Rooms worth splurging on
What areas should you splurge on when building a new home, asks Erin Delahunty
UNLESS you have a bottomless bank account, building a new home requires careful thought about where to splurge and where to skimp. But deciding where to spend hardearned cash in a new build can be daunting, as the options seem endless.
Every buyer and build is different, but here is some general advice that might help you out.
Burbank Homes managing director Jarrod Sanfilippo said the kitchen and outdoor entertaining area had increasingly become the hubs of the home.
“As a result, we find these are two of the key places buyers are investing a little more money in,” he said. “With the rise of TV shows like
MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules, Australia’s focus on food has never been more prominent, and the increased use of culinary spaces reflects this.”
Hotondo Homes marketing coordinator Rosalie Mustica agreed. She said kitchens, as well as bathrooms, were popular splurge zones.
“These two areas will always offer the most functionality,” she said.
“Homebuyers want to ensure they’re getting longevity out of these rooms and, in turn, will be willing to pay a little extra for those added luxuries that will provide benefits for years to come.”
Ms Mustica said the kitchen was “almost always” the most used area of the home.
The features within a kitchen are also quite challenging to update on a regular basis, which is why it’s vital to get it right the first time,” she said.
“Updating benchtops, splashbacks
and cabinetry can become an expensive exercise, so by initially splurging, homebuyers will get a lot more value for money.”
Metricon design manager Ricky D’Alesio said island benches were a big item in the kitchen, as people tended to congregate around them. “So, they’re an addition worth spending a bit of extra on,” he said.
Homebuyers are also investing in main bedrooms, which have become more resort-like over the years.
Mr Sanfilippo said buyers wanted to ensure their bedroom was “a special kind of haven”.
“Consequently, a little more money is dedicated to this area to create the desired opulence,” he said.
Buyers are also after street appeal and are willing to cough up the bucks.
Mr D’Alesio said upgrading bricks or adding render were popular facade treatments, while spending a little extra on a heavier, upgraded door was also seen as a good way to improve kerb appeal.
Ms Mustica said cladding was more cost-effective than brickwork and still provided a great look, especially when married with feature rendering and brickwork.
“But be wary,” she cautioned. “While this look is amazing, it is definitely a trend at the moment.”
When it comes to storage, you can never have too much.
“Customers are spending extra money on storage solutions like walkin linen cupboards, walk-in pantries and extra storage in the garage,” Mr D’Alesio reported.
Mr Sanfilippo said savings could often be made by compromising on the size of rooms or by using more affordable materials.
“Using affordable materials like timber flooring adds a subtle sophistication to the home that won’t break the bank,” he said.
Ms Mustica said buyers often saved on items that could be updated later.
“Items including appliances, furniture and even some fittings, such as the types of tiles and flooring, will be selected more wisely in an effort to save,” she said.
“This comes down to value for money. For example, porcelain tiles are cheaper than ceramic and will resist chipping and cracking. Think carefully about what you want and what will survive the test of time. That should provide a solid indication of where you should invest a little more.”
The builders agreed one of the best ways to get “bang for buck” was to splurge on structural and sustainability features, not aesthetics.
Ms Mustica said choices like ceiling heights, brick selections and even heating and cooling systems would provide benefits throughout the life of a home.
“It’s always worth considering the energy efficiency of your home, too, as this will help your hip pocket in the long run and, of course, it’s better for the environment,” she said.
Mr D’Alesio said another way to save was to think about the areas you actually realistically required.
“You might need one, rather than two living areas, for example, but keep in mind future needs,” he said.
“Future-proof your home and include in your design the amenities required as you or your family evolve.”