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Everything you need to know about a free quote & why you should avoid it

Embarking on a new construction project involves navigating through the intricacies of quotes, particularly the seemingly helpful “free quote.” These often come in the form of pre-filled templates, swiftly presented by salespeople during discussions about your project’s specifics. However, the danger lies in the illusion of inclusivity, leading you to believe your requests have been considered when, in reality, they might not be. Adding to the complexity, the term “quote” holds different meanings for different builders, leaving you uncertain about what exactly is being offered.

Understanding estimates and tenders

Understanding the nuances of the quote is essential, and it begins with recognising the two main types: estimate and tender. An estimate serves as the initial price indication, offering insight into where a builder stands in the market. It should be a pared-back cost based on your site, custom plan, and the builder’s standard inclusions, representing the best price they can offer for your completed home. On the other hand, a tender, the second price you receive, is generated after finalising selections and adjustments to your plan. This figure is crucial as it transforms into a fixed-price contract, encompassing site costs, your custom design, and any optional inclusions you have specifically requested.

To ensure all bases are covered and you receive the best possible price, you should never settle for just an estimate or tender alone. The key lies in a well-informed approach to having your project quoted.

How To Ask The Right Builder For A Price

Begin with solid research and a clear vision for your home. Looking at local builders’ projects, see beyond colours and fixtures and focus on the actual home—how spaces connect and how you would live in them. Consider factors like the home’s connection to the environment, making the most of natural light, breezes, and the sun’s warmth. This foundational understanding is critical from the project’s outset.

Shortlisting potential builders is key! To learn how, read our blog “How To Spot A Professional Builder”. Engage in face-to-face discussions with each builder to gauge compatibility. By this stage, you should be looking to narrow down your list of builders to 1 or 2 who are aligned with your vision and request estimates from them. Assess the estimates against your budget, and if satisfied, move to the next stage.

Should I Have To Pay For A Quote?

Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a quote doesn’t necessarily require payment. A professional builder often offers a project-specific estimate as part of a concept agreement, turning the quoting process into a strategic investment. This agreement involves engaging a design and construct specialist who understands the significance of tailored spaces that reflect your individual lifestyle.

The benefits of a concept agreement extend beyond a simple piece of paper with generic prices. It signifies a journey guided by a step-by-step process, ensuring your needs are met and expectations exceeded. Leveraging their extensive experience, the design team can estimate the rough cost of your home during the design stage. Once the design is finalised, their database of specialist trades and suppliers comes into play, providing an accurate price to complete your home.

An alarming statistic reveals that over 70% of architecturally designed homes are never built due to budget constraints; the clients are told their design reflects the specified budget; however, when they start obtaining estimates from builders, it becomes clear that the home will cost significantly more to build. This statistic emphasises the critical aspect of integrating the design and quoting processes to achieve accurate pricing. A concept agreement addresses this issue, offering the opportunity to design your home with access to the builder’s pricelist and the flexibility of a staged approach to the sales process. You won’t need to sign a contract just to get a price.

What Is Involved In A Concept Agreement

The process typically involves the builder organising a site survey to determine site costs and project-specific requirements. A concept design featuring a custom floor plan tailored to you and your site is also presented. The result of this process is a project-specific estimate based on your design and site, considering the best available prices from suppliers and trades. It’s worth noting that estimates are typically only valid for a couple of months due to the constant price changes of materials and trades.

Once the concept agreement is complete, you normally need to decide if you are ready to take the next step. If you opt to move forward, you enter the preliminary stage, obtaining approval and initiating the detailed planning of your project. This includes completing selections and specifications so that we can ensure the full scope of your project is priced. Once we have documented your project in full, we begin the price optimisation process with everything from trades to materials and fixtures being requoted at the best possible price. The final price is then presented as a tender, which can be locked in as a fixed price contract for the duration of your build, providing the security and peace of mind that a fixed-price offers.

The journey from receiving a quote to the security of a fixed-price contract should be simple and direct. A professional builder will offer you a staged process to provide you with the necessary information to make informed decisions at each step.

Ready to start building?

If you’re ready to take the next step & would like to speak with a professional builder at a time that suits you, Book a discovery call now using our online booking calendar.
You can speak to our team (obligation-free), and we can answer any questions about your project or the build process.

Still not ready to speak with a builder? That’s okay! Doing as much research as possible during this stage of your build journey will save you from making some big mistakes. Download our free guide, “7 things you must know before designing a home.” Link to Download. This guide will provide the correct information to help you avoid some critical mistakes homeowners make throughout the planning process.

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Carl Edwards

As the Director of Edwards Family Homes, Carl Edwards brings over four decades of expertise to residential construction on the Central Coast. With a career deeply rooted in the region, Carl's journey began with an apprenticeship right here on the Central Coast with his father Allan Edwards, where he honed his skills and developed an understanding of the local landscape.

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