Building 101 – Buying land in Tasmania? Here’s 3 simple (but vital) checks and tests to do before you buy.

Everybody’s talking about real estate in Tasmania. Prices are soaring for existing homes and competition to secure a block of land is high.  But before you sign on the dotted line, here’s a few tips we think are important.

If you’re keen to build a new home, it’s natural to feel pressure to sign a contract on a block, especially amongst the hype that’s happening at the moment.  But when you’re building a home (or investment property), your design possibilities and build costs literally rest on the land you buy.

Our advice?  Get informed.

Here’s 3 tests and checks you can do to make sure the block of land you’re excited about is as good as it looks.

  1. Get familiar with LISTmap (it’s free)

If you haven’t checked out LISTmap, head there nowLISTmap (LIST stands for Land Information System Tasmania) is an online tool that takes the guesswork out of analysing land in Tasmania.

We love LISTMap because it’s visual, interactive and FREE.  Search for the address/suburb title you’re looking at and get immediate information on zoning, coastal erosion vulnerability, bushfire danger and flood history. Simply select the information you want to see (e.g., zoning) and it will appear as a layer over the top of the map.

Even if you haven’t found the perfect block yet, jump on and have a play.  We’d suggest making a list of the areas you would like to live or invest in.  Then, spend some time researching each area on LISTmap. Your search might reveal ‘red flags’ (e.g. no access to town water or is prone to a landslip) that we can discuss with you.

  1. Book a block inspection with us (or your chosen builder)

It’s impossible to overemphasise the importance of a block inspection. You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing if it’s got aircon, so don’t buy a block that might not meet your basic needs.

At a block inspection, we’ll meet you onsite and talk about fundamentals like orientation (the way the block faces), slope and size. In reality, getting these things right can save you thousands. Plus, block inspections can be fun; if it’s looking good, we can walk around and start visualising the view from your loungeroom!

  1. Find out the soil type (and avoid blowing your budget on footings and foundations!)

A soil test is the single, most critical test required for the residential blocks we see. Why?  Soil type determines how much of your budget needs to be set aside for footings and foundations (surprisingly, it can be a significant chunk!)

When you enquire about a block, ask the landowner or real estate if a soil test has already been done and request the results.  If a test hasn’t been done, we can arrange for a geotechnical engineer to do it.

If you’re feeling the pressure to make an offer and a soil test hasn’t been done, don’t stress. It is possible to make a conditional offer based on receiving good soil test results.  This is a common condition on the contract of sale for land and blocks.

So there you have it, 3 vital checks to do before you sign that contract. Want more?  Make sure you read our past blog with 5 key questions to ask landowners or real estate agents here.

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Blog post written by Karli Franks.  


Building 101 – How long does it take to build a home?

One of the most common questions we get asked is, ‘how long will it take to build our new home?’

At Own-A-Home we build customised homes.  That means we help you design a home that’s tailored to you.  So, with that in mind, here’s our average timelines for a new home build. 

First, the design and approvals stage takes around 3 months.  Then, once we’ve got a ‘construction slot’ scheduled for the actual build, it takes our crew 6 – 7 months to build a single storey home or 7-9 months to build a two storey home.   

Right now (September 2020), thanks to federal and state government building grants, we’ve got more builds scheduled than average. So, to meet the demand we’ve had to schedule more time between completing the planning phase and actually starting the build of a new home.  

This post is the first of many planned for our ‘Building 101’ series.  It’s about just what it takes to design, build and move into your new home.  We’ll be posting on our blog, Facebook and Instagram (@ownahometas_builders) so, be sure to give us a follow and shoot through your questions.

Next in the series, we’ll be talking to local mortgage broker Issy Reeves about just how important it is to understand your building budget.  


2020 Tasmanian First Home Builders Grant extension and Federal HomeBuilders Grant – here’s what you need to know

There may never have been a better time to build a new home in Tasmania!

There’s up to $45,000 worth of grants available to build your new home with the announcement of new and extended Federal ($25,000) and State Government ($20,000) incentives.

So, what do you need to know?

We’ve collated the most up to date information for you right here (it actually took us a while to find it too!) so you can check your eligibility.

Aside from qualifying for the grants, another key ingredient is the signing of contracts and construction timelines.

You will need to sign a contract from today until the end of December and, construction must begin within three months.  Then there’ll be 2 years to complete the build of your new home.

We’re excited too and keen to talk through any questions you might have so please get in touch via our contact page.

Federal Government HomeBuilder $25,000

The Federal Government’s HomeBuilder will give eligible owner-occupiers (including new home buyers) with $25,000 to build a new home (or substantially renovate an existing home).

You will be able to apply for HomeBuilder via the Tasmanian Government.  We’ll keep you posted as more information about applications comes to light.

To see if you qualify jump onto the FAQ page.

Tasmanian Government First Home Builder Grant Extension $20,000

Premier Peter Gutwein has announced the Tasmanian Government’s First Home Builder grant of $20,000 will be extended to any owner-occupier (so you don’t have to be building your first home to qualify!)

Detailed guidelines are available via here

For the most reliable information about both grants visit the State Revenue Office Covid-19 webpage.

Want to read more?  Check out the local news announcements on ABC, the Examiner and the Advocate websites.

 Want to stay up to date with future blog releases?  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Blog post written by Karli Franks. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


5 key questions to ask real estate agents about every block of land (before you book an inspection)

It’s no secret that finding the perfect block of land is one of the first steps to building your own home.

But as the price of land increases, paying top dollar doesn’t always guarantee you’re getting prime land to build on.

Here’s 5 over-the-phone questions you can ask the real estate agent before you book an inspection.

What is the zoning of the block?

Zoning affects what you can and can’t build on a block of land.  It even affects whether you can knock down and rebuild a home.  In Tasmania, iplan provides interactive maps that can also tell you the zoning of a particular block of land.

Does the block have any easements?

Easements refer to ‘the right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land’.  Easements may be in place to ensure other properties have access to services such as water or power.  If there is an easement on the block of land you’re looking at, it may impact your building ‘envelope’, or the exterior ‘shell’ of your home.

Is the block prone to bushfire, flood, coastal erosion, coastal inundation or landslip?

Building in areas prone to natural hazards may need additional considerations which can influence the design of your home and cost to build.  The iplan tool mentioned earlier also provides great information about areas prone to natural hazards in Tasmania.

Has a soil test been done on the block yet?

Soil tests determine what type of soil the block of land made up of.  Soil types can influence the cost of building a new home.  If you like the block and a soil test hasn’t been done, talk to us.

Does the block have connections to town water, power, and other services?

Finally, if you find out the block isn’t already connected to services it’s a good idea to contact service providers or, talk to us, about the cost to connect the block to power, water, sewage and so on.

A final tip…

As you can probably tell, it’s a great idea to get us, or your builder, involved early.  Plus, as vacant land is becoming harder to find, being flexible with your home design can help you start building sooner.

If a block of land seems suitable we’re happy to come along to an inspection with you. That way, we can talk confidently about the style, size, and estimated costs of building your home on that block.

But, if your heart’s set on a specific house plan or design, we can help you figure out what you’ll need to look for in a suitable block.

Knowing what you’re looking for saves you time (and disappointment) because you’ll only look at blocks with real potential. And, if you’ve got your criteria set, real estate agents can keep an eye out for suitable blocks too.

 Want to stay up to date with future blog releases?  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Blog post written by Karli Franks.