Starting from Tuesday, January 8th 2019, Smart Homes For Living is offering each reviewer a $100 Coles Myer Gift Card for taking the time to write a review. This incentive is offered to reviewers who have written either a positive or negative review. Reviews below may have received this incentive. Previous incentives included a $50 Coles Myer gift card from July 18th 2018, to each reviewer that took the time to provide a review.
Outstanding service - beautiful home!
Our process of gaining our beautiful home was a breeze! We found a design through one of their consultants Facebook and we set up a meeting instantly to go over the costs and the process of the build and areas to purchase land in.
Everything was explained in detail and we were happy to go ahead with the process
Quickly we moved to our pre start meeting to choose all the finishes we wanted and with a little guidance from the pre start consultant everything was locked in.
Soon we were at the stage of beginning construction. Everything along the way to do with document signing ect were so easy and if we had any problems at all that were quickly and efficiently rectified.
When it came to the handling over of keys and receiving our house for the first time they were able to bring the date forward for us as I work FIFO, which goes without saying they went above and beyond to help get us into our beautiful home!
End result is great!
Quick Summary: Our end product is really great and couldn't be happier! But getting there was a lot harder than it should have been, fortunately smart homes handled it in a good way which is why i think they deserved a 4 star!
Our Consultant Brandon Hine was amazing! Definitely the highlight of the whole thing. He helped us get the most out of our unique section and really helped us get what was in our heads out on paper. We practically redesigned one of the pre drawn homes to our needs and they were great about it, no fuss and allowed us to change it many times up until prestart. By that point it was barley recognizable and we were really happy and have had so many compliments about the design, its quite surprising actually but I guess its not like a typical 'corridor house' with hallways every where etc. that you see so often. Brandon went out of his way to get us a discount on the land and from the builder and for that we are grateful :)
Pre start was great, had a good selection and allowed us to choose our own oven brands that they didn't supply and it was all smooth. Only surprise we had was the redraw fee since we wanted 1 course brick instead of 2 course and since we hadn't specified that before pre start we had to pay for a redraw fee.
This is where we had a few problems:
Our first problem was that the block 2 blocks over from ours was leveled instead of ours and when the guys came to lay the slab they found a non prepared site. This set us back a few weeks and was something that should have been spotted before the slab guys got there.
Our second problem was the slow bricklayers. We were told that the brickies team had left on him and we had one guy laying the bricks for our house. It took months to get it done and eventually they had to get another team to finish it. Although not really smart homes fault it was still a negative in my mind and something that should've been done sooner especially after wasting our time with the slab.
Lastly we had an issue a few months after we had moved in. Our sewer pipe had been connected to the storm water drain. This had occurred because we share a long driveway with one other house and in the middle there is storm drain. Our soak well was supposed to have been connected to the storm water drain but instead the sewage was and our soak well was connected up to nothing. We had suspicions something was wrong since it stunk in our driveway. But one night after heavy rain the water in the storm water drain had reached the height of the pipe so that the sewage couldn't get out and had caused water to pool in our showers and toilets to make gurgling noises. That night we contacted smart home on an emergency number and they instantly sent out someone to drain the storm water and offered for us to stay in a hotel on them. By the next morning they had plumbers re connect the piping correctly. Now this was a bad mistake but i think the way they handled it was great and we aren't the kind of people to get angry about things like this, it just happens.. Im just extremely pleased with their response and to me that is a sign of a great builder! I've had friends with builders who wont do anything for them post build.
Now besides those three things, we couldn't be happier! We have been in our house for just over a year and it has been great! Hardly any issues, some minor cracking and a leaky pipe but smart homes was more than happy to fix those things straight away. The build quality is great and we have had many compliments about how good it looks! All finishes were done to a great standard and I have yet to find something I'm not happy with.
We had a lot of things done post build including; Painting, Curtains/Blinds/Shutters, Skirting boards, Splash back etc.. Smart homes allowed us to have the key early to let our painters and splash back guys in to get done before key handover. I thought this was really great of them and allowed us to move in that much earlier.
Although its been one year we are still waiting on a few things to be finished from our 6 month inspection. We should have probably messaged them sooner to remind them but we shouldn't really have to...
I don't plan to ever build again but if i had to i would most likely build with smart homes. I think we were just rather unlucky and at the mercy of the contractors when most of our problems occurred and if not for that the actual dealing with smart homes has been great!
Great service, great people and a great build!
From the initial consultations with Brandon to the client liasons with Phoebe and walking through the site with Tony, the whole process was flawless. People make a business and Smart homes have some of the best in these three individuals.
I’m delighted with the end result and any issues have been dealt with promptly and efficiently. I would build with Smart again!
Smart Homes are awesome
Built with Smart Homes 3 years ago and loved it. My rep Gordon was awesome and really looked after me with all my questions. The build process was easy and the end product was better than I expected. Would recommend to anyone and everyone.
Life is babs
The whole experience was awesome, leon and fadi were fantastic and very friendly and hardworking what ever we said the boys backed us so really great. cheers boys love yas
Owen and Natasha
What a thrill and experience
My wife Natasha and I have never built a home before so we were a little green when it came to a design and build, we knew what we wanted and who to build with but the extra little bits and pieces that came along with it threw us a little. The goal was to build a nice big family home that would last us a fair while that has plenty of room and space for our family to enjoy whilst being stylish and modern at the same time.
Leon and Fadi are the best at what they do and nothing has ever been a drama or a challenge for the guys , we couldn't recommend them enough. So far it has been great.
Whilst we are still in pre construction we can't wait for the final product and the house warming party.
Owen & Natasha BP-754-2019
Delivered on what they promised
We have built before with another company & while they were good, Smart Homes has provided a more comprehensive service & delivered value for money & a complete home with lots of designer specs.
Jess and Brandon
Friendly and Efficient- got exactly what we asked for!
We designed our first home with Leon & Fadi. Couldn’t speak highly enough of these two guys. Every idea we had they managed to incorporate and include in a custom floor plan. Everything was stress free! Same goes for prestart, our ideas were never shut down but rather encouraged and made possible! The patience and interest we received from all angles of pre construction was all we could have ever hoped for. We are now in Early stages or construction and couldn’t be more excited. Thanks team Smart Homes!
Amazing Building Experience
My partner and I met Neil Morris at the first display home we went to whilst looking for a builder and after looking around we decided to go with Neil and Smart Homes for Living. He was approachable, professional and laid back which made us feel comfortable and confident in him. He was flexible with times for meetings which helped us a lot and always went above and beyond to answer any questions we had. Neil's design ideas were fantastic and we are so impressed with how the house turned out. The prestart process was seamless with Tess. She had great advice for us and we are so happy with all the decisions we made. We then liased with Phoebe through the construction process who was always prompt in answering our many queries. She was super professional and we really appreciated all the time she took in communicating with us and helping us. Scott was our building supervisor and he was always prompt for meetings and helpful with any concerns we had. The build itself was amazingly stress free and quick. The slab went down November 2017 and we moved in April 2018. We've had minor issues since the build (eg. aircon zones incorrect) but these have all been fixed relatively quick. The only real negative I have in regards to the build is that the fly screens are of low standard in my opinion. They use 4 pieces of rubber to hold it into the window frame as it's too small and would rattle otherwise. Also, 6 months after handover Ventura Home Group take over and their communication has been poor. Often they don't respond to emails or take weeks to do so. Our experience with Smart Homes for Living has been hard to fault and I highly recommend them!
Love our new Home
Being a young couple we were very hesitant and unsure of what to do whether to buy established or build. After going to many home opens we discovered we were fussy and knew what we wanted! We then decided that we didn't want to rush in and buy a house but build one that we were 100% happy with.
We hate being pestered by sales people and didn't go to any display houses at all for that reason so we did a bit of research online and had 2 company's to choose from. After looking at online reviews on a shonky builders FB page the other company was out. We found an awesome modified design we loved on Facebook and constacted the sales person.
The sales guy drove a long way to meet us after hours to show us the design and go through pricing and even did a lot of research for land for us. He was what we hoped for and got straight to the point being 100% honest and was not pushy at all. We met back up with him a few days later to put a deposit on our house and land !
We were so happy and excited. After waiting a few months we got out contracts and plans but obviously had to make a few changes. This prooved to be more difficult than it should have been as every time we were sent an updated plan it was missing something or it wasn't exactly what we asked ( all of this back and fourth was over the phone) this would have been a lot easier if we met up in person. We also had issues trying to get in contact with our sales guy as he disappeared overseas for weeks without notice however we got there in the end.
We had visited almost 10 display homes before our prestart and picked every option/detail as we love to be organised. The girl we had for our prestart was awesome and super helpful but we snagged an issue, the tile we had chosen had been discontinued so we had to choose another on the spot. After thinking alot we really did not like any of the main floor tiles and decided before the house goes in to construction to change it.
We went to imported ceramics which is where they get the tiles from and chose another one. We knew we would have to pay more because they were not standard range tiles but we're okay with that. We then found out smart homes would not lay they tiles because they were rectified and porcelane which was weird because alot of tiles these days are rectified.
We moved on and took the tiles out of the contract and would get them done ourselves after the build.
The build went super smoothly and everything happened exactly when they said it would. I had family members go through who were in trades to inspect and they were happy with the quality and workmanship so far.
We then go to practical completion where we noticed a few small bits and bobs which needed fixing we also noticed one of the wardrobes was missing the sliding doors to which the supervisor didn't even know about and had completely missed which made us a little bit nervous however it got done the next week along with the other few small things.
The house was finished and we we're super happy and about to pick the keys up but received a phone call the day before from one of the building managers, he said he had a walk through our house but wasn't happy with the plastering (we took painting out of our contract) we had not noticed the condition of the walls as it was just plastering and no paint however apparently the way it was applied was rough and the guy who did it wasn't their normal plasterer. The building manager said there was alot of prep work for a painter to fix the walls before painting and didn't want us to get the keys and have painters charge us thousands to prep the walls.
Smart homes offered to paint our whole house free of charge for something we may not have even noticed which we though was awesome despite the fact that the plasterer did a bad job. We are just so glad they they noticed it and fixed it!
During our build we had referred our friends to build with smart homes and at the time they had a $1000 cash promotion for each person you refer and builds with smart homes. After their slab was laid we were suppose to get our $1000 and contacted the guy who did the sale and he said he was working on it. This went back and fourth for about 3 or 4 weeks to which we ended up contacting the office instead. We contacted them 3 times about it and after a week nobody got back to us.
I was quite upset about this and decided to make a post about it on a certain Facebook building page to which I had 3 workers for smart homes message me (one of them was the manager of the southwest division) she was super helpful and promised I would get the $1000 within a business day to which I did! :)
In the end we are so happy with everything and I'm only nit picking the small things. We love our new home and after reading about some real horror stories of W.A builders we are glad we went with smart homes and we are so happy to recommend Smart Homes for Living to all of our friends!
Such an easy process
As first time builders, we didn't full understand the whole building process. What eased this whole experience was the many great team members at Smart Homes. Brandon Hein (New Homes Consultant) was really easy to talk to and was always available in person, and at the end of the phone, answering all our questions. He went to great lengths to ensure we got what we asked for, even after we changed our minds a couple of times! Pre-start was really exciting as there were so many options to choose from. Phoebe Gonzalvo‑Hall (Client Liaison) was amazing at keeping us up-to-date with the build progress and always contacted us with any news or issues that arose throughout the build. Our building contractor Josh was also very involved and committed in our build. He was also good at explaining things to myself as he knew I had no prior knowledge of construction.
From start to finish (6 months total!), I can honestly say Smart Homes are a really efficient, thorough, professional and speedy company, that we would definitely use again should we decide to build our second home!
Great work everyone!
“kiwis in Oz”
Our first contact was Adam Standage,he was great and made himself available for our needs as we lived so far away.Happy with the quality of the build,Pre Start could have been better, they need to listen more at what the buyer wants,we were very happy with final costs,over all the build was great, loved building with smarthomes!
So excited to move in
So we are currently building with smart homes for living. Which we never thought was possible. Our consultant Ivano came to our house for a rental. From there is just got better finance team was great. Got it all sorted so quick. Got a big block where we wanted. Then prestart was next. Having everything in one spot makes selection so easy. Finally the consultant we are dealing with during construction is great. She is always willing to take my calls and follows up on all queries. Ultimately a great company to build our first home with
My build has been managed very well so far. Pre construction Nicole was very helpful with getting me up to date on what was going on and also helping me understand the build. Pre start Sarah was very useful with colour selections and making sure everything matched. So far with construction Mia has kept me updated every two weeks with what is happening for the next fortnight which is very handy being a FIFO worker. I really appreciate everything SMART homes has showed me so far with this amazing build and look forward to making soo many memories in times to come.
Fantastic service, great build quality and very fast!
To start off with, my sales rep Cal Tucker was absolutely fantastic. Listened to everything I had to say and was able to assist me with creating a design that was everything that I wanted.
Once I hit pre-construction and construction, I was informed every step of the way. Whenever I sent through an enquiry, it was handled straight away.
I'm now living in my new home and it couldn't be any better. I had a couple of maintenance requests that were handled straight away.
I recommend Smart Homes for Living to any and all first home buyers and anyone building another home! This was my second build and Smart Homes did such a better job.
Marie and Vincent
Well designed area
Design of our kitchen is brilliant. Met our expectations. Thanks to Nicci for her guidance with the color, tiles etc and Clinton for the design. Tony was our last contact before the handing over and he was great to share his expertise with us about things we should know being first home buyers. Thanks Smart Homes
Would not recommend to my worst enemy
My partner and I began our building journey with Blueprint initially.
Amazing service. Great designs. Flexibility. Prompt replies. Couldn't fault them.
However, our circumstances changed and we had to pull the plug.
A year later, we were set to go again. We felt awful for cancelling on Blueprint & were too embarrassed to go through them again.
We thought having a good experience the first time, other builders would give us a similar experience.
I received a call from Smart Homes - I had enquired the year before, when we chose to build with Blueprint (don't worry Smart Homes, you were only a year late with a call back). I agreed to meet with a rep and discuss our options.
We met with A rep. Seemed like a nice, relatable guy. We told him what our musts were in a house and land package: a big yard as we have Rottweilers and kids. James wanted a large garage and a workshop and I wanted a nice, big kitchen with stone throughout and we wanted to live within 30 minutes of Canning Vale as this is where we both work - rep said absolutely we could do this.
rep showed us some designs, which we had already taken the liberty of looking at in our own time to be prepared.
We asked to use our Blueprint design, knowing we had to change parts due to copy rights but he showed us other options, we picked one and then we made the alterations we wanted.
When we met again, rep had a contract that stated everything we had talked about and the pricing. We picked a 'promo home' valued at $199,990. As soon as I looked at the paperwork I noticed it said $220,000. Was this a genuine mistake or was he trying to make extra money? I pointed it out straight away in a friendly manner. He looked, scribbled it out, apologised and wrote $210,00. I laughed and said, "still wrong" with a smile - I don't like being rude or nasty so I was trying to be reasonable, he looked back at the paperwork and called me a 'hawk'. My apologies if I'm not willing to pay an extra 20k for a house I shouldn't have to.
Reading on, I noticed on the paperwork it stated "EHB treatment" and the cost - $800, working in the timber industry for over five years I know that all timber for roof framing is already H2 treated, which means its already treated for EHB so why do we need to be charged again for this? When I mentioned this, rep was surprised (firstly because he probably didn't expect either of us to know), secondly, he said he would need to check with the office because he didn't know what it was for..
I also checked and where we are building isn't even an EHB zone. So we were about to pay an extra $800 that would have likely landed in reps pocket. Maybe $800 to him is nothing, but that's me working for 2 weeks away from my son. Why would I be willing to pay that for no apparent reason?
When he sent new contracts- the $800 for EHB remained on it, and I had to raise it again that I don't think we should be charged for this.
On the next contract, it was taken off.
We went over a few different estates but had basically picked prior as it was the same estate we were going to build in with Blueprint so we were familiar with the area, pricing and process and had actually already met the man selling the land last year.
rep organised [Name Removed] (guy selling the land) to meet me straight away to sign for land to secure it. We were still waiting on our house design variation pricing to come back and I said I didn't really want to sign without knowing the total price - in case we couldn't afford it.
rep promised pricing the coming Monday - but it took a lot longer than this. Variations were almost $18,000.
I sent a text to rep asking how big the opening to our ensuite was as we only had a pencil drawn house plan so far - I got no response.
[Name Removed] asked us to take a photo of ourselves on the block for his social media platforms - we hadn't even got finance yet - so we didn't even know if we would even be approved for the house or land. We hadn't even met with a broker yet. Isn't that an odd request ?!
Following our initial meeting with rep, [Name Removed] was due to go away for work for 3 weeks, which rep was aware of. I met with rep alone so we didn't delay the process, although I wasn't 100% comfortable signing anything without [Name Removed] there too, rep insisted I could sign for [Name Removed] as his agent so I did, this was a few weeks after our first meeting. rep said building contracts would be done asap.
Building contracts were done in October - we met in July.
Whilst going through this process with Smart Homes, I thought it was smart to check out other builders still too - always keep your options open, don't settle for the first thing thrown at you & always do your research right?
Other builders promised to do it for less, include extra features etc. We basically set our budget at $450,000 but the house and land package through SH went over - understandable, we did add and change the house design but we did need to somehow save somewhere otherwise we wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage.
I spoke with Ideal Homes, they offered to make the whole package $450,00 and even slightly changed the design (as they have to) and made it better in my opinion - increased backyard space by a whole metre also.
The rep knew exactly what he was talking about, took one look at our house plan on the proposed land and said it didn't meet council guidelines and it would be rejected (I thought maybe he was just trying to bag out SH and come across like his company knew better, months later we realised this was actually true)
Had our rep been as wise and in the industry for as long as he claims, shouldn't he have known this?
I phoned rep and told him other builders were offering us better deals and (in- a round-a-bout way) could he match this to keep our business? He argued that cheaper pricing meant cheaper service etc (not true, ideal homes service was prompt, informative and saved us money and we didn't even go with them) The Ideal homes rep also told me they are given grants from the land sale, up to $10,000, and asked if rep had offered us this - I nearly fell off my chair. No, he hadn't mentioned it, he hadn't offered us anything.
I phoned rep to discuss this, I felt guilty asking when I shouldn't have, he asked me 'do you guys not like me?' because I was essentially asking him why he hadn't told us about the grant and maybe it sounded like I was suggesting we will go elsewhere? In the end, after an awkward and uncomfortable confrontation, he said he will take $8000 off the house price.
We paid our $2000 deposit to the land and our $2000 deposit to SH.
We had our first finance meeting in August with [Name Removed], nice guy.
He reviewed all of our info and said we were in a great position and would have no dramas. Great news right, that's exactly what you want to hear.
We were going through keystart so we didn't require a large deposit, although we had a decent one - we wanted money left aside to do the backyard as soon as we moved on, hence not going through a bank which requires a larger deposit.
We actually applied with keystart ourselves, without a broker, and were told we didn't qualify as our debt % outweighed our income %.
[Name Removed] works fulltime and earns a good wage and I work part time and earn a good wage.
[Name Removed] said no way, we were in a perfect position and couldn't believe we didn't qualify through them.
We had a car loan of $37090 and a credit card with a $4500 limit, owing $3150.
[Name Removed] said it's fine, if anything we may need to pay off the credit card - no worries for us, we had over 20k in our savings.
Then the problems began to arise.
Keystart apparently initially accepted us. Music to our ears.
Then it came up that our car loan repayments were too high, we had just refinanced from Pepper to RAC, Pepper was 11% interest and RAC was 6.3% - so we almost halved our repayments before applying to build a house.
We paid $600 a month through RAC but Keystart said to meet their requirements our repayments needed to be $580 or less.
We couldn't restructure the loan as we hadn't been with RAC for 6 months yet. So we were told we needed to refinance again to a higher interest rate.
OK so now suddenly, we're going to be paying extra for our car. We weren't happy. We didn't want to be paying any extra money for anything. It went back and forth for a bit. We rang [Name Removed] and told him we didn't want to refinance and he said he didn't know about it. I suggested a sit-down for us 4 to communicate where we were at and discuss options. [Name Removed] agreed & then later cancelled. There seemed to be a massive lack of communication and commitment to us.
We ended up refinancing the car, we also had to pay thousands off first too. This was our only option to get finance, we refused to go a higher rate and went back and forth (running out of time to secure finance) and looked for other borrowers options.
[Name Removed] found us one for 6.7% - which was ok by us, it was barely more than RAC - though annoying that it was still more. [Name Removed] was easy to contact and prompt at replying.
Next, apparently keystart changed their policies.
Suddenly interest rate is 5.34% instead of 5.16% (We understand this, its subject to change whenever) but now they are only willing to lend us $370k not $460k.. this throws everything we had planned completely down the drain.
I find it hard to fathom that they can go back on a signed agreement.
We had already lodged our application with them BEFORE this policy started - how can they change their policy and just alter what we can borrow which would effect our entire process so far? What was the reasoning, we could afford 450k?
We argued and [Name Removed] agreed and said he was doing the best he could to get them to honour it. This took some time and it felt like we were in a grey-area, we didn't really know what the outcome was going to be.
Honestly it began to just feel like one thing after another. Since the initial meeting we were filled with confidence and really thought that financially we were in a good position.
Keystart honoured the original borrowing capacity after [Name Removed] fought with them, but the interest rate had to go up.
So now, since our initial meeting with [Name Removed] (rep) and [Name Removed], we were going to be paying more for our car and our house than we originally thought going into this.
As I'm writing this, it's October and we're still yet to obtain finance. We were given 90 days to obtain finance to secure the land we really wanted, I don't even know what the process is if we don't get it?
We signed building contracts as soon as we received them (via email)
In my opinion, we should've met with [Name Removed] to go over them and sign in person once all questions were answered, but apparently not.
[Name Removed] planned a meeting with us at his office in Osborne park and then cancelled and told us to just use Docusign (sign on the internet) he just said 'its heaps quicker'. Problem was, James and I both needed to sign and they only sent the documents to me, so James couldn't sign. This was a Friday so we had to wait until Monday for them to correct their mistake and send it to James also, another 2 days wasted. We signed hesitantly but knew we were running out of time because it took them so long to get the contracts to us, we felt cornered and knew we were running out of time for finance.
Going through contracts I noticed the laundry wasn't mentioned, [Name Removed] has promised us stone-throughout, it was basically my one request at our initial meeting. Well apparently stone in the laundry was excluded and [Name Removed] response was 'nobody puts stone in their laundry its fine'. Having worked at Laminex, I know damn well almost everyone puts stone in their laundry - its a wet area? I also have a friend who used [Name Removed] as a rep building her house and experienced this exact same issue, in the end [Name Removed] told her she could have it but he would have to pay out of his own pocket - is that supposed to be a guilt trip? Anyway, I had to settle for laminate.
Aircon was not mentioned on the contracts but [Name Removed] told us it was included at the meetings. I raised query this through text (for written proof) and he confirmed we have aircon. I'm praying when the house is built, it has aircon.
Under builders additions on our contract it mentioned pushing our house back (what the rep at ideal homes mentioned to us would happen months prior due to council requirements).
[Name Removed] did not inform us about this. Had we not have noticed ourselves, questioned and eventually raised our voices, the new plans would have gone ahead and we would have a tiny backyard - one thing we did not want.
The initial drawing [Name Removed] gave us showed that in the backyard there was 5m from the back wall (of bed 3&4) to the back fence. When we asked [Name Removed] what the setback was he said "leave it with me".
I waited a day and then contacted him again - another day wasted.
He said "ill have a look at the plan, I think we had to push the house back a little but ill clarify it". -we had already realised this as the plan we received was not the plan we agreed upon and had initially been given/promised - his reply saying this was Wednesday. By Saturday we still hadn't heard from him, so, I messaged him AGAIN. I find it rude, unprofessional and even demeaning that as a client we had to recognise this and notify him, shouldn't it be the other way around? To bad had we had put our trust in him and went ahead, 10 months later with a built house and 3m of backyard for 2 Rottweilers and kids? Yeah, right.
When we received our new drawings with the alterations of the set back, we were left with 3.9m of backyard.
This was just crap in our opinion. It wasn't what we asked for or what we were promised. [Name Removed]seemed shocked that we weren't happy?
As mentioned earlier, had he of known as much as he claimed to about the building industry, he would've known this prior, as the Ideal Homes rep did, why not offer us a different bit of land, where no set back was required?
We were told we could ask the shire about an exception. In my opinion, why was this our responsibility to do?
James called the shire and asked if we could have an exception (as suggested by the broker - I feel like this was [Name Removed] responsibility not the brokers).
We basically told [Name Removed] we wont sign if its only 3.9m as that's not what we were promised. PANIC mode for him as he wouldn't get paid if we didn't go ahead, right ? "Alarm bells, my clients wont sign because they don't have a backyard, I need to do something"
By Tuesday he had come back and said it was a drawing error on their end and the backyard could be kept at 4.9m (so only losing .1m from what we were originally promised). Not sure I believe this but anyway.
I cant even count how many days had been wasted at this point.
[Name Removed] said for us to give the signal for [Name Removed] to lodge our final application with keystart and he would get the adjusted drawings to us after. We refused. This guy was not a man of his word, why would we agree and go ahead when we hadn't yet signed for the backyard to go back to the 4.9m?
What if we signed and he didn't even alter the drawings? Who knows what his plans really were. After all, he just wants to get paid, were not people to him, were numbers.
So here we are, 24th October, waiting for Smart Homes (who promised new plans would take a day) to get us the design variation to sign.
We finally received new plans. We lodged for finance just in time and were approved.
A prestart date was suggested, it was a day we both had work, so we had to arrange time off because we just wanted the process to keep moving. It was about 2 weeks in the near future.
The day before we were due to go to prestart, we went and looked at display homes (for the 50th time) just to get a feel of what we liked (we did already have a fair idea). As expected, the reps running the houses asked questions 'what brings you out today', 'just selecting colours, we have prestart tomorrow' we replied. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them was shocked. 'you haven't already been to the tile place and selected?' they said. We had no idea this was a thing - we haven't built before and our sales rep never told us to go and look or pick at their preferred tile or carpet shop.
We rushed off to the tile place, stressing, mind you, it's sunday afternoon, about 3:30pm. The lady at the tile place says it's too late in the day, they need a few hours to fill out the relevant forms. She said we could go to prestart and pick there, but that we would be limited for options and everyone else has usually been told to go to the selected tile shop and pick prior.
I wasn't willing to pay almost half a mil for a house, and have minimal colour selection. So we told our rep we couldn't make prestart tomorrow. Of course, he was mad but there was nothing he could do. I did ask why he never suggested us to go to tile shops prior and he said 'you can if you want'. I also had to ask for a prestart booklet/guide, he didn't offer us one.
We were then told now we cant do prestart until January 2019 (two and a half months later) which delays the building process by 2 months as well as they need to send off approvals from your prestart which takes 8-10 weeks apparently before they can lay your slab.
[Name Removed] asked us to take a photo at the block for his social media, he didn't provide us with a sold sign for the lot sign - maybe this isn't protocol but Blueprint gave us one.
Luckily, we still had the one from our blueprint experience & we used that.
After looking at our plans again, and visiting the display home we built off, we noticed a few things,
In one of our initial meetings, we met at a display home, as soon as we walked in, we both really liked it, it made the reps job easier as we basically said, what's the price of the build for this, made our adjustments and we locked it in.
[Name Removed] didn't make the plan exactly like the display version though, but it was things we didn't notice at first. Front door size & size of window in the kitchen. I did notice the opening of the ensuite on our plan was small and tried to contact him several times about it, to which I got NO response to, I have the text proof that I was blatantly ignored, again.
It finally comes to prestart time. We are prepared and feeling confident.
I admit I was nervous and didn't know what to expect.
[Name Removed], our prestart guide seemed very knowledgeable, she was kind, patient and helpful.
We told her we had our own electrician that we had organised lighting with. SH wanted a lot for down lights throughout and we could get this much cheaper through our own electrician. [Name Removed] said all good, we can put junction boxes in for you an you can install your own lights after. Our electrical side for prestart came to $1123 - turns out [Name Removed] missed a lot and our electrical work and it's actually over $2000.
When looking at the prestart book we chose windows that slide open. When we got to prestart [Name Removed] told us the windows at the front of the house are fixed and cannot open - we weren't made aware of this and also weren't happy - how can we get any air flow in there? [Name Removed] asked someone if it could be changed but it wasn't allowed.
Prestart went well otherwise.
We just had a few things to finalise - we didn't like the tile selection and already had something in mind - she gave us the addresses of the tiles places and we went to look.
For the tiles we wanted in our living area, SH wanted to charge nearly $9000. We have friends who are tilers and own their own successful business, and we asked if we can just get them to install after. [Name Removed] informed us we could do this. Then it came back later that Keystart do not allow no flooring at handover so I had to go to the flooring shop again and pick a clip flooring we could easily remove and then have our tiles installed after.
[Name Removed] only worked Weds, Thurs, Fri, so if it was Fri we finalised something, we had to wait until Weds to hear back. I waited for a response and I never got one.
We were also to install our own front door, as discussed with both [Name Removed] and [Name Removed]. Which is now not allowed either.
We were also not told that we have to allow 24/7 access to our house by the council due to something in our backyard that were also not allowed to cover? When I realised this myself from looking at the paper work, I asked [Name Removed] why we weren't told at the start and I got no reply.
Eventually I got a call from a lady named [Name Removed].
[Name Removed] informed me we hadn't made all of our selections at prestart. News to us. She sent me photos of mirror frames and asked me to pick. She asked about a few other things we had already finalised with [Name Removed].
[Name Removed] was very kind, patient and helpful. But, as the weeks unfolded, again, it was just one thing after another.
We were told we could buy our own tapware (we wanted the matte back) and supply SH with this and be reimbursed for the tapware they didn't need to supply.
Later, it is told to us by [Name Removed], even after we got a form to say $632 would be reimbursed to us for the tapware SH didn't need to supply, that in fact we would not get any money back for buying and supplying our own tapware. We would also not be covered by any type of insurance.
As we earlier upgraded our front door to match that of the display home we asked for our house to be designed off, we asked instead of SH supplying the door, if we could buy and supply it. The answer was we could do this as long as it complied with the BAL rating which we were aware of.
Later its come back, from [Name Removed] that in fact we cannot do this, we need to pay SH for the door - another unexpected cost to us considering what SH charge for a door and what we were going to pay for it ourselves.
We had our own electrical plans which we discussed with [Name Removed] at prestart. We put junction boxes throughout and made other changes and were going to have our own electrician do our down lights. Yesterday (14th Feb) its come back that we are in fact not allowed to do this now and we need to pay SH for lights now.
They also charged us almost $1000 for a linen closet, even though it was part of the original house design. When we pointed this out they told us they were unable to refund us due to the way our loan was constructed, but could offer us a bunnings voucher at the end end of the whole process..
There is even more to our story but my hands hurt from typing.
This entire process has happened before our slab has even been laid. I cannot express my concern for what might happen through the building process. I am filled with intense regret from choosing to build with SH. As this is our first house, we feel like it should have been exciting but in all honesty it's been a pain, it's been stressful and we've had to put in more work then I feel we should have.
We are now at the 27th March 2019. Taking our building process into the 8th month - without even having a slab.
I wish I could say I'm excited but if anything, I'm filled with dread and anxiety of what is to come.
Last week I was emailed and told I need to go and clear the land, remove rubbish and pull the weeds. At first I just agreed because I knew no better, but then I was like wait, surely that's included in site works, I mean am I paying half a mil almost to go and rip weeds from my own land? Also I had never heard of anyone else having to do this, so I turned to fb to ask, and it arose quickly that this was an absurd request -- also given our land was virtually just yellow sand, no weeds.
Then I noticed the curb was broken outside our block. The house next door is under construction. I have photos from 2018 and the curb is fine. So its obvious its from next doors build? I told Smart and they told me I need to pay to repair it even though it was in tact when I purchased the land, and my construction hasn't even begun..
Right now, if I hadn't been so vigilant, and as I was called, a hawk, my partner and I would be over $20,000 out of pocket.
100% happy with my choice to build with Smart Homes. Gordon my Sales Rep listened to what I wanted and made sure my plan was perfect and that I was happy. Prestart was enjoyable because Sarah knows her stuff - all my colours flow together and I love my tiling in the Kitchen and Scullery. Approvals were completed quickly and it wasn't long until construction started. Josh and Phoebe/Mia looked after my build - questions were always answered promptly and explained in detail. A couple of hiccups - but Smart Homes made sure they were fixed to a high standard.
Happy with my new home and cant wait to move in.
Two Rocks Home
From Sales too Design the Team are enthusiastic and professional
Jeremy was our Sales Consultant and I can not fault his efforts to meet our expectations and succeed them. The design team helped us put our vision together, whilst remaining within our desired budget. The standard inclusions are a pleasant surprise in comparison to other builders ranges. Any issues during construction and post were dealt with promptly and efficiently. I would be more than happy to build with Smarthomes again.
Jeremy and his team were great! He helped with every aspect and answered our questions quickly and honestly. We did notice a discrepancy but Jeremy fixed it quick smart and positively for us. The house is coming along nicely and havent noticed anything wrong and it all came in on budget! Absolutely recommend highly. Thanks Smart Homes
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