Nancy’s Notes

The cost of a new ‘House and land package’

Builders commonly advertise ‘house and land packages’ when they have access to land and would like to construct a home for you. The proposed ‘package’ usually comes with recommended plans or the option to choose from a defined selection of plans. At Manasons, we also offer ‘house and land packages’ but our homes are custom designed, completely finished houses that are ready to move into.

Understandably, many will compare the more common, unfinished offering to ours so we feel some explanation is necessary to ensure the comparison is ‘apples with apples’.

The family home is a huge investment so naturally we need to understand the costs involved to ensure we are achieving ‘value for money’. No one appreciates this fundamental need more than we do as knowing what we’re spending and why we’re spending it is essential, but when it comes new houses the answer is not clear cut. We’re regularly asked about costs per square meter and the answer is always the same… it depends. This may sound evasive because human nature requests a simple response to what we believe is a simple question but unfortunately it’s not that simple. For example, the cost/m2 in the garage will be a fraction of the cost/m2 in the kitchen. Why? Because the garage has 4 walls and a concrete floor while the kitchen has cabinetry, appliances, plumbing, tiles etc. So clearly a house with an elaborate kitchen will cost more per m2 than a house with a small kitchen that’s not finished as well.

With no other information available to you, which of the following advertisements sounds more appealing?

  1. Brand new, 100% finished house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms $500,000 or $1,500/m2
  2. Brand new, 100% finished house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms $600,000 or $1,800/m2

Even we can’t help but think option A is better because we’re all wired to seek out a ‘good deal’, which is why advertising regularly states prices ‘from’ a certain point – to get your attention before going into details. You may think a ‘house and land package’ advertised at a specific dollar value will result in the house and land for that price but generally that’s not what happens. These costs are based on estimations and allowances that are not guaranteed until commitments are made, deposits are paid, soil tests are done and inclusions are finalised. So, prospective home buyers believe a certain price will include certain finishes then are often disappointed when they realise they’ve under estimated due to allowances that fall short or common necessities that are not included in the price.

The most important areas to look at on floor plans are kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms as they are the most expensive to create due to cabinetry, water proofing, tiling, plumbing, appliances and fixtures. Garages and open rooms are least expensive which is why you’ll often see 4 or  5 bedrooms proudly advertised to give the impression of ample space while the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms may leave something to be desired. When looking at plans and finishes, break down the sizes into these ‘wet areas’ and rooms with nothing in them before comparing costs. Next, look at what is and isn’t included as you may find one product is less expensive because it offers fewer features or finishes. Here are just a few examples of details you will find in a Manasons property that may not be included in other ‘house and land packages’:

  • Huge kitchen with spacious walk in pantry
  • Soft close 2Pac custom cabinetry and stone benches throughout the home
  • Premium quality appliances and fixtures
  • Spacious laundry and bathrooms with wall tiles
  • High 2.7m (9ft) ceilings on all levels
  • Brand new fences and full landscaping
  • Fully ducted, zoned air-conditioning and Jetmaster gas fireplace
  • Top quality security screens and plantation shutters throughout
  • Hardwood stairs and traditional 20mm thick hardwood flooring
  • Comprehensive home automation package and ample electrical
  • Quality doors and hardware
  • Quality garage floor finish rather than plain concrete

So, when making cost comparisons, just make sure it’s ‘apples with apples’.