Landed property is often difficult to find, especially if potential buyers have very specific ideas in mind. That is why many prospective homeowners choose to build their own property, rather than buying an existing home or renovating an older one. The building process is somewhat lengthy, but it generally does not take much longer than buying a property and renovating it. Best of all, once the process is complete, the property is ideally suited to the owner’s needs and wishes.
Choosing a Property and a Layout
The first steps to building a landed property are to choose a piece of land and determine a home design. In general, it’s best for consumers to have an ideal home in mind before they begin the search for land. At the least, potential property owners should have an idea of the size and layout of the property so they can choose land that works with the design.
After the land is chosen, an architect can help design a final layout using the owner’s requirements and the land size as a guideline. Oftentimes, contractors can help property owners with this process. Many contractors have architects they work with directly, and some even employ their own architects in-house.
Finding a Contractor and Signing a Contract
Once a landed property owner has chosen the perfect property, it’s time to find the perfect contractor. This can be a slightly difficult task, but there are ways to make it easier. For one, owners can choose a contractor that is approved by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The HDB keeps a list of registered contractors who specialize in building landed properties, so that’s the best place to start the search.
The contractor should have absolutely everything listed in the contract before it is signed. Owners should never assume that oral agreements will be upheld. Owners should take special care to read all the fine print before signing as well. At a minimum, contracts should include the following information:
- The name of the contractor
- The physical address of the contractor
- The name of the landed property owner
- The address or other location information that identifies the property
- The date the building process will begin
- The approximate date or timeline for completing the building process
- Guarantee period, if applicable
- Notes about delay periods, including reductions in compensation, if applicable
- Total contract amount, preferably with an itemized list included
- Payment terms
- Specific exclusions or inclusions
- Notes about resolution in case of a dispute
If the contract meets all these criteria, the next step is to sign the contract so the building process can begin.
During the Building Phase
The contractor obviously does most of the work while the home is being built, but the owners also have a few tasks to complete at different stages of the process.
Throughout the process, most owners will be asked to choose finishings for the interior and exterior of the home. These may include:
- Doors and windows
- Exterior wall finishings
- Lighting fixtures
- Plumbing fixtures
There are usually certain finishings that are included in the contract price. Oftentimes, more expensive finishings will cost an additional amount beyond the original price. This information is normally outlined in the contract so there are no surprises at this point of the process.
Supervise the Building Process
Even if the contractor is reputable and seems to be well in control of the project, it’s always a good idea to regularly check up on the process. Construction is generally a fairly quick process, so most owners will want to physically inspect the property at regular intervals. If something deviates from the contract or there is a concern, it’s best to discuss it with the contractor as soon as possible. Otherwise, there may be delays in the process.
Once construction is complete, there are a few more steps to complete before the home is habitable.
There should be a final inspection before the payment balance is remitted to the contractor. This should be very thorough, including even small items like testing electrical and plumbing fixtures.
Sometimes contractors include cleaning in the contract, but sometimes they do not. Even if these services are provided, they may not be done as thoroughly as the owner would like. If this is the case, a separate cleaning company may be hired to deep clean the property before furniture and furnishings are added.
Before purchasing furniture for the home, it’s important to measure each room and determine a furniture layout. Otherwise, owners may end up with furniture that’s too big to fit through doorways or too small for a large room. Owners should measure each space carefully (it’s preferable to measure twice for accuracy), then choose which pieces are necessary for the comfort and function of each room. Only then should owners proceed with purchasing furniture for the home.
Once all these steps are completed, it’s time to move into the new home. Owners can add home decor and furnishings, then enjoy living in their new landed property.