Hicaliber Team

The Average Costs to Build a 4 Bedroom House Explained

You’re ready to start looking at building yourself a new home for the long haul. Maybe you already have a family or you’re looking forward to settling down and having that extra space that only a 4 bedroom home can bring. You’re probably wondering what the average cost to build the 4 bedroom house of your dreams is going to be!

Let’s be honest, there is such a wide variety of home design options on the market today. The cost to build a 4 bedroom house estimates can vary drastically from home builder to home builder, and on top of this, you’re trying to determine your personal requirements for your dream 4 bedroom home. It can send your head in a spin!

This post sets the record straight and makes it easier to outline the average costs to build a 4 bedroom house in Australia. We have focused on 4 integral cost components that all new owners need to consider when planning their dream home:

  1. Home Design
  2. Sustainability Measures
  3. Site Preparation
  4. Flooring

Home Design

Depending on who you talk to, a 4 bedroom brick veneer home can cost anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 per square metre to build.

This “dollars per square metre” rule is common terminology, used in the industry by many builders and home owners. The rule is calculated by dividing the total cost of the build itself by the total amount of floorspace in 4 bedroom home
designs (this is only the internal floorspace and not reflective of your overall plot of land). This measurement can be an important asset to remember when estimating the cost of various aspects of your 4 bedroom home design.

Design is a determining factor in the overall cost of 4 bedroom house plans. A larger custom-built 4 bedroom house that has been built using high- quality fixtures and materials will invariably cost more than a simpler project-built 4 bedroom home, complete with a set plan and design to adhere to during the build.

These set designs are fresh out of the tin and as a general rule these off-the-plan designs tend to be a great deal cheaper to build than a custom designed 4 bedroom house. Custom builders will tend to struggle when trying to compete with project home builders where it comes to cost-effectiveness, as they are selling you a unique product tailored to suit your individual needs. Having said this, it is still important to remember that all 4 bedroom house designs are costed differently – which is all the more reason to speak with a professional builder when estimating your costs.

Another factor that can affect the overall cost-effectiveness of the average 4 bedroom house size is the quality of the building materials that have been used. Construction materials of lower quality can lead to the premature deterioration of your 4 bedroom home and lead to eventual repairs, refurbishments or restorations later to your house later down the track.

The painting or finish of the home (low, standard or high) is another important factor in the average cost to build a 4 bedroom house as products of a higher standard, such as a good binder can protect your home from spillage or long-term issues such as mildew.

Sustainability Measures

When thinking over your 4 bedroom house plans, it is vital to remember that your chosen builder will need to comply with any State and Local government sustainability measures.

Sustainability measures will vary from state to state, and sometimes from council to council. Generally speaking, sustainability is measured by all new 4 bedroom homes built in Australia through various basic energy efficiency and water-saving considerations.

It is also important to remember that these State and Local government sustainability measures will also ensure that your 4 bedroom home has been designed for the long term. It will cost you less in the grand scheme of things if you build your dream home using durable materials that stand the test of time but are also relatively easy to reuse or recycle.

By approaching the build of your 4 bedroom home with these sustainability measures in mind, think of using the most efficient appliances within your price range for your kitchen to encourage smart heating and cooling. Another good example of a sustainability measure in your own hands would be to consider house furnishings that minimise carbon emissions.

As a bare minimum, your builder should install reasonably high-quality insulation (in the roof and external walls of your property) and this insulation should maximise your energy efficiency. Other installations of high quality include roof sarking, and “water-wise” water fixtures throughout your home such as taps, showerheads and dual flush toilets. Some local councils will also insist on the installation of rainwater tanks which will take the pressure off your new home’s mains (drinking) water supply. Regardless of where you build in Australia, these sustainability measures will add to your upfront building costs.

Site Preparation

Regardless of the size and complexity of your 4 bedroom design, site preparation costs will naturally come into play at an early stage in the building process. If your design has large features such as bedrooms, additional ensuites or extra living spaces, your site preparation costs will be increased exponentially.

It is important to consider that certain mandatory site infrastructure costs will be out of pocket expenses incurred before the work can begin on your site. Some of these essential costs to your 4 bedroom home will include: obtaining a building permit and subsequent fees, the reporting from soil tests and the contouring of your land. Other costs to your new site will include a construction and warranty insurance from your builder and the erection of temporary fencing for your block just before the commencement of your build.

Once your site has been flattened, levelled and stabilised, an AS2870-compliant slab will need to be poured as the foundations of your property begin to take shape. As a rule of thumb, concrete slabs will generally cost you between $70 and $120 per square metre (if we also include costs incurred from the materials used and the labour included). If your 4 bedroom home design requires a thicker slab or your site is in an area which is difficult to access, you’ll probably pay more towards the higher end of our “dollars per square metre” rule.


One of the exciting aspects of building a home is choosing the floor coverings. There is such a huge range of floor covering materials on the market today to chose from which vary in quality, durability and cost-effectiveness, including carpet, tiles, laminate, linoleum (lino), vinyl and polished concrete. Larger 4 bedroom homes will have more floor space available and therefore there will cost more to cover.

Due to the variations in price and quality of these floor coverings, costs can have a wide range. An overview of indicative flooring costs is set out below.

  • Carpet: $30 – $150 per square metre (Note – you may be quoted in broadloom metres, which are 3.66m x 1m)
  • Tiles: $30 – $150 per square metre (ceramic tiles are cheapest; stone tiles are more expensive)
  • Laminate Flooring: $20 – $100 per square metre
  • Linoleum (lino): $30 – $70 per square metre
  • Vinyl Flooring: $30 – $70 per square metre
  • Polished Concrete: $50 – $100 per square metre

A Final Word

Hopefully, we’ve given you an idea of the average cost to build a 4 bedroom house. Building a new home can be a complex, costly and somewhat stressful experience. But there is no need to worry. An established national builder like
G.J. Gardner Homes can take the stress, hassle and complexity out of building your new home. In addition, our transparent fixed-price contracts provide certainty and peace-of-mind. For further information, please don’t hesitate to
contact us.

Going Green – Energy Efficient Home Designs

“It’s not easy being green”. Sorry, Kermit, you’re wrong – at least when it comes to building an ehome. There’s no better time to reduce your environmental footprint and slash your energy bills – forever.

While every new home must meet minimum energy efficiency standards, there’s potential to take it a whole lot further. Not only do you stand to gain on reduced energy bills, but a report in the Herald-Sun said that interest in energy efficient homes was rising, and may add to the value of a home.

Energy-efficient home designs are no longer just trendy: they are a lifestyle. This means the decisions you make today about how you design your home will have significant consequences when it comes time to re-sell. Understanding the link between your budget and the global consequences of your decisions makes you far better positioned to predict the attitudes of the buyers of the future.

A green attitude is already evident in the buying habits of millennials, as they pride themselves on being the first generation willing to pay significantly more for products that are more considerate of their impact on the environment, and this, of course, will include the houses they choose to buy. Millennials will not haggle solely on price, they will also negotiate on the specific ways their homes are both energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. This attitude has brought new meaning to the term “investment” and needs to be considered when talking to your builder about how to design an energy-efficient home.

Decide upfront; communicate early

If energy efficiency is on your radar, you’ll achieve the best results if you commit to the idea at the very earliest stages of your building project: as you’re choosing land and creating a home design. Your builder and designer then have the chance to provide a full range of ideas and options.

Sustainable design

When it comes to land and overall design, you’ll need to think about aspect and house orientation. Ideally, you want living areas to be north-facing to soak up winter sun; to limit windows on the east and west (or shade them well); and allow for cross-ventilation. You might choose to locate service areas like the garage and laundry in areas that would normally require extra heating or cooling.

Size does matter when it comes to sustainability. It’s important to choose a floor plan that’s just what you need; without unnecessary extra spaces. You might decide to forgo a media room, or a second living area for example.

Then there’s smart use of space. By creating zoned areas of rooms with similar uses, you can save on heating and cooling costs. With high ceilings and open plan designs, creative solutions can limit the energy drain: such as well-placed doors or room-dividing screens.

G.J. Gardner Homes designs can be easily adapted and customised to provide additional energy efficiency. In some areas, we offer the Balance range of highly efficient homes, which provide adaptable features, great looks and floor plans that work with narrow blocks.

The design decisions you make are critical: they’ll impact your heating, cooling and water costs for years to come.

The Balance range of house designs are highly energy efficient.

Building choices

This is where your builder can become your eco buddy. If you make it clear that efficiency is a priority, your builder can offer additional choices such as:

  • Advice on materials selection for walls, roofs and floors to add to energy efficiency and decrease maintenance
  • Additional insulation, for the house and for areas such as skylights
  • Solar hot water and solar power. New technology means you can now store solar energy and manage energy usage proactively
  • Rain water tanks and greywater for toilets and laundries
  • Use of water-saving taps and shower heads
  • Low energy lighting, such as LED
  • Installing fans as well as air-conditioning

Landscaping for your location

Again, make sure you tell your landscaper that you’re trying to maximise energy efficiency. Plant selection and placement can make a difference. It might be a matter of:

  • Choosing drought-resistant plants
  • Minimising lawn areas
  • Using vegetation to block the sun in exposed areas or let light through in cool areas

Over to you

Then it’s up to you for the big choices and the everyday ones that impact your energy bills. The big choices include buying energy-efficient appliances that are suitably sized for your spaces. The everyday choices are about where and when to use energy in your home, whether it’s turning on the air-conditioning vs opening some windows.

A final word on cost

But won’t it cost a lot to make a home energy efficient? That’s the perception, but the numbers stack up when you look at the payoff. On realestate.com.au, Brent Fletcher states that an 8-star house “will only add around 3.6% to the total cost of your build, but it could potentially save you more than 40% in heating and cooling costs.” And that’s not to mention the creature comforts you’ll enjoy from a new home that’s climate optimised; or the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing your bit for environmental sustainability.

Knock Down Rebuilds Vs Renovations

Knock Down Rebuilds Vs Renovations – The Pros and Cons for Each

If you are one of many homeowners who love your neighbourhood but not the house you live in, you will be facing the renovate or knock down dilemma.

You will find yourself asking: do I undertake a major renovation to add to my existing space? Or do I start from scratch, knock down my house and build my dream home in my favourite location?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we explore each approach to help you make a well-informed decision about which will work best for you.

A Knockdown and Rebuild: is it Even an Option for Your Home?

Some people aren’t as lucky to have the option to knock down their existing property and rebuild. Many factors surround whether this option is feasible for your circumstance. The following is what you will need to consider possible for a knockdown to happen:

  • Is your current home subject to council planning regulations? It is important to investigate whether your home faces demolition restrictions or major design limitations, like heritage listings for example, which would prevent a complete knockdown.
  • What is the size, scope, and budget of your renovation? If you’re only looking at a new room or two, then a rebuild isn’t suitable for such a small-scale project. However, if you are pondering a large-scale renovation, with a budget into the hundreds of thousands, a home rebuild is a viable option.
  • What is the current condition of your home? Especially when it comes to renovations, it is important to consider the current state of your home. Structural issues, the orientation of the building, and problems such as rising damp, or termites, all need to be evaluated professionally before making a decision.

Knock Down, Build Anew

The Housing Industry of Australia says about a third of all new detached houses are now knock down rebuilds. That’s because demolishing your existing home and building a new one has many advantages. They are:

  • Every design choice is completely yours: From the orientation of the house to the layout, design, and styling, the chance to create your dream home is highly appealing and effortlessly obtainable.
  • Maximised for modern living: It’s easy to incorporate modern essentials, such as seamless indoor/outdoor living, energy efficiency, and technological connectivity, to a brand new home, rather than trying to integrate them into an existing build.
  • Minimal maintenance: A new home is simpler and highly cost-effective to maintain than an older one, with areas such as heating and cooling proving far more economical in a new home.
  • Complete cost control: A new home can often be cheaper than a renovation, without any of those nasty surprises, like unsafe wiring that requires complete replacement, rotting timber, or even termites in the foundations. When you rebuild, you can be assured with our fixed pricing and no hidden extras promise those nasty cost additions won’t be an issue for you.

Why Knock Down Rebuild Homes Might not be for You

If you love the character of your existing house and you’re prepared to work with the quirks and challenges of an older home, a knockdown might not be your best option. However, we recommend you investigate the challenges before making your decision, as to avoid a forced knockdown in the future.

Ripe for Renovation

Are you considering a renovation to your home, rather than a knockdown? A renovation might be an appropriate option, especially if your home fits into the following:

  • It’s a character home in a character street: If you fell in love with the style, story, and history of your home, and there is market demand for its heritage, then a sympathetic renovation may be a better choice.
  • You’re starting with a strong structure: A renovation could prove an option for you if the overall condition of your home is sound. This is true for a well-placed orientation, too.
  • You want to stage the project: Many homeowners choose to renovate because they can complete the project over several years, allowing them to stagger the costs and balance any major life events, like births or trips overseas, into the process.

Why a Renovation Might Not be for You

Cost blow-out is the biggest disadvantage to a renovation, especially with any unexpected issues that come about from the existing structure. It is this unpredictability which makes it difficult to secure a fixed-term contract. Compromising on your dream home is the other major downside of a renovation; your design choices can be easily compromised when you have to consider the existing structure and its limitations.

Finding a Knockdown Specialist

It’s important to find a specialist builder with proven project experience. G.J. Gardner Homes has years of knock down experience and we take care of everything, all with the complete confidence of a fixed term contract.

Get in touch today and see how we can build you your dream house in your dream neighbourhood!

The Knock Down Rebuild Process: What to Expect

Understanding the knockdown rebuild process

If you like where you are currently living, but not the home you are in, a knockdown rebuild might be an appropriate solution for your family. The process involves pulling down your current house and using that particular area of land to construct a brand new one.

There are many reasons for choosing a knockdown-rebuild over a major home renovation. In many cases, it’s simply cheaper and easier to choose a knockdown-rebuild – particularly if your home is older. In this post, we outline the knockdown rebuild process in 5 simple steps.

  1. Check with the council
  2. Get expert advice
  3. New home design
  4. Organise the demolition
  5. New home rebuild

What are the benefits of a knockdown rebuild?

Knockdown rebuild homes allow you to have complete control over your project while benefitting from a more advanced design. In comparison to other renovation types, it is also a cost-effective option. A knockdown rebuild can be cheaper than moving or renovating. Renovating can be complicated, time-consuming and riddled with unforeseen delays compared to knockdown rebuilding. Construction aside, moving home requires you to pay stamp duty, which isn’t the case during the knockdown rebuild process.

A knockdown rebuild also enables you to stay in the area you love. And as well as plenty of financial benefits, knocking down your home can have a positive effect on your lifestyle.

1. Check with the council

There’s little point getting excited over a knockdown-rebuild if the local council (or government authority) won’t let you. Most councils have strict rules in relation to knockdown-rebuilds, as they can impact the wider community. If you’re living in a heritage-listed suburb, it’s highly likely that your home can’t be demolished.

Before deciding to knock down your existing home, it is essential to check whether your land is appropriate. The simplest way to assess whether you can do a knockdown-rebuild is to call the “planning and building” section of your local council. Although council websites usually provide information, it’s best to discuss your requirements with a council specialist. Provided you’re allowed to do a knockdown-rebuild, a direct call will help you understand what permits and approvals are required.

This will provide information about your land, such as its zoning and any limitations that can apply. The main aim is to ensure you’ll have a smooth building process that is free from interference from various organisations or the government.

Application for the demolition approval

Various aspects ought to be considered while applying for demolition approval. Below are some basic guidelines that may be required within your state:

  • Include a demolition plan. The plan should outline the building to be demolished and the services which need to be disconnected.
  • Provide evidence of land ownership. If you own your home, and have lived there for some time, the local council ought to have records of this. If you have acquired the land recently, a settlement letter from your conveyancer or solicitor will be required.
  • Prepare a waste management plan. This should include suggested methods of material disposal. If you’re not sure, you can always consult with the council about the different methods available.
  • Provide insurance details for the contractor licensed to carry out your demolition work.

2. Get expert advice

Once the Council has given you a tentative greenlight, you’ll need to hire an experienced building professional – someone with an in-depth understanding of council regulations and processes. Such a person could be a structural engineer, a certified town planner or an experienced builder (the one ultimately building your home). Many large national building companies – like G.J. Gardner Homes – provide expert assistance in this area.

An experienced building professional should not only provide advice, but assist with organising the various permits and approvals required for the project. As part of their evaluation process, they’ll seek to ascertain the following:

  • Are there any front boundary setbacks and easements on your property?
  • Do any council overlays or covenants exist on your property? – these typically relate to heritage, flooding, bushfire and flora protection.
  • Will the knockdown-rebuild disrupt traffic in your street? – if so, a traffic management plan could be required.
  • Does your new house design overlook or overshadow any neighbours?
  • Will the property’s public access point (which could be shared with neighbours) change in any way?
  • Which utilities (gas, water, electricity, telephone) require disconnection and removal?
  • Do any large trees require removal? – a separate council permit may be required.

As you’re probably starting to realise, getting expert advice during the early stages of a knockdown-rebuild is crucial.


3. New home design

Based on the results from your inspection and tests, you can finalise the design of your new home with your builder. Some builders will have previous projects you can view, meaning you can see the end product with your own eyes. Seeing a builder’s previous projects can give you inspiration for your own design, and it can also aid you in choosing colour swatches and samples for your dream home. G.J. Gardner offers a range of award winning home designs that cater for families of all shapes and sizes, that take the tough choices out of the decision process.

When designing your new home, you will need to consider the following factors:

  • Block size, site condition and orientation of the site
  • Planning regulations, for example flooding conditions
  • Council controls such as covenants
  • Neighbouring properties for accessibility issues

4. Organise the demolition

If you’re dealing with a smaller builder, you may be required to find your own demolition contractor. A good small builder will usually refer you to an accredited demolition specialist – one that’s licensed to conduct demolitions and remove asbestos (if necessary). You’ll be required to provide the demolition specialist with a copy of your demolition permit from the council.

Prior to the demolition, your demolition specialist will need to notify the various utility companies (gas, water, electricity, telephone) of your intentions. It’s imperative to give the utility companies enough time to disconnect and remove their infrastructure.

Once the demolition is under way, it’s the demolition specialist’s responsibility to remove all the waste material – from the house materials (concrete, timber, metal, glass) to the vegetation (trees, root systems, excess soil). Some demolition specialists will offer to salvage and recycle the materials being removed – a service that sometimes reduces the demolition cost.

All demolition projects require an Asset Protection Permit (to cover any damage to public property) and a temporary site fence (to protect the public). Once the demolition is completed, your builder can then start preparing the site for construction.

5. New home rebuild

Once the old house has been completely demolished and the site is ready for construction the new house build can begin!

How long does a knockdown take to rebuild?

Because it comprises several different aspects, it’s hard to pin down an exact time frame. Generally, you should expect at least a year to complete the process, factoring in:

  • Gathering and researching quotes
  • Getting design and construction documentation, including town planning permits
  • The demolition of your existing property and building the new site
  • Potential pitfalls to bear in mind
  • Asbestos in your current property
  • Issues with drainage from the property
  • Problems with your sewerage infrastructure or ageing water
  • The land itself – what is in the ground matters, as does the lie of the land, especially when it comes to excavation and building costs
  • Any heritage listings or tree preservation orders
  • Any other available planning regulations that limit what you can construct on your land

A final word

On the surface, a knockdown-rebuild can appear daunting – but don’t be discouraged. As Australia’s number 1 rated national home builder, G.J. Gardner Homes takes care of the knockdown-rebuild process from start to finish. For further information on our seamless knockdown-rebuild process, please contact us for a friendly, no-obligation chat.

Saving For A House Deposit – Hints and Tips to Help You Save

Saving for a house deposit: what does it really take? Forget the quips about avoiding smashed avo – we’ll show you how to get ahead and make your dream a reality. The first questions you’re likely to face are, “how much do I need?” and “how long will it take?”

The best way to find out how much is to check in with home lenders. They’ll advise you on minimum deposits, your purchasing power, and other factors like mortgage insurance. The least you can get away with is usually about the 5% mark, which is $25,000 on a $500,000 purchase. You should also start investigating the sort of location and house you’re after so you get a realistic picture of the market. In terms of how long it takes, everyone is different but some recent research puts the average time to save for a deposit at just under four years.

Once you know where you want to get to, the next question is how to get there. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Or another way to look at it: cutting back on coffee ain’t going to cut it.

There’s no getting around it: you’re going to need a plan.

A 5-step plan for your home deposit

These are big dollars you need to save and that means looking at your financial future from all angles. You’ll need to:

  1. Double down on debt
  2. Track your spending and create a budget
  3. Snip and save
  4. Earn more moula
  5. Create healthy habits
1. Double down on debt: 

If you’re carrying historic debts, now is the time to consolidate them, then clear them to avoid paying extra interest. Take care of this first before you start saving.

2. Track your spending and create a budget: 

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. Successful saving is made much easier when you know your budget and can see where you’re spending. The good news? There are a huge array of apps to help you do this – check out this review for Australian savers.

3. Snip and save: 

It’s time to take a long look at your lifestyle and work out what you’re prepared to sacrifice to get ahead. Big ticket items include renting out a room, moving back home, downsizing your car or getting rid of it all together and taking local holidays. Smaller ticket items? Eating and drinking at home rather than dining out, buying in bulk and at cheaper chains, and reducing recurring fees like gyms and media services.

4. Earn more moula: 

It’s not all about your current paycheck. Get creative and think about how you can bring more money in to boost your savings. First things first, focus on your current career. Can you apply for a promotion, ask for a pay rise or even change jobs (if it makes sense given your situation)? Or are there other opportunities out there? Can you use your skills to take on freelancing work, or take a second job? With platforms like Uber, Upwork and Airtasker, you can easily turn your side income on and off as it suits. If you’re comfortable, you can also look into making investments if it fits your saving timeline.

5. Create healthy habits: 

The #1 tip here is to pay yourself first. Automatically transfer savings to a high interest account when your pay comes in and decrease the chance that you’ll overspend. Other handy hints: if you’ve got a credit card habit, learn to live without them, limit impulse spending and shopping-as-entertainment, and become more mindful of both your savings goal and spending decisions.

The new home advantage

One aspect of your savings journey is deciding whether to build a new home vs purchase an existing one. There are a number of advantages to building:

  • Lower repairs, maintenance and running costs, particularly if you build with sustainability in mind
  • The chance to create a home that suits your needs perfectly
  • Financial incentives, such asl ess stamp duty and access in some states to grants for building new homes

The best way to save for a house deposit can vary, depending on spending habbits but there are various benefits to each of the tips provided above.

Increases your power to borrow: The more frequently you save towards your first house deposit, the less risk you represent to a lender. The more you save, the more you borrow.

More choice: Making consistent savings deposits enables you to access a wider range of loans, as more borrowing power grants you access to more lenders’ products.

Access special rates and deals: Consistent house savings deposits may attract high loan qualifications with low-interest rates that save you more money.

If you want to start saving for a house deposit, talk to your friendly G.J. Gardner Homes office first. They’ll give you useful advice to get you started and help you decide whether building a new home is right for you.

Stamp Duty on New Homes – What to Expect

If you’re building or buying a new home, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay stamp duty. If you’re not familiar with the term, stamp duty (also called transfer duty) it is a tax that Australian state and territory governments levy on property purchases. In this post, we explore the general ins and outs of stamp duty on new homes.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax levied against those who decide to buy a property or land.

How is stamp duty calculated?

In Australia, every state and territory has different stamp duty rates and rules. Generally speaking, a stamp duty obligation is determined by a property’s purchase price, type (existing home, new home or vacant land) and purpose (primary residence or investment property). Foreign buyers (non-residents) are also charged an additional stamp duty levy in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Are exemptions and discounts available?

Exemptions and discounts are available to certain types of buyers. Eligible first home buyers enjoy a stamp duty discount or exemption in several states and territories, as well as indirect relief through the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme. Eligible pensioners enjoy generous discounts on stamp duty in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

What assistance is available to first home buyers?

A first home buyer is someone who has never owned a residential property in Australia – nor has their partner.

In Australia’s three most populated states – New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – the stamp duty rate is 0% for eligible first home buyers who meet a specific criteria. Some states and territories – namely Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory – don’t provide stamp duty relief, but try to compensate with a higher First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) – a Federal government initiative designed to offset the impact of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) – can be used to indirectly offset the cost of stamp duty. Although the FHOG is a Federal initiative, it’s administered and funded by the various state and territory governments. Further details can be found at: http://www.firsthome.gov.au/

Can stamp duty be minimised?

Stamp duty can be minimised legitimately by purchasing a house and land package. Provided the house hasn’t been built yet, stamp duty is only payable on the land component of the package. This benefit is available to all types of buyers. To make things easier, G.J. Gardner Homes offers a large range of house and land packages across Australia.

Is stamp duty tax deductible on investment properties?

Stamp duty, which is classified as a capital expense by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), isn’t tax deductible. However, it can be added to the “cost base” of an investment property when calculating the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on a subsequent sale. Further information is available on the ATO’s website.

(Important Note: Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of tax laws, always seek professional tax advice when making tax-related decisions.)

When should stamp duty be paid?

In Australia you will need to pay the stamp duty no more than 30 days after the settlement of your property purchase. The property’s value determines how much stamp duty you will pay. Of course, each state has its own rates in place, which can complicate things. Below are details on when to pay stamp duty depending on the state.

Australian Capital Territory

Payable within 28 days after the settlement is complete. An agreement is considered to be made when the buyer receives a notice of assessment from the offices of Canberra.

New South Wales

Stamp duty is payable within three months of the settlement being completed.

Northern Territory

Payable 60 days after the settlement or after entering into the transaction – whichever comes first.


Paid within 30 days of the settlement being complete.

South Australia

Payable on the day the settlement is complete.


Paid 3 months after the transfer is complete.


Payable within three months after the settlement is complete.

Western Australia

Payable within two months after the settlement is complete.

Failing to pay within the stipulated time shall attract additional penalty rates and interests.

Stamp duty on a new house

In Australia’s three most populated states, the stamp duty rate on a new house is 0% if the owner meets specific criteria. Some states and territories – namely Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory – don’t provide stamp duty relief, but try to compensate with a higher First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).

Further Information

As you’ve probably gathered, stamp duty is inherently complex. Every state and territory government has its own rate schedules and rules. For further information on stamp duty, please visit the relevant state or territory government website listed below. Alternatively, feel free to contact G.J. Gardner Homes for assistance with calculating the stamp duty on a new home.


Australian Capital Territory – www.revenue.act.gov.au

New South Wales – www.osr.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory – www.treasury.nt.gov.au

Queensland – www.osr.qld.gov.au

South Australia – www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au

Tasmania – www.sro.tas.gov.au

Victoria – www.sro.vic.gov.au

Western Australia – www.osr.wa.gov.au

6 Things To Consider When Buying a Block of Land

If you’ve decided to build a new home (rather than buy an existing one) with G.J Gardner Homes, you’ll probably need to source a block of land. Finding the right block isn’t always straightforward – size, shape and location are just some of the things you’ll need to consider. In this post, we examine what to look for when buying a block of land.
  1. Location
  2. Size and shape of the block
  3. Slopes
  4. Soil, rocks and trees
  5. Orientation of the block
  6. Cost of utilities

1. Location

One of the most important things to consider before buying a block of land is the real estate mantra – “Location, Location, Location”. This slogan is still just as relevant today as when it was first coined in the mid-20th Century. Ideally, the block you buy should be close to the nearest amenities – shops, schools, hospitals, parks, public transport – in a quieter street.

Additionally, while it is more than likely your building developer has already researched your block of land, you must remember to verify any bushfire, cyclone, or flood risks with your local council. These dangers can impact your insurance costs and ability to receive finance for your project.

As a rule of thumb, you ought to be careful when considering blocks of land near to large bush-land or waterways.

2. Size, shape and aspect of block

It goes without saying that your block will have to accommodate the house you’re planning on building. A flat, rectangular block that faces the street is the most popular choice. Further, you should consider the size of your block depending upon your personal circumstance. For instance, a family will need a larger block in order to add extra bedrooms and so on, whereas a single owner or a couple will need less space. Your home design is, therefore, vital to the size of your chosen block.

Moreover, it’s worth remembering that more “unique or unusual” blocks of land – such as battle-axe or corner blocks – may be more difficult to sell when the time comes. However, these irregular blocks have some pros. For instance, the battle-axe block usually has a lower price and the corner block allows for the potential of a subdivision.

3. Slopes

A sloping block with a stunning view can be difficult to resist. Although, it ought to be known that a sloping block requires far more preparation. It is very likely that your builder will have to carve into the slope in order to create some space for the level slab. Additionally, retaining walls may also be necessary in order to have stable soil. This preparation is very expensive, so you should be aware of the cost.

However, if a sloping block is your dream, it’s vital to receive advice from a professional builder before agreeing to the purchase.

Similarly, if your block is located below street level or at the bottom of a slope, you will have to discuss draining issues with your developer.

4. Soil, rocks and trees

If you’re buying a block of land in an unestablished, rural area (without prior soil testing), you should have a soil test administered on your block. This is necessary as a block with an unwanted soil class, such as E, H or P, can be very costly to stabilise. The ideal soil should fall under the “M” classification, this would mean it is already stable to an acceptable degree.

Likewise, blocks which are rocky or in need of tree removal will cost more to build on. One way in which you can avoid this problem is to purchase a house and land package, which would solve the problem.

5. Orientation of the block

One of the most important aspects of construction, according to engineers and architects, is the orientation of the build. In the Southern Hemisphere, the most popular orientation is a north-facing build. A north-facing property allows the sun to passively heat your home, helping you save on your electricity bill.

It is not only the placement of the house that will be important, where windows are located will have a significant impact on your electricity bill. So you should consider the placement of rooms, windows and so on before buying your block of land.

Carefully choosing the placement of your land will not only reduce your heating bills but also allow your house to be ‘greener’.

6. Cost of utilities

A common oversight when buying land is to forget about the utilities. Fortunately, in most cases of housing or estate development, your developer will have already arranged the street connections for the electricity, water, sewerage, gas, stormwater and telephone/broadband.

However, if you’re hoping to purchase land in an undeveloped, rural area, it is vital that you do your research. For instance, if the utility companies in your area need to install major infrastructure to connect your house to the necessary utilities, you will be charged for this. Infrastructure bills can get very expensive, very quickly with some costs reaching five figures.


Hopefully this post has given you an idea of what to look for when buying a block of land. Buying your own block is an enjoyable experience, provided you do your research and get a professional building opinion along the way.
At G.J. Gardner Homes, we strive to take the complexity and stress out of buying land: we’re able to source quality blocks of land, and provide house and land packages. For further information, please contact us for a friendly, no-obligation chat.

What A Knock Down And Rebuild Means For You

A common misconception about knocking down and rebuilding your home on the same land, is that you have to pack yourself up, find another home and be miles away from the property you have fallen in love with. The idea feels daunting and suddenly the process begins to feel more difficult than you imagined.

We understand what the knockdown process feels like, intimately, and this idea isn’t appealing to any homeowner, especially one who is so excited about their new adventure.

So, what’s the good news? You don’t need to move out! And why should you? The land you fell in love with, the investment of your time, money and energy, leaving would be the last thing you would want to do.

When you knock down and rebuild your home with G.J. Gardner Homes, you don’t need to move out and you don’t need to leave the neighbourhood you call home. We believe you’re currently living on a beautiful piece of land, and you know the surrounding area intimately, so there is no reason to be away from your home too long during the building process.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we have developed a process that allows you to demolish your existing home, and build a brand-new one without leaving the space you love. So, what’s involved in the home knockdown and rebuild process? In this article, we will take you through exactly what a knockdown process involves, how we help you navigate this route, and help you create your dream re-built home.

What’s involved in the knock down and rebuild process?

The Initial Site Assessment

Knocking down your existing home and building a new one hasa unique set of challenges. It’s not the same as selling and buying an existing home by any means, and professional assistance is invaluable during this time. G.J. Gardner Homes has dealt with it all before, so any challenges that arise through the process will be solved in no time. Building a new home through the knockdown rebuild method doesn’t have to be a stressful process; in fact, it should be fun!

Once you’ve made the decision to knock down and rebuild, a G.J. Gardner Homes representative will complete a thorough initial site assessment of your chosen building site. What we evaluate during this assessment is the soil, the structure and the foundations of the land, ensuring that all three components of the site are suitable for your specific type of build. We use a thorough testing method, so we can accurately understand the foundations and assess any risks involved.

Initial Planning Meeting

We want to get to know you. This is a very important step in the rebuilding process; after all, this is your build, so it’s important that you get what you want out of it, and we do our best to reach those ideals. The best way to discover what you value in your dream home is to get to know you, one on one, where we can discover the necessities for your dream home. We will also discuss the findings from the initial assessment, so you can understand what we know about the land and address any issues we can see.

Building a home is such a personal, individual process, and we believe in embracing this. Before we meet you, we suggest you collate any information or inspiration for your home, whether it be imagery, swatches or plans, and have this ready for the meeting. The more we can learn about what your dream home looks and feels like, the better we can assist in making this a reality.

Council Approval

What a lot of building planners won’t discuss with you is the rigorous yet essential council approval process. This is one of the most important steps and one that we guide you through easily. Without council approval, we cannot proceed on the build, so it is imperative both you and the council are happy before building commences.

There are a couple of steps to achieving council approval; once you and our consultant reach an initial plan, the plan is submitted to the council for their inspection and assessment of the build. Each council has its process of approval, as well as time length they spend on completing it, so we can’t always predict a waiting time on their assessment. Sometimes during this process, the council will request to further inspect the property, or even request detailed changes. We encourage you not to worry during this time; we will work with you to adjust and implement their changes so your vision isn’t compromised, and so the council remains satisfied.

Initial Building Works

This is one of the most exciting times of the build when your dream plans start to become a reality. The initial building can begin in the form of site preparations, and the building team will be on-site to commence this. As these site preparations are completed, the final plan is sent to the council for their approval, and for the approval of the building permits. We are especially vigilant about these approvals, so you can be assured your home is built in the right way.

Final Approval and Knock Down Rebuild Prices

Council will come back with their final approval, however, there may be inclusions for more changes based on what is provided. The good news is once that comes back, we can compile the knock down rebuild cost, present you with a completed amount, so you’ll know exactly what the end price will be. The worst part about building a home is the hidden surprises that crop up unexpectedly, derailing your budget and your hopes of moving in. We try to settle on the final number as quickly as possible, so you can enjoy the process and get into your new home quicker.

Every knockdown and rebuild price is unique, based on the size of the land, specifics of the build and the overall requirements. We believe in tailoring the price to your needs, so we can’t always offer a definitive rebuild price until this stage of the process.

Moving In

The construction has begun! Your home will begin taking shape quickly, and all of your planning and wishing for your home will be coming true. We personally love this part of the build, because hopes turn into reality and knock down rebuild homes really start to take shape.

We know you are anxious to know about your home’s progress during this time, and we don’t believe in keeping you in the dark. We provide you with regular updates on the build, indicating what aspects of the build have been completed, and what is still to come. We offer you the best time frame indications possible, which enables you to stay in the loop on your move-in date. If there are any hold-ups, for whatever reason, we communicate this to you during these updates.

The most important update we give you during the build is when you can move in. We do our best to give you an accurate indication of the move-in day, and when we are closer to completion, we will give you a confirmed date of move in. This date will allow you to organise movers and get the champagne ready!

Moving In Tips

The day you move in will be a very special, exciting time, however, it can be quite overwhelming too. We want your move-in day to go as smoothly as possible, so we have a couple of tips to help you settle into your new home quickly.

Lean on your family and friends during this time. Everyone needs a hand settling into a new home, and this move isn’t any different. If you have any family or friends who would be happy to help you shift items, unpack or organise for you, ask them to be available on move-in day to help get you started as soon as the boxes land in your new home.

Keep your essentials close. On the big day, you can move straight into your new home, which will be completely ready to be lived in. Modern appliances, new walls, roof and new spaces to create memories in. You won’t be able to unpack everything on day one, but you will want to use your new stovetop or relax in your brand new bathtub. For these essential areas of the home, designate a couple of boxes especially for the items you will need the day you move in, like soap, utensils, food, and even small items like phone chargers and medication.

Get To Know Us

Are you looking to create your dream home on your favourite piece of land? Now you know our detailed and personal process, we would love to assist you in either the knockdown or rebuild of your home. Even if you are aren’t sure what your dream house looks like, or are simply considering the idea, we would be happy to discuss the options that are available to you. We know this can be an intimidating process, and we endeavour to make it seamless, easy to understand, and effortless for you. We encourage you to get in touch today to start your own dream home journey.


How do Dual Occupancies, Duplexes and Granny Flats Differ?

Dual occupancies, duplexes and granny flats are becoming increasingly popular as blocks of land become more expensive and less abundant in Australia. They’re the identical houses, the conjoined twins and the little flat tucked away out the back; but which one is which? There are common misconceptions about the three and they can often be mistaken for one another.

Understanding the difference between a dual occupancy, a granny flat and a duplex, will help to determine whether any of the options suit your needs and building criteria.

Price points, privacy and ownership vary between the three, and it’s important to asses your property goals before making the choice.
We’ve broken down each option and highlighted the features, building regulations and benefits.

Dual Occupancies

What is Dual Occupancy?

This type of dual dwelling is classified into two categories; attached and detached. Attached dual occupancies are two dwellings on one lot of land that are attached to each other, and detached are two separate dwellings on one lot of land. Neither include a secondary dwelling. A dual occupancy cannot be subdivided; however, utilities can be separated between the two dwellings.

Key Points:

  • Cannot subdivide dual occupancy
  • Utilities and leases can be separated if renting
  • Can have single or separate entrances
  • Both are complete homes

Dual Occupancy Building Guidelines

Dual occupancy building must be permitted in the specific Council land zoning area, and must comply with certain planning controls. The requirements include a minimum site area and a minimum site width specified by your local council.

Is Dual Occupancy Right for You?

If you have a large block of land and you’d like to invest in the space, rather than renovate or extend your home, creating a dual occupancy could be highly beneficial. Home owners can achieve a great return on investment by living in one home, renting or selling the other, or selling both. It’s also a great option for larger families.


What is duplex?

A duplex is two separate dwellings with separate titles. Both dwellings front the same street and share an adjoining wall. They can exist on one land title (owned and sold together), or separate titles (individually owned and sold). The land that the duplexes are built on can be subdivided. The subdivision laws are the main difference between dual occupancy and a duplex.

Key Points:

  • Land can be subdivided
  • Titles can be separated
  • Two separate dwellings joined by a common ‘party wall’
  • Both are complete homes

Duplex Building Guidelines

Approval to build a duplex must be sought from the local Council, and must meet a number of specific requirements. The size, width and setback of the land must be an acceptable size under specific Council requirements.
Remember the key to building duplexes with a high return on investment is owning a piece of land in a desirable area.

Is a Duplex Right for You?

A duplex allows residents to own a house and block of land (as opposed to an apartment or unit), at a fraction of the price of a usual house and land package. If you’d love to live in a specific area but the price of a house is simply unaffordable, a duplex could be the answer!

If you own the entire block of land, duplexes are a great way to earn income through renting without body corporate concerns. Landlords can receive two rental incomes from a single asset. If you’re looking to build an investment property, and your block of land meets the duplex building requirements, it could be worth serious consideration.

Granny Flats

What is a Granny Flat?

The granny flat definition is a self-contained dwelling, attached or detached from the main dwelling and a part of the same title. It’s often an extension built on the same lot, and is basically a smaller version of the main home. Granny flats usually contain one bedroom, a kitchenette, living area and bathroom. A granny flat is considered a second dwelling, highlighting the main difference between dual occupancy and secondary dwelling.

Key Points:

  • Built in conjunction with the main dwelling
  • Both dwellings fall under the same title
  • Size considerations
  • Is a smaller version of the main dwelling

Granny Flat Building Guidelines

It is a requirement that the block of land is at least 450 square metres, and the size of the entire granny flat must be no greater than 60 square metres. The main dwelling must have off-street parking, and only the primary and secondary dwelling are to exist on the block of land.

Once the granny flat is built, subdivision is not permitted.

Is a Granny Flat Right for You?

Granny flats are hugely popular throughout Australia, and with good reason. They’re perfectly suited for elderly or adolescents who are seeking independence, whilst remaining in close quarters with the family. Granny flats can also be rented out to long or short term tenants, and are a great way to receive additional income.

These three types of homes can be distinguished by slight, yet rather significant details. Similarly, all three options are beneficial for investors or home buyers in one way or another.

Are you looking to make better use of your current block of land or increase your return on investment from a single entity? Or perhaps you’re building a family home and want an additional, separate space for when circumstances change down the track? The good news is, one of these cost-effective options could be available to you!

To learn more or to find out the building requirements in your area, contact your local G.J. Gardner Homes office to get started.

Top 10 Facade Design Features For Your Home

From cladding to landscaping, windows and doors; a contemporary facade design will have your home crowned king of the neighbourhood. Our exclusive selection of home facade designs are characterised by rich contrasting textures, sophisticated cladding, stand-out features and a close attention to detail.

The home facade designs we will discuss include:

  1. Facade Colour Schemes

  2. Facade Brickwork

  3. Facade Timber Cladding

  4. Facade Stone Cladding

  5. Front Door Facade Design

  6. Windows

  7. Front Facade Landscaping

  8. Garage Doors

  9. Pebble Flooring & Facade Feature Walls

  10. Contrasting Textures

Let’s explore the modern facade features that leave a lasting impression.

1. Facade Colour Schemes

Whether you’re hoping for a light and bright exterior, or looking to achieve a dark and mysterious persona, colours are the key to your home’s overarching personality. Neutral colours including browns, greys, creams and whites are the standout choice, and contrast beautifully against brick, wood or stone cladding. There is plenty of room for innovation when it comes to exterior colour schemes for brick houses.

2. Facade Brickwork

Exposed brick is a long running favourite for exterior designs, however modern house facades incorporate a touch of creativity to stray away from monotonous brickwork. Brickwork is commonly used for columns, garage, window and door trimmings and alongside contrasting natural materials including timber. Red bricks are a classic option, but don’t be shy to experiment with limestone, granite or travertine.

3. Facade Timber Cladding

Timber cladding is the key to contemporary style facades. It adds a touch of natural beauty, timeless style and warmth to your exterior house design. There are a variety of timber species and finishes to choose from that boast incredible beauty alongside almost every colour and texture. Timber panels can be installed vertically or horizontally to create various effects.

4. Facade Stone Cladding

Stone can be used to complete concrete walls or as an embellishment for columns and trimming. It’s a beautiful addition that adds significant value to your home, and can be used alongside neutral colours for a modern, yet earthy appearance.

5. Front Door Facade Design

The number one welcoming feature, your front door has the power to stun. It’s the gateway to your finely crafted interior, and should leave guests feeling excited to explore what’s inside. Your options are truly impressive and include single or double door timber designs with vertical or horizontal glass panels.

6. Windows

Large windows are doing favours for your home inside and out. Tall, wide or strategically place, windows add style to the facade, whilst letting an abundance of natural light flow through your home. Window trims can be a useful design feature when creating a modern facade.

7. Front Facade Landscaping

Use landscaping as a final touch or an eye-catching way to add character to your home. A mix of grass, plants, tiles, rocks or pebbles will give your garden sophistication, while plants and shrubs will add colour and life. Planting a large tree in the front yard is a great way for your home to feel welcoming, and as it grows it will surely become one of your favourite outdoor features.

8. Garage Doors

They’re crucial for your home’s practicality, but can really complicate your facade if they aren’t included in the overall design. Combine timber garage doors with timber accents or feature walls, or use similar colours to establish symmetry. It’s big, but it can blend in really well with the remainder of your exterior for a seamless facade design.

9. Pebble Flooring & Facade Feature Walls

Pebbles can be used to guide a path from the front yard to the front door, and are great for transitioning from the landscape into the home. Pebbles can also be used to create unique feature walls or columns, and are a versatile addition to any style of house facade.

10. Contrasting Textures

An array of stunning textures and finishes can be produced by painting exterior walls, and when combined with timber, stone or brick, can elevate your home to an entire new level. You truly can have it all.

Discover the range of double and single story house facades created by G.J. Gardner Homes in our collection of home designs. Find the facade design you can’t wait to call home and contact our team today to talk more.