House Building Guide Christchurch And Canterbury

Thinking about building your new home in Christchurch? Here is everything you need to know from subdividing or buying your section and house and land packages through to budgeting for your new home.

Finding The Perfect Section

The first step when building a new home is buying your land. The success of your new build depends heavily on choosing the right land from the beginning. Finding your dream piece of land can be exciting, but doing your research is crucial to finding the perfect section.

A piece of land that looks ready for building on may not always be so, it is a good idea to get a local builder involved right from the start of your search. Think of it as a pre-sale inspection just as you would for buying a car. Having a building expert on hand may help you save a lot of money in the long run, but in the meantime here are some tips on finding the perfect section.

Top 6 Tips For Finding The Right Section

While price is often the deciding factor when buying a section for many, there are a few more important factors to consider, these include:

  1. Look At The Location. This includes the city, town, suburb and even street. Look around in the area you’re considering and then choose the piece of land that most appeals to you and offers convenience. How far away is work? If you have children, how far is the school? How’s the security? The site might be great, but if it is not convenient, then it just won’t work over the long run.

  2. Take Note Of The Orientation? Which direction does the section face? How much sun will it get? Can you build a house on it that will make the most of the sunny spots?

  3. Size, Is The section Big Enough? Make sure your planned home will fit comfortably onto the piece of land, and consider extra space for gardens and entertaining too.

  4. Research The Tech Specs. This includes investigating things like soil stability, slope elevation and architectural guidelines. Knowing the geography, geology and makeup of the land on which the house will be built is vital. This means getting a geotechnical report before you decide to build. This report will enable you to know the condition of the site, determine foundation requirements, and what changes you’d need to make to your design/budget before the build commences.

  5. Stick To The Budget. Choose something you can afford. If you don’t have enough money, don’t buy the land. There is no need to spend too much money on a piece of land and reduce overall budget to the point where you cannot complete the build.

  6. What Services Are Available? The services being offered and how much they cost to install is also an important factor. Find out whether water, power, broadband and phone services are available, if they are at the boundary, and how much it will cost to get them across to the house.  Also check for things like rubbish disposal and recycling services.

The Process Of Land Subdivision In Christchurch

For some, subdividing off an existing piece of land can be an attractive option for building a new house instead of buying a new section. Just like finding the perfect section, subdividing land in Christchurch, or anywhere in Canterbury, requires adequate knowledge to get it right.

Simply put, the process of subdivision consists of dividing a large plot of land into smaller plot(s) – all of which you are still in complete control of until their sale. Although there are a range of benefits that come with this investment method, it’s important to be aware that the process can be arduous and expensive if you are unprepared.

Territorial authorities (Councils) are responsible for managing subdivision in each area through the preparation of district plans and consideration of individual subdivision consent applications. Although subdivision in Christchurch is fairly straightforward it is recommended you hire a knowledgeable and experienced professional for assistance to ensure things go as planned.

Stages Of Land Subdivision In NZ

There are 5 basic stages to subdividing land in NZ, these are:

  1. Consent. The initial stage of subdividing involves getting consent from the local council, which will in turn provide you with specific requirements necessary for the approval. This can include things like access and covenants.

  2. Approval. For final approval you will need a licensed surveyor to submit your plans. You’ll also need your lawyer or conveyancing company to put together the legal documents required.

  3. Certification. Certification must be lodged with the Register-General of Land stating that the territorial authority has approved the survey plan and all of the conditions of the subdivision consent have been complied with

  4. LINZ Approval. All legal title documents and the survey plan must be lodged with Land Information New Zealand for approval.

  5. Certificate Of Title. The existing title on the land is cancelled and individual certificates of title are issued for each new parcel of land shown on the survey plan.

3 Benefits Of Land Subdivision

Why subdivide? For many land owners subdividing provides the opportunity for some or all of the subdivided plots to help pay for their new build. What are some other benefits of subdividing?

  • Greater Earning Potential. The primary and most obvious benefit of land subdivision are the financial rewards. The amount of returns all depends on the available space and property value. Whether you decide to sell the subdivided land outright or use it for property development, it’s usually a reliable source of income.

  • More Attractive Lot Sizes.  Smaller lots have more marketability than larger lots. By subdividing your land you can potentially achieve positive returns in a quicker time frame. 

  • Great Flexibility. Through land subdivision, you are given the opportunity to either sell the section off for immediate capital or rent it out for ongoing, passive income or hold onto it for future gains.

Land subdivision in Christchurch can be profitable, but it also requires expertise.  If you are in the process of considering land subdivision as a method of investment, then you should consider getting in touch with a professional.

Matching Your House And Section

When it comes to building your new home it’s not just about getting the right section, designing your house to fit the section is just as important. While many sites on property developments are quite straightforward in terms of topography (slope and lay of the land), other sites can be tricky.

If possible, always find your section first then design the house to fit the section, or at the very least consider tweaking your design to best fit the site. Be aware if the land you are building on is not yet fully developed, you’ll need to do your research. This research involves engineering, geo technical, zoning, access to utilities and more.

5 Factors To Consider When Matching House Plans And Sections

Sometimes you hear stories about include people purchasing a section without the necessary research done to ensure its suitability for building. Imagine having to add $50,000 in unforeseen engineering and earthworks to the price of a section! It’s happened before and can scuttle the dreams of homeowners – especially if the budget really matters. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when fitting your house plan to your new section.

  1. The permitted size and height of the property.

  2. Setbacks in relation to the boundary.

  3. Local Council regulations.

  4. Covenants in place on the land/section.  

  5. Slope of the land (if any).

House Plan Options

If you already have an existing plan, there may be some changes needed so it will suit the piece of land you have chosen. You may decide to use a custom home plan instead to make your property more unique. Once you have an idea of the topography of the piece of land, you can look at incorporating it into your home design as well, or landscape the property before you begin building.

When it comes to the design, you have several options available. The most common house design options are:

  • Design your own.

  • Choose from existing house plans.

  • Use existing house plans and tweak them.

  • Have a bespoke or custom design developed just for you. 

More on house plans and designing your home to come – keep an eye on our extensive home building blog here.

What About House And Land Packages?

Demand for house and land packages in Christchurch and Canterbury is high due to the rapid rise in new housing developments after the earthquakes. Investing in a house and land package could be a viable alternative for all kinds of buyers including first home buyers with limited budgets or investors looking to earn increased rental values on their properties.

With house and land package deals clients can still get some degree of flexibility in making some of the key decisions for the build this may include choosing from pre-existing designs or creating your to meet your specific needs.

What Are House And Land Packages?

There are two types of house and land packages – turnkey house and land packages are what most people think of when considering the package deal, and just plain house and land contracts.

Turnkey Packages

Turnkey homes are where you pick from the sections and selection of house designs made available by the building company offering the package. Turnkey packages usually only require a 10% deposit with the building company carrying the cost of the build until they hand over your completed home and you pay the agreed price. This option is great for those who want to rid themselves of any of the financial pressure and stress of building a new home but you are usually limited to certain sections and house designs due to the fixed pricing model.

House And Land Contracts

With plain house and land contract deals, you are expected to purchase the land up front and then select your house plan or customise a plan and proceed with fixed price construction timeline payment schedule. This will mean a succession of ‘progress payments’ as the build continues which usually include Deposit, Frame Up, Roof On, Lock Up, Fixtures And Fittings, and Practical Completion.

4 Benefits Of House And Land Packages

While saving money may be the motivating factor for many house and land deals, there are some other benefits that may interest you, here are our top 4.

  1. Better Rental Returns. For property investors newly built homes attract high quality tenants and you can optimise the design to suit the rental plan you have in mind. Renters also tend to be longer-term when compared to older houses because of the level of comfort. They know that the house is in its best possible condition.

  2. Lower Maintenance Costs. Minimising maintenance issues is a big one not just for investors but homeowners as well. Building new means spending less time on cleaning, repairing or the general upkeep that’s inevitably required with an existing home.

  3. Set Pricing. The cost of the combination build and section are usually quite up front. This allows for better budgeting, and is great for buyers who require pre-approved finance. House and land packages and turnkey solutions are one of the easiest and fastest ways to buy a home that can be tailor made to suit a your needs.

  4. No Additional Costs. In many cases professional interior designers and architects are involved in every aspect of the design which ensures a high quality product without the costs associated with hiring these consultancy services individually.

Budgeting For Your New Build

When you’re in the planning phase of your new home, budgeting is very important step. You should be smart about budgeting, and always set aside a little extra for unforeseen costs. If you plan thoroughly from the start, you are going to more likely be able to cope with unexpected occurrences later on.

4 Things To Consider When Budgeting For Your New Build

Avoid budget blow outs on your new build with these 4 helpful budget tips.

  1. Be Realistic. When planning the budget for your home, you need to be realistic with costs and your expectations, always allow some wiggle room. Once you’ve discussed your project and budget with your builder or architect they will be able to confirm that the building will cost will be within your budget. Fixed price contracts are a good option if you are in a position where you need to know the final cost up front.

  2. Plan, Plan, Plan. One of the most common ways to blow the budget is by failing to plan. Consider all the details, break the costs down into categories like section, house, driveway, landscaping etc and set a budget for each category. Try to include everything you can think of and do some research or get quotes to find out how much each thing will cost.

  3. Stick To The Original Design. Remember to try and stick to the plans as per your original layout and design. Any changes you make once the build has begun are going to have an impact on your building budget, so be well informed before you make them. Most building companies label these kids of mid-build changes “Variations” and they will incur hefty fees.

  4. Avoid Scope Creep. A hundred dollars here or there might not seem like much at the time, but ‘scope creep’ (small incremental spending over and above what was budgeted for) can completely blow your budget without you even realising. This means opting for slightly more expensive carpet, or choose to upgrade the appliances for example – once you have your budget set, stick to it.

Building On The Port Hills

If you’ve thought about building a new home in Canterbury, then you may have considered building on the Port Hills. The good news is there are many new innovations in building today that allow you to make use of varying topography to build a unique home that fits the section. This new technology can save spending time and money on heavy retaining, excavating and flattening of land.

As well as stunning views, building on the Port Hills can allow you to enhance natural features in your home and build something special that can be easily blended with the landscape. When you work with nature, you can make use of natural ventilation and sunlight as well as building to enjoy the natural scenery around you with the stunning views of Christchurch and beyond.

If you are intending to build on the Port Hills in Christchurch it is important to choose your buildercarefully. They should be experienced in this kind of build and have geotechnical engineers, architects and designers who are also experienced with this type of building project.

Well trained, experienced people will be able to predict any possible issues and work at counteracting the problems before the build starts. Split level homes and other innovative designs for a sloped property means your home can stand out from the rest. Using the slope and building your house with the flow of the land means you get to use more of you section.

Build7 Christchurch Builders

Having your perfect home in your ideal location makes all the effort of building your own home worthwhile. Maybe you’ve just moved to the Christchurch area and have decided to look for the perfect section to build a new home? Because you’re new, you still don’t know where to start looking. Or you’ve just decided to have a change of scenery and move to another place that better suits your current situation.

Whatever the reason, playing the most important role in whether you have a positive experience or not, is the home builder that you choose. This should be decided after careful consideration and research. Various qualities of the company that you choose should include: a successful track record, a portfolio of past projects, and helpful and reliable customer service. Look for qualified people that demonstrate excellent communication skills, and that understand your vision and that you feel you can work together with over the long term.

Builders and designers can assist you with advice which will help your project stay within the budget. They also know cost cutting strategies to keep costs down during the building phase. Need assistance with house and land packages, budgeting for your new home or just choosing the right house design to match your section – Build7 are here to help. You can simply relax and enjoy the lifestyle with all of the features of your new home in the right place, just as you have planned them.

At Build7 Christchurch, we can help you through the entire build process; this includes everything from choosing your land (even negotiating the price), drawing up your custom house plan and taking you through the build process. It’s important to hire professionals for the entire project.

If you haven’t spoken to us yet, then we’d love to show you what we do and learn about your next dream home. Build7 are trusted experts providing housing solutions in Christchurch and around Canterbury. Contact us for more information about custom house plans, our house and land packages and free design service or see here for more information on building in Christchurch.