Blog

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 1:00pm

Whether you’re building a small two-bed cottage or a designer homestead, find out everything you need to know about financing and pricing your new home.

 

1. How much does it cost to build a Signature home?

Our Pacific and Smart Collection homes have price guidelines and all plans are available to view here. However, every family is different and the perfect home for you may require tweaking or different consents from your local council. There are also regional differences for building homes, based on Building Code requirements for the region, and every section is also different and requires various site works that will impact the total cost to build. The great thing is that once you’ve moved through our design process, you will know exactly how much your Signature home is going to cost upfront prior to signing a build contract, and that price is guaranteed.

2. What deposit do I need to build a Signature home?

You can build your own Signature home with as little as 5 percent* deposit. Due to the security and reliability of Signature Homes’ market-leading guarantees, Sovereign Home Loans (part of ASB Bank and the backers of NewBuild Finance) can offer Signature Homes clients their specialised home-loan services for building a new home through NewBuild, specialists in construction finance. Visit NewBuild and use the Home Loan Qualifying Calculator to find out if you are eligible. 

3. What is construction finance?

Construction Finance is similar to a mortgage but is used to fund the building of a home. There are different progress payment schedules and conditions which can be negotiated with a specialist construction finance lender or your bank, and each lender’s offering is slightly different. Because a new home build is built over a period of time you should only ever pay for work once it has been completed at pre-agreed stages of the build. This ensures the builders get paid regularly (progressively) through the build and also that you only draw down funds as required. Once the build is completed and the final payment is made the end sum is then generally moved into a standard mortgage arrangement. It’s best to discuss your options with your bank or broker as our clients often negotiate their lending depending on what they can afford, to continue to pay rent or the mortgage on an existing home.

 

4. Can I afford a Signature home as my first home?

House-and-land new-builds are exempt from the New Zealand Reserve Bank’s Loan-to-Value Restrictions (LVR), which means first-home buyers can obtain finance with a smaller deposit than the 20 percent typically required. Paul Bull, CEO of Signature Homes, thinks home and land packages are a great option for first-home buyers. “That’s a home that is built to modern building standards,” he says. “It’s well insulated, dry and warm and all the electrics are new – that means lower electricity bills, healthier homes and healthier families.”

If you have been a KiwiSaver member for three years or more you may be able to withdraw some of your savings to put towards your new build with KiwiSaver's First Home Withdrawal and you may even be entitled to KiwiSaver's HomeStart Grant. 

5. Can I pay rent and pay the loan for my new home at the same time?

This depends on your financial situation, however while banks generally require a minimum 20 percent of an existing property’s value as a deposit, that requirement may be much lower for new builds. One thing to remember is that you pay for your new home as it is being constructed, so you aren’t paying for the full amount of the build during the construction of the home, and the payment schedule is laid out in the building contract so you can plan for the payments as they come up throughout the project. If you would struggle with making construction loan repayments and rent at the same time, then NewBuild Home Loans offers a construction loan where you don’t need to start your mortgage repayments* until you move in. This is also why Signature Homes gives a Guaranteed Completion Date soon after the build contract is signed, so you can discuss your funding needs with your bank or broker and plan ahead for things like selling an existing property or moving out of your rental.

6. How much do all the added extras cost?

As part of the work we carry out to provide you with a comprehensive quote and to ensure you get everything you want in your new home, the Signature Homes design team will consult with you to finalise important details regarding design, claddings, colours, fixtures and fittings. At your request, we have expert interior designers and colour consultants on hand to provide assistance. Once the detailed price and design work has been completed, the fixed-price quote, specifications and final drawings will be presented to you for sign-off. These documents will include detail about exactly what your new-home investment will be, along with a comprehensive list of everything that is included.

 

7. How do I know the quoted price of my home is accurate?

We have been building homes for Kiwis since 1983 and we believe we have a responsibility to provide clients with a quote based on facts, not guesswork. In order to reduce the risk of price escalation prior to signing a building contract, Signature Homes will request a small investment from you for our Plan Deposit Service – generally one percent of the build. This investment is there for your protection as it allows Signature Homes to thoroughly investigate every single cost that is likely to be incurred during the construction of your new home (including an estimate for site works, landscaping and decorating), before you commit to building with us. By signing a build contract, the amount you invest in the Plan Deposit is deducted from the final cost of your home should you decide to proceed, and is often less than you would pay for a similar service with an architect.

8. Can I keep my existing home as well as building a Signature home?

Banks often won’t use equity from an existing home to fund a new home loan, which doesn’t work for clients who want to keep their current home as an investment or keep it long enough to avoid needing to move their family twice. In the right circumstances your broker or bank may be able to fund up to 100 percent of the land and build using only equity in the existing home. With NewBuild any rental income on the existing home can be used to offset the loan. The NewBuild approach also allows an investment property to be 100 percent geared for tax purposes. Banks are normally unable to do this for a new home.

9. What guarantees cover me when I buy a Signature home?

Our Comprehensive Guarantee Programme offers you total peace of mind during the build process. This programme includes our exclusive Home Completion Guarantee, which provides 100 percent protection on any payments made during construction of your home. 

10. Are there any hidden costs or fees I should budget for?

In short, no! There won’t be any unexpected costs or charges after you’ve signed the contract on your new home, unless you make any changes after the contract has been signed. If you do make changes, we work with you to understand any impacts those changes will have on the cost of building your home. As part of our work to provide you with a comprehensive quote and ensure you get everything you want in your new home, the Signature Homes design team will consult with you to finalise important details regarding design, claddings, colours, fixtures and fittings. These costs will all be included in the final price in your Build Contract.

*- Lending and credit criteria and conditions apply.

To learn more about the Signature Homes building journey you can view our series of videos or order your brochure here

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 3:15pm

Building from scratch can seem daunting. Doing it yourself requires massive amounts of time dedicated to project management, coordinating the expertise of architects, engineers, builders, plumbers, electricians, tilers, interior designers… and the list goes on.

The thought is enough to turn most people off the idea before they have seriously considered what it entails and done any due diligence.

If this is true for you, you may wish to reconsider by looking at the professional Design and Build service offered by Signature Homes.

Signature Homes Design and Build does all the hard work for you. Our team works alongside you to create your ideal home from scratch (or plans if you already have them), engaging all the necessary experts and managing the entire project from start to finish.

You are guaranteed a beautiful, modern, sustainable home, designed exactly to your specifications, and finished on time and on budget. Our team have been creating Design and Build homes since 1983, so we have a wealth of experience. We stake our reputation on making your dreams come true. The level of your involvement is entirely dependent on you.

If you only have general ideas about the style of home you want, our team can inspire your inner creativity, enabling you to make the choices that best reflect who you are. Our architects and designers are the best in the business and will guide you through every step of the process, making recommendations about what will best suit your lifestyle. Then we take total charge of all the complicated logistics of a build.

You may not know exactly what you want, and that’s absolutely fine. Our experts are highly experienced in creating architectural homes to fit individual lifestyles. We regularly work on challenging sites, where a design is needed to fit the landscape and make the most of a property’s unique quirks and aspect. Our team will make all the recommendations to ensure your involvement is exciting, never stressful.

Guarantees

When you have decided on a Signature Homes Design and Build, a guaranteed price will be set and when the slab goes down we will give you a Guaranteed Completion Date. It means you go into the process with total piece of mind, knowing you can plan for your future with certainty. You simply do not need to worry about cost blow outs or building delays.

Our Signature Homes Guarantees include:

  • Signature Homes Home Completion Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 10 Year Weather Tightness Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 10 Year Structural Guarantee
  • Signature Homes No Hidden Extras Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Fixed Price Contract Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 2 Year Maintenance Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Completion Date Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Satisfaction Guarantee

Cost

A common misconception is that a Design and Build is prohibitively expensive. This is not the case. Often extensive renovation work to an existing property can be comparable in price – but without the benefit of getting a final result that is everything you have ever dreamed of. Talk to one of our Signature Homes team members and you may be pleasantly surprised at how far your dollar will go.

No compromises

When you Design and Build you have the truly unique opportunity to create the perfect home for your family. This is the one time in your life when you will be able to create something just for you and your family, reflective of who you are and what you love. Your house will be architecturally designed, with a team of highly experienced tradespeople, builders and designers working together to create your perfect home.  

Suppliers

We only work with the very best suppliers, which means you are guaranteed that your home will be constructed with the highest quality materials and made to withstand the toughest climate and weather conditions.

Stress-free

We want this process to be one you will remember fondly for the rest of your life. Our experts do all the heavy lifting for you, managing the details and logistics, leaving you free to enjoy the experience and get on with living your life.

Your home is where you spend most of your time. It should work perfectly for you, complementing who you are and making you feel at ease, relaxed and happy. Design and Build is simply an outstanding way to achieve something special that will last a lifetime.

Check out our current Design and Build gallery for some inspiration and take the plunge by getting in touch with one of our experts HERE for a no obligation chat. 

 

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 2:00pm

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately regarding kitset homes, so we've summed up the top 5 things to consider when looking at a kitset home. It is important to realise that it is highly unlikely that you could build a comparable kitset home cheaper, or to a higher standard, than a reputable builder can build you a new home (unless you have the relevant expertise).

Consider these factors before you start:

1. LEGAL

You will be solely responsible for ensuring the home meets all council and building code requirements and the on-going structural and weatherproofing obligations- even if you’ve sold the home! You are also responsible for health and safety on site, and for ensuring that the home is granted a Code Compliance.

2. QUALITY MANAGEMENT

For any work you are not planning on doing yourself, you will need to get quotes from, and then manage all sub-trades. These may include builders, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, bricklayers, roofers, drain-layers, carpet installers, kitchen installers, insulation installers, tilers etc., ensuring they arrive on site at the appropriate time- this takes careful coordination, even if you are not in a hurry. You will need to make sure that their work is up to both your expectations and building code requirements.

3. FINANCIAL

Make sure you are certain of exactly what is included in your kit and what other items and labour will need to be paid before the building is complete. The financial implications could be serious if you fail to understand the extra costs that are involved. Typically, the cost of a kitset home only covers materials used above the foundations.

4. WHO BUILDS THE HOUSE? 

Some people fall into the trap of buying a kitset, then contracting the kitset company to build the home for them, thinking this will save them money. This is the same process you follow when employing a building company to build a home for you, except you won’t necessarily have the same level of service, or the same quality assurances.

5. THERE ARE OTHER COST-EFFECTIVE OPTIONS

Signature Homes are able to provide you with a range of expertly crafted pre-designed plans, providing the perfect foundation to guide you towards building the home of your dreams. Our Smart Collection offers modest yet modern havens or our Pacific Collection gives you a flexible and functional luxe family home. If you are struggling to find land to build on then a House & Land package may be the answer

Once you have selected that perfect plan, which embodies the needs for your new home, we will help turn your dreams into reality through our up-front and honest build process. We will also provide you with peace of mind through our comprehesive guarantees

Knowledge and expertise go along way when building a new home. Signature Homes has over three decades in the game so we can help you pick out the perfect design and match it with the perfect construction team to suit your needs. When you build with Signature Homes your local team are with you every step of the way.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 4:15pm

Until a few years ago, Andrew and Emma were living in a farm cottage of about 60sqm. With the arrival of son Franco, they quickly outgrew the modest dwelling. “We decided we wanted somewhere we could live for a long time and where our kids could grow up,” says Andrew.

Open-plan living was a must for family gatherings and the eye-catching exterior was something they agreed on early. “It had to be black and it had to be balanced.”

Planning

Andrew and Emma opted for a Design & Build home, rather than a predesigned plan, and put their heads together with a Signature Homes in-house designer to create exactly what they wanted for the right price. The finished product, dubbed Tamahere, is now available as part of Signature’s Design & Build Collection and can be customised to suit location, lifestyle and budget.

The couple still have plans to add their dream landscaping and there’s talk of building a smaller home of about 70sqm next door. “It’s something people are doing as a way to accommodate family,” says Andrew. “Others are looking at building for Airbnb, especially in beach and rural areas.”

Design

Spacious, light and airy, the family-friendly home enjoys great flow. Devised with entertaining in mind, the spacious open-plan kitchen, living and dining area rests under a high raking ceiling. Extensive glazing keeps the space open to the outdoors. “Having a home with big windows was really important,” says Emma. “Living on the farm and having outside coming in and vice versa. It’s tranquil.”

Glazed bifold doors link the open-plan to the portico – the perfect place to enjoy a meal while watching farm life pass by. The second lounge, as well as the master and guest bedrooms all open to the outdoors.

Layout

A perfect balance of social spaces, functional utility areas and quiet retreats, the home is arranged in a loose H-shaped layout. The left-hand wing houses the master sanctuary with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, plus laundry, garage and workshop. The right-hand wing houses two children’s bedrooms, a family bathroom, separate toilet and guest room. Living spaces dominate the central volume.

The kitchen is a key feature. The couple originally intended to add barn doors to the scullery, but they liked the way it allowed the cook to socialise, so they left it open.

Interiors

“A classic relaxed feel with a bit of glam.” That’s how Emma describes the home’s light, chic interior design, which makes use of lots of linen and warming wood. A neutral palette of whites and greys is elegant yet simple. The decor is in tune with both a love of entertaining and relaxed family life. “Our lives are so busy, I wanted to come home and be able to really relax and enjoy it.”

Exterior

They couple chose painted cedar cladding and corrugate roofing. “We wanted the linear look, and the cedar is random widths which gives variance,” says Andrew.

While there’s only one fireplace inside, a trio of chimney structures neatly echo the home’s three volumes. “Aluminium box frames on top of the chimneys give the house a bit more of an architectural feel and a bit more height,” Emma explains.

The build

Construction required some skilled juggling and smart time management. Andrew is a director of Signature Homes Waikato so he knows a thing or two about designing and building beautiful homes. “Trying to build a house and run a business at the same time is quite stressful’, says Andrew whose clients always took priority over his own build. “To schedule ours in was a bit of a journey buy we got there in the end”. The experience for Signature Homes clients is a smooth one, he says. “We take the stress out of it- there are people taking you through every step of the Design & Build journey”.

Design features

1. ROOFING Colorsteel Corrugate Longrun ‘Ebony’ from Metalcraft 2. CLADDING Rosenfeld Kidson Cedar ‘Black’ from Carters 3. FRONT DOOR Plasa double door ‘Ebony’ from nzwindows.co.nz

Shop the look

Annabella Occasional Chair, $699, from Early Settler. Olli Ella Child’s luggy basket, $119, from Tea Pea. Brittany 5 drawer chest, $1,499, from Early Settler.

This stunning home is featured in our latest issue of Signature Style, you can order a free copy here. You can see more pictures in our Design & Build gallery, Andrew and Emma's home is the Tamahere.

 

 

A house and land package brings together a block of land and a home design that perfectly suits that block for a fixed price. It’s an easy, secure way to buy a new home.

For many people the dream of building is often overridden by the fear of what can go wrong. Cost blow outs, uncertainty about inclusions or the suitability of land they have seen. Our expertise in house and land packages means that we have a large range available to suit all budgets and the most discerning of tastes in the most popular locations, all at fixed prices.  

Some of our most popular house and land packages are those from our Smart Collection. While economical and great value for money, this collection contains all the key things that you expect in a new home – they are modern, warm, light, low maintenance and built from quality building materials, sourced from New Zealand’s leading suppliers and manufacturers.

As Paul Bull, CEO of Signature Homes points out “The truth is that first home buyers can buy a brand-new house and land package with a lower deposit than you would for a pre-existing house at the same price. That’s a home that is built to modern building standards. It’s well insulated, dry and warm and all the electrics are new – that means lower electricity bills, healthier homes and healthier families.”

Paul also points out that new home buyers opting to build can often defer the start of their mortgage payments until the house is built while enjoying the capital value increase on the property from the day that builders walk on to the site.

If you are looking to buy a new home, there are many compelling reasons to consider buying a house and land package. Here are five of our best:

1. You will stay within your budget
  • New homes offer great value for money and there are no hidden costs. At Signature Homes we have the budget discussion up-front, and design your home to your budget. We will talk to you about the “Total Cost to Build” which covers everything including the design, build and fit out. During the design process we know there will be questions, we are up-front about any changes and how they can affect the final cost
  • When you move in there are no other costs to plan for
  • You can spend your money on your home not on due diligence
  • House and land package new builds are exempt from the New Zealand Reserve Banks Loan-to-Value Restrictions (LVR), which means first home buyers can obtain finance for less deposit than the 20% typically required of first home buyers or the 40% from property investors. Read more here.

2. Peace of mind
Second hand houses don't come with a guarantee – things break, leak or flood and you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket. House and land packages, on the other hand, are built brand new so they’re guaranteed (not everybody offers the same high level of guarantee as Signature Homes, so scrutinise yours carefully). Plus you get your very own team managing the design and build process.

3. Make it yours

You have options to personalise your new home from decisions on flooring through to colours, tiles, fixtures, fittings and kitchen and bathroom design. What’s even better is that every Signature Homes customer receives one-on-one time with an interior designer to fine tune your big ideas and make your home one you love to live in.

4. Convenient, modern living

House and land packages are often built in new developments that are planned and designed to fit modern urban design principles. They have close access to public transport and are conveniently located close to amenities, schools, and green spaces and parks.

5. Healthy homes

The build quality of new homes with new building and material technologies ensure you can count on a warm, dry home for many years to come.

You may not have realised that a house & land package could be the answer to your dreams. If this article has sparked interest then you can get in touch with your local team here, or check out our full range of House & Land packages here.

There are many common questions regarding house & land packages, here are a few of our favourites:

Where in New Zealand can I purchase a house and land package? Signature Homes has house & land packages available from Northland to Canterbury (Central Otago coming soon!) and pretty much everywhere in between. We have worked with developers to find great sections, then matched each section with the perfect house plan to suit its climate, topography and orientation to the sun – all you need to do is add your personal touch.

How long will it take for my house to be ready for moving day? This will depend on many things such as the section, consents, titles on the land and access. You can expect your house to be ready anywhere from 20 weeks post the concrete slab going down (depending on the size and complexity of the house of course).

What will I need to do to move in? Signature Homes can provide all utility connections as part of the service. Any changes of address are facilitated on your behalf and ensuring a stress-free move from your existing property to your brand-new home is our priority.

What should I look for when comparing house & land packages? Ask lots of questions until you are comfortable all aspects and concerns have been covered. Building a home takes time so you want to have a positive working relationship with your building team. Landscaping and driveways are often left out of the quote (to keep the price down) however they must be included based on covenants of the development you are looking at. Check if appliances are included in your quote. What is the quality of the materials used? What are the standards of the company, do they offer a fixed price offer? Are you comfortable with their guarantees and timeframes? Remember if it seems too good to be true then it very well could be!