fittings, finishes and appliances which may not be included in the standard package
- Layout – most buyers like to make changes but these can prove problematic for the builders
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- Construction – when will it commence and how long will it take
- Environment features – the cost of power, water and gas is likely to keep on rising, so ask which sustainability features are incorporated into the design.
3. Before committing to a builder do some checks
Before committing to a builder for a house and land package, ask to see examples of houses they have completed in the last two years and see if you can talk to the owners. This will give you an insight into the process and how happy the owners are with their house.
- Are they licenced?
- Do they have builder’s insurance?
- Have they checked the lot for suitability?
- Have you visited recent projects?
4. Factor in taxes, stamp duty and other costs
When buying a house and land package, costs such as stamp duty and registration fees are not included in the price.
Buyers also need to appoint a legal representative to liaise with the developer and the builder, as with all property purchases, to ensure council and regulatory requirements are met.
Then there’s connections, like power, water, gas and internet. Homeowners are responsible for contacting utility providers, such as electricity and telephone providers, to set up their home account and arrange connection.
“Once a customer owns their land, they are responsible for maintaining it, which includes keeping it clear from rubbish, debris, excessive or overgrown weeds and other materials. Council may conduct regular site inspections of lots under construction and may issue fines to the owner if lots are not kept clean and tidy,” Whitson says.
5. Get a solicitor to check over contracts to ensure everything is in order
Once you’ve found something that suits you, before you sign on the dotted line, you should also get your solicitor to check the contract for workmanship warranties, builders insurance, plans and specifications and any cost differences (known as variances) which may arise.
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