How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch
How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

This weekend, Lend Lease launched ‘Atherstone’ in Melton South – a house and land development that had been advertised on the council website and signs surrounding the area, notably on Bridge Road, in the lead up.

The area has a proposed train station, town centre, oval, community hub and school noted on the master plan and will see the 481 hectare masterplan potentially house 4,000 homes and up to 11,500 people.

With these significant statistics in mind, it’s not surprising that on the drive out there is vast expanses of currently undeveloped land, offering a range of lot sizes, prices and streets.

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

Sunday saw the release of the display homes, from a number of home builders showing off their wares. Burbank, Carlisle Homes, Ei8ht Homes, Elite Home Constructions, Fenhurst Homes, Granvue Homes, JG King Homes, Kingswood Homes, Porter Davis, Quantum Homes, Simonds and Snowdon were on the list to display, although on the day a couple of these appeared to be missing.

With such a range on offer, and similar at other releases, how can prospective investors and home buyers be sure to make the most of their time on site?

Prepare in advance

Do not head in to the development cold. Know whether you are interested in the area itself, or just trying to get a feel for different building styles. A display home launch is a great place to get inspiration for your next property, however it can also quickly see you overwhelmed as you walk through beautiful home after beautiful home.

Bring a camera (or smartphone/tablet with photo capacity), a notepad and pen and a bag (for all the brochures). If you already have a block of land, come prepared with the specs on that property and your budget requirements.

If you can, have an idea about which of the builders you may already be interested in. A bit of googling and searching online can do wonders for cutting down who you do and do not want to see. If you're going to be buying with someone else, then involve them in this process even if they cannot be at the display launch themselves.

Be the early bird

Come to the site a little earlier than any of the major events – such as BBQs or, in this case, a high tea.

House and land developments and display launches, particularly in family-friendly areas, are often swarmed with children. For those wanting to get a clear picture on the day – leave the kids at home. While these events are advertised to bring your little ones along, providing bouncy castles and balloons, they are still in your care. Property Observer notes how difficult it can be to really get a concept of how the floor plan might work for you when you’re trying to keep one eye on your offspring running from room-to-room.

Get yourself some easy parking and head in early so you don't find yourself waiting in queues.

Be selective

While there’s a lot on offer, you need to be specific and selective when on site. The more display suites you wander through, the more overwhelmed you are going to be. The closer you are to purchasing/building, the narrower your search field should be, so if this is your first display launch and you have not yet purchased a block, don’t feel too disheartened if you look around every property and still feel confused.

For those further in the journey, you should have some idea of what you are looking for. If you want a green-star property, or a two-storey home, then it’s time to prioritise. Do not feel that you need to go into the properties in the order they are presented in. Take five minutes to choose the top display suites to look at. Often, you will be presented with some form of a map (such as that below), which can quickly help you plan ahead.

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

While the above map itself was actually part of a competition - where maps that were completely stamped were up for a draw for a $500 prize - it actually proved to be a useful tool for navigating the site, and for later reference.

Heading in to the builder’s show room

Don’t get too distracted by the bells and whistles on the day. While it was nice that cakes and tea, a BBQ and face painting were offered on the weekend, for those with limited time frames, remember why you’re there.

Often, before you head into the display property itself – or in the first room – you will enter into a builder’s display. Here, floor plans, pricing information and other details are on offer. Gather what you can and keep these in order. Note the prices, and ensure to leave anything that is outside of your affordable range, unless you’re looking for comparisons. Leave speaking to the consultant until after you have wandered around the property itself, as this should give you more questions to ask.

Get a copy of the floor plan for the display suite you’re going to look at. This will come in handy later.

Entering the display suite

By this point, you’re ready to enter the display suite. This is the fun part that home buyers love – however, don’t be hasty. Pull out that camera and take a snap of either the marker sign (often at the front of the home) that notes which floor plan/property style this is, and which builder, or the appropriate part of the brochure. This provides you a marker for when looking back at your photographs. You don't need to be a photography expert - the below will attest to that - these are just to jog your memory for later use.

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

The great thing about these photos is that they also provide details you may not have remembered - for instance, while the 'Jade' floor plan from one builder clearly sticks in the mind, the size of the lot and the dimensions were less easy to remember.

Now, put the camera away and walk through the property.

Enjoy yourself, look at the beautiful furnishings and wallpaper, and the pretty ornaments on the table. Have a bit of fun with the interior design. The below, for instance, was a stand out idea that Property Observer loved, and there was much to be in awe of.

How to: Navigate a house and land display home launch

We all thoroughly enjoy this part of the process, but now it’s time to take a step back, and move past the furniture. Remember you’re buying the building and that unless you purchase the interior design, furniture and (importantly!) the cleaner with the home, you’re unlikely to ever see your property looking quite this nice. This doesn't mean you can't take inspiration, nor that you can't order the furniture (there are often brochures available for the interior decorating, as well as furniture packs that you can purchase emulating these styles), however remember what you're here for.

Start from the front door again, and take photos clockwise of each room in the property. Take down notes of any features you particularly like, or elements that you do not like (such as, an open plan study right next to the kitchen – a feature seen in one of the Atherstone display suites). If you have a lot to get through, an easy way to remember a feature you really like is to photograph it twice - this will call your attention to it when you're later going through the details.

Then take a moment, and listen in to what other people are saying – are certain corridors too narrow (something that is easily noticeable when heavily trafficked by interested families) or is the bathroom too dark because of the tiles? Remember you can change the colours and materials, but that certain aspects will stay the same. The preference of different people will be revealing – is a certain floor plan popular with families, and another for DINKs? Don’t think that you can’t ask others looking what they think of the property as well - usually everyone is more than happy to have a chat.

Head back to the builder’s showroom

If you liked the display suite, head back in to the builder’s showroom and get yourself a business card. Speak to a consultant about inclusions and what can/cannot be changed. Note this information down and ask about other floorplans as necessary. Ensure you ask about extra costs for changing aspects of the building, and for any extra information that isn't easily available in the suite itself.

Repeat this procedure for the different builders and display suites.

A quick debrief

Head home and go over your notes. The quicker you review what you did/didn’t like and the prices, the more likely it is to stay in your mind. Don’t be too concerned if everything has blurred in your head already – after more than five display suites that are often quite similar, it’s unsurprising.

At this point, you may realise different things looking back at the photographs and floor plan. Perhaps the bedrooms are just slightly too small for the double beds that your teenagers need, and they just looked bigger due to careful furniture placement. Narrow down your selections and choose either your favourite elements, or your favourite overall floor plans. Some people scrapbook, others keep online folders and some even create excel spreadsheets. How you keep your records is a 'how to' for another time.

Well done! You’ve just finished navigating a display home launch. Now it’s time to either head to another, or to get in touch with a builder.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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