Friday, October 28, 2011

Building Contract Signed!

About a month after the color selection, we received the building contract (with plans and consolidated tender) for signing. We reviewed it for a week and found a few significant mistakes that could affect our bank loan, the most significant being
(1) our names are shortened - I have three first names and Bjorn got two!, and
(2) the flooring was not included in the quotation.

It took about 3 weeks for both parties to sign the contract as well as the variations. We are running out of time to finalize the building contract, and so we can then submit our construction loan application to the bank. We are concerned that we won't be able to get our bank loan approval within the timeframe we are bound with to start construction. The construction companies are so clever, we have to start construction within 150 from the date of deposit (april 30 2011 in our case) beyond which we would have to pay additional 1K for each month od delay. It makes sense considering that material prices will most likely increase by then. Our 150th day is on nov 30, I don't think our construction loan will be approved by then, we'll probably be ready to start by mid-december. But again, it's Christmas holidays and chances are construction companies will be closed for 2 weeks (xmas and new year holidays). My gut feel tells me we will only be able to start construction in January and we'll have no choice but to part with another 1k or 2 as penalty. Hopefully McDonald Jones will give us some grace period.

The moment we received back the signed contracts, we immediately contacted our ANZ mobile banker (who I highly recommend for being not a "hard sell" and a really good customer service), to get the ball rolling for our construction loan. He's been to our House fives times, without qualms of going back again if we needed to see him over some minor things! Quite a nice and sincere chap, and we are quite comfortable with him. The bank interest is going downhill so we couldn't be any happier to conclude these financial matters at this time of the year. The downside is, in a matter of months, our hard-earned savings will all be wiped out for sure. But I guess we'll just have to bite the bullet and let tomorrow take care of itself ;)

Inclusions and Upgrades Review

Demo homes play with your head, and is indeed the best marketing tool out there. For a moment, you begin to envisage that you will get the exact same house for just a little above the base price. And then you go through your consolidated tender and you are way over budge! It also doesn't help when you are in the showroom for your color selection. How nice it is to have all the best things in life! Suffice it to say, we initially planned on getting upgrades on almost everything that will look better. But at the end of it all, we had to scrutinize every nook and cranny of the tender and just upgrade whatever is really essential, or is it? So here it goes -

1) upgrade to McDonald's impressions package totally free (promotion)
2) reverse cycle a/c @ 8K (discounted) plus another 3K Easter discount which essentially brought down the a/c price to 5k only. Not bad huh?!
3) went with steel frame + colorbondroof which is included in the impressions package

... And basically indulged on the following at a cost:
4) sarking and anticon blanket for the roof - this has something to do with thermal insulation and condensation control
5) upgraded bricks
6) half-rendered facade
7) increased ceiling height to 2.7mm from standard 2.4mm, since we are only building one-stores house
8) door to master's b/r walk in wardrobe - to minimize those nasty dust
9) trilock for the front door
10) stainless steel shower hobs for 2 bathrooms
11) laminate flooring to entire house (except the wet areas) - it took us a long time to decide on this. But based on our calculation, the savings if we get it outside is not that significant considering that we have to pay the builder to soft nail the skirting. Doing it ourselves is out of the question right now as we are both busy and besides we may not have a knack for it lols!
12) kitchen splash back to full height! Since we chose this magnificent metallic black (inclusive in the impression package), why not go all out for that glittery look ;)

All in all, we are up by $69K from the base price. I say it's not that bad at all, we estimated 80K based on initial discussions with consultants and we did well. This gives us some budget for electricals and driveway, the landscaping will just have to be done slowly with the aim to get that 5K rebate.