Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Zac Homes Meeting

So here's the gist. Zac homes can design a home and work with your budget, that's a good thing. The quality of their home is also much better then the project homes so that's another big plus. The problem though is the price is slightly dearer but the inclusions are obviously better.

1m2 = $1150 as of the 22/12/2010

Peta was keen on a 36-40 square home seeing this covered of all the room she wanted. Eden Breas Cremorne 37 would come to about $330k but we would still have to pay for fencing and things like that. But the house would have the squares she wants, but the design isn't 100% what we want. 1 Square is 9.29m2. To put it into perspective:

36 Squares = 334.44m2 = $384,606
37 Squares = 343.73m2 = $395,289
40 Squares = 371.60m2 = $427,340

We've been looking at what we can afford, looking at our plan we can probably go to $340k if there were no surprise costs. I'd like to keep 10k aside though for any hidden surprises that pop up.340k would be 295.65m2 equalling 31.82 squares.

Considering 1 square is 9.29m2 you're losing a room basically for each square you take away.

Zac homes are realistic and because of the custom design they believe if the space is used wisely the home won't feel small at all and it should be like there's no difference to what you want. They work with your budget, what you want and if rooms need to be bigger etc they take out things, inclusions and such. Take the carpet out to do later for example and add you can afford to add a square to the home.

Lots of things to think about over the next few weeks. We have scheduled another meeting Jan 20th to take the plunge. Until then we're going to try and work out how we can get what we really want. Perhaps a second job? I doubt it.

Emailed a friend today whose father in law use to own a large home company in NSW. He might have some advise for us or perhaps even know some people still in the game that could do a better deal. Worth asking anyway, can't hurt. He might be able to tell us how to get the bang for our buck.

All fun and games over the Christmas break.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meeting with Zac Homes

Tomorrow morning we will be meeting with Zac homes for a sit down discussion about them, their prices, their work and what they can do for us. I'm putting together a list of expectations to give to them so we can get a realistic estimate from them. Lets see how this goes.

We did go check out some of their homes last week and most of them were pretty impressive. They were well built, nice designs and modern facades so couldn't knock them back.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zac Homes Maybe?

Well it's been a long time, my little boy was in Hospital for a week due to having Adenovirus and Viral Pneumonia. Wasn't good to see him like this and the house plans basically came to a stop.

Some good news is that yesterday was the end of our cooling off period, it's now official we own our very own lot at Jordan Springs now. We handed over the 5% deposit and now we wait.

Still thinking about what home to build. We were side tracked a bit so we'll have to get our heads back in the game. Here's a few photo's of roughly where our block is going to sit. Our block is in line with this street and will be basically where those tress are on the left on that hilly bit.

While we were on the tour we also found out about a company called Zac homes. I like the sound of what these guys do and seeing they are a Penrith based company I like the fact of supporting locals.

These guys for $950 can create a custom designed home based on what you're after in a home and also design the facade. They told me if you've seen it somewhere else you can pretty much have your home the same way. They also allow family members on site during the construction to do work on the home if you want to save some money. They're estimating about $1000 per sqm, which sounds great. I'm going to research them and see if I can view some houses that they have done, but this might be a good option for us seeing none of the designs are perfect yet.

I jumped onto and played around with a ground floor idea I'm playing with, I did 3 of them and so far the below is the best one. I'm sure the builders could spruce it up even more. What do you think? Wonder if Zac Homes can do something like the below.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our Lot on Paper and Design Controls for the Lot

Thought I'd share some information on the lot that we bought and our reasoning behind the choice. The Lot is 1182 and it's on a road called "Crimson" St. We did have the option of buying 1186 at one point also but being South Facing we thought it would be better for us to stick with a North Facing block, this reduces our BASIX costs, allows the sun in the backyard and also puts us on the higher side of the street for drainage. 

The only possible annoying thing is that the block to the right of us has the option of building on a zero boundary. This means instead of a fence going the complete run, they may choose to have there garage wall as part of the fence, meaning we have a brick wall to look at down that side. This is very common these days, and every new estate we looked in are now doing this. It doesn't mean they have to but it's possible. The good thing is they can't have any windows on it, it can't be a living room, and if they build a two storey home they have to be 1m in on the second storey. We'll just have to get creative with dressing the side access up somehow if that happens.

Design controls at Jordan Springs are pretty good, I just included the basic block one, but overall they're pretty relaxed. What I do like is that the council part of he driveway has to be plain concrete for every house, this makes the area look consistent. The fence also has to be he one colour in the area also.

Pretty happy now, it's locked in. We're heading there today to walk around and take some photos. I don't think we can get to our block yet but we're allowed to walk around the roads they have done already. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

W00t!!! Green Light Baby!!

Westpac have quickly come back to us and given us the green light and unconditional approval on the loan for the land. We are now the new owners of a block of land at Jordan springs in Sydney's West. We also have conditional approval on the building loan, basically we just need a building contract under or at the price of the loan and that's a green light.

Peta is very happy and thank god for Westpac!

Baby Jordan will be moving to Jordan Springs.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Conditionally Approved - Take 2

Good news, Westpac have approved the loan conditionally today. The land valuation has been ordered again, but this time with Westpac. Crossing fingers all goes well this time. They use their own evaluators which is also a good thing.

The good thing about this is that Westpac have been lending in the area already at 97% and valuing the land with no issues for other borrowers, they have local valuators who have been valuing the land out there for a number of people and none of them have had issues. The other good thing is that unlike Bankwest, these guys have also already conditionally approved the construction loan. We didn't even get that far with Bankwest.

After this it will then go to the insureres, and again Westpac use their own, and again they have done this for other borrowers in the Jordan Springs area.

Oh Westpac, please make our Christmas dreams come true.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Waiting on Westpac Still

Still no word from Westpac yet, loan went to them yesterday and the only news we heard from them today was we accidently signed one part which we weren't meant to. (The part was for business type loans). I crossed it out, initialled the mistake and resent them the application. We should then hear from them tomorrow.

If all ok, this should give us conditional approval. Then we have to wait for the land valuation. With Bankwest this took 3 days, but seeing Westpac Penrith are the preferred lending partner for Jordan Springs we should get this sorted immediately if my assumption is right. Then it's off to their own mortgage insurers.

Best case we know tomorrow, next best case by Friday, worst case mid to end next week. Cross fingers.

An update to the home designs, we found another today that fits within our budget and is what we are after, a Wisdom home, the Manhattan 36. Floor diagram below.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Home Designs

Went and saw this home yesterday - the Phoenix 38. Fell in love with it straight away. The sad thing is though is Metricon homes are very expensive. We can get an Eden Brae home for almost 100k less and the same squares with heaps of inclusions. This one would be up in the 350-400k mark. Absolutely loved the design though and floor plan.

Anyone want to give us 50K.

Considering that we're realising that Eden Brae are much more affordable we're probably leaning towards the Cremorne 37 now with some modifications. We had another look in the Fowler Monte Carlo 33 yesterday and it lacks cupboard space. The front design of the house (media and home office) was excellent but the rear got ugly. With Eden Brae the back is much better, has more living space but the front needs some work.

We'll probably close of the living room part to make it a media room and close of the study as well with some sliding doors. Another option for us is to also swap the office and lounge around. This one including driveway, AC, and all that fun stuff is about 310K complete, no more to pay.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What we would like in our next home.

Thought I'd share what we need in a house, and what we would like, showing you we're puting a lot of thought into the home design. This is just a few things that we hope to get.

  • 4 Bedrooms is a must for valuation purpose and future renting out.
  • Separate living room (media style) away from the living and dining areas. A place where I can escape to play my Xbox without having to turn it off, turn it down etc. This allows us to have a second TV for all of Jordan's favourite shows and general TV watching in the general living area.
  • Really want a separate study. Anyone who has seen my computer room will know I need the room to setup everything and sort it out. One that can act as a scrapboooking room for Peta also.
  • We would like an Alfesco area, we want to bring the outside in and have the backyard and BBQ close to the kitchen so that we can actually use it. Also allows Jordan to play out the back and we can watch him closely. (another words, kitchen at the rear also.)
  • Double garage minimum, one that fits a 4WD, in case we buy one in the future. Possibly a bit wider.
  • Plenty of kitchen cupboard space. This allows for all of Peta's tuppawear to sit somewhere.
  • Walk in Pantry or butler room. We want to have bench tops with powerpoints so we can leave mixers and things out plugged in ready to go so we actually use them. Hidden away though. Sink in there would be good also.
  • Air Conditioning a must.
  • Gas appliances, for cooking, the BBQ etc.
So far we're liking the Monte Carlo 33 by Fowler homes. If you see any similar to this design let us know. Here's a link to see it. (We would choose a different facade for sure)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ok Calm Down - Option 2 might just work.

So I got in contact with Jordan Springs and told her it wasn't looking good. She said that she hasn't seen anything like this and that she could pass on a local Westpac lending managers number. I wrote back and said yeh why not, the least we could do was talk to her.

The reason we didn't initially go with Westpac was we were told that you could only borrow 80%, which we would only to be able to do on the land but not home. Talking to the lady today, this isn't right Westpac go as high as 97% and she said they use their own evaluators and mortgage insurers and haven't had one issue. They said they advertise 80% for new customers with no Westpac history, but will go higher for existing Westpac customers. How the hell are we suppose to know that!!

I forwarded the details and put my broker in touch and it looks like we're back on again. She's putting a new loan through Westpac and we should have a better shot at it this time. The funny thing is that we're with Westpac now and we have a lot of savings with them, great credit and repayment history and all that.

Nancy at Jordan Springs was on the emails and she said she will hold the land for another week. (3 Weeks is a long time to hold a lot so we appreciate it.)

Cross fingers, if this doesn't work i'll.......grr who knows.

OMG! What is wrong with Jordan Springs!!

Just got this from our broker, basically the Mortgage Insurers don't like the suburb.

"Unfortunately your loan has been declined by mortgage insurance. This is because the land is in a housing affordability scheme area and the mortgage insurers are not comfortable with doing your mortgage insurance in that estate. The most Bankwest will lend is 65% of the value of the land which is no-where near enough.
The mortgage insurer for Bankwest is QBE Insurance (previously known as PMI Insurance) – they are one of the largest mortgage insurers in Australia.
Given their opinion on the area I think it might be a good idea to re-think purchasing in this estate. "

Just a shame as this area is a lot nicer then others, has basketball courts, playing fields, a new school, shopping centre, lakes etc, good traffic plan. A lot of the new areas have the HAF boost in western Sydney as well, makes it tough. There is some land the other side of Penrith in a old development that’s been going for about 15 years, but it’s in a shit area I think. Worth more in terms of median house price, but it’s a traffic nightmare and neglected. Lots of problems over there too.

Seriously these people have no idea of the area. I don’t know how they make their decisions but I bet none of them have ever lived out here, far less crime and pollution then any inner city or city suburb.No offence to Ropes Crossing, but they're treating it like Ropes Crossing, like we're living at the back of Mt Druitt.

We've asked to see what another mortgage insurer says without going through the loan process. But for now our lot is back on the market and it looks like we won't be moving or building anytime soon. By the time they change their views on the suburb I bet you that the goal posts would have moved so much that we'll be back to where we are now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stuff It - Time to buy, hopefully without consequences.

Well Delfin wouldn't move on the price and we've decided to take an educated risk, hopefully one that doesn't backfire. Reading through the latest property investor magazine and the forums at homeone, it seems that under evaluations are common when borrowing more against the value of the land. If we chose to pay 20%, then the bank would probably let it through no questions asked as the cash is already in their hands. Basically what we are doing now is using the money to fund to 20%.

Your guess is as good as mine as to if it's the right decision but we've decided to jump at it and hope we have made the right decision, we can't keep playing the waiting and ever moving goal post game. What does this mean now though.....

  • Our monthly saving needs to increase by about $500 I've worked out, otherwise there's no way we can build a house on the block. Only until about April next year.
  • We will rely heavily on the $22,600 HAF refund to get us over the line with the house.
  • We can start locking in builders and designs now with a better understanding of our budget.
  • X'mas is going to suck for presents. Perhaps secret Santa and a limit will be the way to go with everyone.
  • We need to work on our budget more and do some things like reduce our electrical bill.
Fun times ahead. All we're waiting on now is the mortgage insurers to come back to us with a green light and we'll be signing the contract. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Appeal didn't work - time to negotiate.

Well the firm that does all the land evaluations are idiots. The land came back $27,500 less and the appeal didn't work. How do they sell 190 lots so far at Jordan Springs and have their values so wrong. This is what they had to say.

The valuer has come back in writing to Bankwest advising that their firm cannot support a valuation of the land for the purchase price you are paying and feel that the land is overpriced based on recent sales in the area and local agent feedback.  They feel that the clients buying in that area are paying too much for the land.

I wonder if the local agents are stockland employees? They "Feel" the land is overpriced based on what recent sales? They have sold 190 lots of land at this cost, and everyone has paid for it, doesn't the sale price determine the value? WTF!!!!! They have been selling lots and loans have been approved for the prices Delfin has had them for. Delfin are a large Australia wide developer, how have they got it so wrong.

So what now?

I've sent an email off to Delfin Jordan Springs and asked them if they can discount the land. Telling them they basically have a sale if they can move a bit as the loan is approved, just not for the amount they want. Bankwest will lend us the money if we pay the short fall. I know they might not move the 27.5k, but if they can come half way or a bit more then we would be better off. What this means is that we're going to have to do some serious saving and do some tricky stuff to get the house we want. To avoid the no stamp duty you need to build within 18 months. To get the government grant you need to have your plans all ready within 6 months of settlement, and is only available to the first 250 homes at Jordan Springs.

If they just valued it as is we would be cheering with no issues. While it may end up saving me some money now, it does't help the situation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Did I kill a black cat...

Just got word back from our broker. The land evaluation has come in at $225,000, that's a whopping $27,000 difference on the price of the land. Jordan Springs have sold 150 lots so far and have only had this issue with one other lot which was evaluated by what I'm led to believe might be the same company.

The broker is suggesting I negotiate the price, sure but I don't think they'll move $27,500 !!!!!

I've rang the evaluation company and yelled at them for a few minutes basically saying that it just doesn't make sense. I can accept a small difference but this seems crazy. The other point I made is that I had spoken to all the sales people at Jordan Springs and no-one has come in to speak to them or gain access to the lot. Sounds like a junior evaluator to me not doing their job properly. The evaluation company said they have to submit the evaluation with photo's so they must have done something. I think they just don't get it that it's a new suburb and are evaluating by close suburbs.

Anyway I've told them to appeal the valuation, and or at least explain why the massive difference.If there's a true reason to be concerned then fine, but 150 people so far haven't had such issues. Plus this is off the plan pricing so can you imagine it! Hopefully the appeal highlights the real issue and sorts it self out. They're willing to give us 95% of the evaluated price. Guess what bank and evaluators. If they want my money they're going to have to work it out.

I worked it out, if I accept the price and can't get Delfin to move on the cost it will screw me pretty hard.

The maths....

Evaluation Difference

Bank only lends 95% of value so....
0.95 * 225000 = 213,750
0.05 * 225000 = 11250

LMI on new loan amount
0.02 * 225000 = 4500

Total cash I have to come up with!
27500 + 11250 + 4500 = $43,250

There's go the saving for the construction loan, not to mention this doesn't include the $2000 for legal costs. That means we would have to save another 25k at least just to build a home. That adds another 12 months to the already long project due to land settlement being in June 2011. We might just move in around start to mid 2013 sometime if this happens.

Life - you suck!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

House Decisions while we wait.

So Sunday we decided to go out and see what we could get to go on our block while we wait for the bank to sort things out. Ideally we want a 2 Storey home for a few reasons.

  • Fits to the new standard block sizes better, takes up less room.
  • Gives us more backyard space for Jordan to have a cubby or swing set.
  • Council regulations say you must leave 20% of the block left vacant for yard etc. (So 90sqm in our case)
  • Greater investment choice. 2 storey family homes see greater increases in growth. 
  • We want our living areas free to live in and our bedrooms out of sight.
What we came back from saw us like 3 builders. In order of preference at this stage it would be 
  1. Metricon Homes
  2. Fowler Homes
  3. Eden Brae Homes
Before leaving my wife was 100% certain she wanted an Eden Brae (The Entertainer 35), she changed her mind pretty quickly once she saw the Metricon and Fowler homes. These jumped the cue, they had slightly better and more functional designs, better standard inclusions, and their finished were better in their display homes.

The designs we're interested in are the following, including their current base price.
Peta really likes the Liberty 40 but it might be out of our price range seeing Metricon don't include site and Basix costs. Fowler don't either but their prices compensate a little. Eden Brea won't be an issue but the design has some serious issues with it.

More thoughts to come - and some ideas on how to fund the bigger home.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Conditionally Approved - Whats the value of the dirt patch?

So now we're at a stand still. We have the conditional approval on the land, but the bank wants to value it. Pretty hard as it's not even pegged out yet. Not sure how Bankwest will do this but hopefully they can sort it out. We really don't want to miss out on this. We also have to wait for the mortgage insurers to look at the loan and advise how much we'll be handing over to them.

Jordan Springs were expecting us to pay the deposit on Monday but it looks like it will be more then likely later in the week now. I hope they don't mind.

The solicitor is also chasing up a copy of the bank loan to read that contract for us. This might cost a penny or two but it's worth it in the end.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jordan Springs Plans Neighbourhood Shopping Centre

All I can say is wow. Really glad I made this decision now. Detail and plan pics below.

Plans are underway for a new signature neighbourhood shopping centre at Jordan Springs, a key part of the community’s proposed Town Centre.
Located in the heart of the Jordan Springs community, the 17,700m2 shopping centre site is expected to be home to a full-line supermarket and associated specialty shops.
The shopping centre is part of the Jordan Springs Village Centre, which will cover 3.3 hectares and include a shopping centre, retail, restaurant/café, offices, entertainment, medium-density residential, and community and recreational facilities.
Delfin Lend Lease is currently calling for Expressions of Interest from experienced shopping centre developers to purchase and develop the site.
Jordan Springs Project Director Arthur Ilias said the shopping centre was the catalyst for the development of the community’s entire Village Centre.
“Our vision is to create a vibrant heart for the new community supported by an expected 6,500 increase in resident population and forecasted 300 business population in the immediate surroundings at Jordan Springs.  A key driver of the village centre vibrancy is Delfin Lend Lease’s pedestrian friendly masterplan. For residents and local workers this will mean being able do regular daily shopping or a complete weekly shop. As well as convenience shopping, the Village Centre will also be an ideal place to catch up with friends for a coffee,” he said.
“Set within a busy and vibrant main street environment and overlooking the lake and parklands, we want the Jordan Springs Village Centre to be quite different to the typical suburban shopping centre. Situated right next to a 3ha lake, its relaxed atmosphere will make it a highly attractive destination and place for residents and visitors.”
Jordan Springs encompasses the entire Western Precinct of the St Marys site, an area which covers 230ha and is expected to contain 2,450 homes.  Jordan Springs is bordered by a 900ha Regional Park and will include 17ha of open space, including parks, playgrounds and two lakes.
Delfin Lend Lease is Australia’s leading developer of masterplanned communities with 25 projects across the country.

Jordan Springs as it Looks Now

Thought I'd put some pictures up sent the other day to me from Jordan Springs. Looking good hey. Follow the link to see more from the street.

View from space on the 21st of September 2010

Still no Contract of Sale

More delays, there seems to be some confusion with the sales office today about the contract of sale for the land. I need it to go to our Broker for the loan to be approved, and I also need the it with the solicitor to review before signing.

I got an email today from Jordan Springs asking that I come in on Sunday to pay the 5% deposit, after I sign it they will forward a copy to my solicitor. First of all, it was suppose to be Monday. Secondally I won't be signing anything unless my solicitor/conveyancer tells me to. I can't understand why they think people would do this and why they get upset about us wanting it to go to our solicitor. Trust me, we want the land and we want to live at Jordan Springs. We also want to protect ourselves, wouldn't anyone?

Solicitor emails me at 5 this afternoon - still no contract of sale, but the broker has been given the front page for the laon. Grrr...... they better sort this out. I can't see myself signing until mid to late next week now. I need money and solicitor approval first.

As a tip for anyone, don't sign anything until you have it checked.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Verbal Approval for Land Loan

Excellent news, our finance broker got verbal approval today of the loan for the land. That's one step almost complete that will give us a big sigh of relief. They need the contract for sale first page and some other stuff but they're pretty happy with giving us the loan. Now we wait.

We're struggling at the moment to get her the cover page as Nancy from Jordan Springs went on a conference for a few days. Seems like no-one else can help so we play the waiting game. Oh well, no need to worry, just delays us paying that 5% deposit. Our solicitor is chasing it also and not having any luck.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Property Law - Don't sign anything until the solicitor tells you to.

Joe Grassi
Today we appointed Joseph Grassi and Associates as our solicitor to handle the whole project. The guys are property lawyers and conveyancers that can do everything from looking over your bank loan contracts, looking over your contract of sale for land and even reviewing building contracts.

Our thought was keeping everything with one place was the best way to go. This guy is very good and he will make changes to your contracts for the better. There are different prices but at time of writing a home package was about $1785 with extra for reviewing bank loans, surveys etc.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to do the Splits?

Seeing we have to borrow money for something that doesn't yet exist; it makes it hard to organise finance. This is the plan....big thanks to our broker from Advanced Finance Solutions.

  • Borrow 95% of the land, pay the 5% deposit. For the time being, make it interest only.
  • Gain pre-approval for a figure for the construction. Land does't settle till June next year. Have this ready to go, this would be P and I.
  • Change current mortgage to interest only, no need to keep paying principle off that.
  • Later consolidate land and construction possibly. (Need to work that out later).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holding Deposit Paid

So the day has finally come. Peta and I have been saving for such a long time. Back in April this year we attempted to go for a loan. The October before we tried to get a block of land at Waterside. I swear things happen for a reason. We were knocked back on the loan basically being told we needed more savings. 
Well about 3 days ago I decided to look again at why we were knocked back on the loan back in April. I'd been on Holidays for a few weeks, I was heading back to work but life at home was slowing down so I thought I'd start putting my goals together.
I went through the email and basically we needed  money to cover stamp duty. "Light Bulb!!!!" Earlier his year the NSW government (despite how much they suck) announced no stamp duty is required on new homes < $600,000 AUD.
I got the calculator out and realised that we had more then enough if that was the case, more like double what we needed to cover the 5% depoist, LMI and legals. We decided to go do some work on working out where we wanted to live. 

The options were:

After some serious thought we have decided on Jordan Springs, the reasons being - 

  1. Land is about $60,000 cheaper then the average of the other suburbs, because it's off the plan prices.
  2. They have a housing affordability fund, refundable on settlement of the land with building plans worth $22,600.
  3. $2000 in landscaping to all purchasers.
  4. Close to brand new school and shops, has basketball courts too.
  5. Offers fibre to the home.
  6. Gives us the greatest investment return over the next two years with the cheaper land, the HAF and landscaping bonus. I'm expecting about 50-100k in equity the day we move in if all goes well.
We placed $1000 deposit to hold a lot at Jordan Springs, Lot 1182, 450sqm. Total land cost came to $252,500. We're waiting on the loan approval but things look good.