11th Jun 2019
Eco Friendly House Design Is Crucial For A Cleaner TomorrowRead the full article
Australians are becoming increasingly eco conscious. We’re seeing it in the way we shop, cook and, in home design. With the pressure on our climate mounting, sustainable, affordable housing is an excellent way to plan for the future.
Here at Arei Designs, we’ve made it a mission of ours to provide our subscribers with eco-friendly alternatives. We create plans tailor-made for challenging housing estate covenants AND different climates. The truth is, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to eco-friendly house design. There are very specific passive design principles applicable to different climates. For example, the requirements for North Queensland vs the South-East Victorian climate are vastly different.
Sustainable Home Requirements
In order to meet the minimum sustainability standards, eco-friendly housing estates should include*:
- Minimum 7.5 star energy rating
- 2.5 kilowatts of solar
- 10,000 litres of rainwater storage
- Integrated on-site power generation
- 3 star plus water efficient plumbing
- Optimum site orientation for maximum energy efficiency
- On-site waste systems
- Use of recycled materials
- Sustainable manufacturing processes
- Reflective roofing materials
Sustainable Housing Estate: An AREI Project
Recently, we were approached by The Cape Project to design a suite of housing for a new eco-friendly, sustainable housing estate. The Cape Project is Australia’s first truly sustainable residential project.
This combination delivers homes that are comfortable year round with minimal heating and cooling and very low energy bills compared to conventional homes on the average housing estate in Australia. Further to this, The Cape has over 50% open space compared to around 10% or less on most conventional estates. Open space includes parks, walking and cycling paths, dogs off leash fenced park, habitat areas, community gardens, wetlands and landscaped road verges, and this open space can never be built out.
The project with Cape Homes is still in production however, we do have a few plans to showcase.
The Benefits Of An Eco Friendly House
It’s true, the cost of building a sustainable home initially will be more than the traditional counterparts. This is due to using high-quality materials throughout, solar, water tanks and more. Long-term though, the benefits will pay the difference and then some.
Energy & Water Efficiency
The cost of water and energy is increasing year after year. With a sustainable home, you’ll make use of solar power and water tanks which will drastically reduce these costs in the future.
Higher Property Value
As more and more Australia’s are seeking out an eco-conscious lifestyle, the demand for sustainable homes increases year on year. As such, your resale value will be more.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Taking steps now to reduce the impact you and your family have on the environment is crucial for the future. Building or owning an Eco Friendly House is a step in the right direction.
As the materials used are designed to be durable and stand the test of time, you’ll find yourself spending less on repairs and maintenance in the future.
Stay tuned for exciting updates from The Cape Project in the future. In the meantime, if you’re a custom home builder looking for cost effective, sustainable house plans, we’d be pleased to help!
28th Mar 2019
Property Update: How To Remain Profitable When New Builds DeclineRead the full article
It seems everywhere you turn these days there’s yet another article predicting the impending property apocalypse. This isn’t one of those articles. No, we’ve penned this piece today to chat through how the current market conditions affect custom home builders. You’ll notice many of these property updates only really focus on sale prices, auction clearance rates and discounting. Custom builds are a whole new kettle of fish.
Here we want to outline the facts along with a few key strategies you can employ to remain profitable while the real estate market does it’s thing. Here at AREI, we don’t see the point in reporting anything unless there’s a solution ready and waiting.
What is the current market telling us?
The ABS Building Report released in November 2018 showed a dramatic decline in construction approvals across all states. When averaged across all building types (houses, apartments, commercial) the decline totalled 32.8% in the last 12 months. When narrowing down the data to show private dwellings, houses dropped 6.4% and all other private dwellings (apartments & co) dropped a staggering 53.9%.
This can be the result of many things. For us, there are 2 key elements that are really steering the boat on these figures. The first one being the tighter lending conditions all Australians (and overseas investors!) are experiencing. Interest only loans, smaller deposits and equity driven loans are harder if not impossible to get right now. For that reason, there just isn’t as much cash floating around.
Secondly, people are nervous. As we mentioned, every media outlet in Australia is hypothesising about the future of our property growth and even the economic wealth in this country. When there’s fear in the market, it’s harder to sell. The results of the Royal Banking Commission is still playing out in Australia so it’s a case of waiting to analyse the full impact the adjustments have made.
We believe your potential clients are still waiting in the wings. In the meantime, we’ve got a few ideas to keep your custom home building business flush.
The construction industry is always changing as you’d know. To attract and retain clients, you need to match or stay ahead of your competition. The key trends coming forth in 2019 and beyond in home building are:
- Technology: many builders are investing in online project management tools which of course, benefit the project at hand but also, the client. Many of these tools allow for frequent build updates which the client can access online. It may seem like a small thing but key client value adds such as this can be the difference between winning and losing a job.
- Sustainability: with the focus on eco-friendly sustainable homes gaining more traction, ensuring you have viable options for this type of request will drastically improve your chances of acquiring new clients. Everything from building materials, solar options and house plans will need your consideration here. We now offer eco-friendly, sustainable custom house plans which are drawn and ready to be downloaded.
Find Your Niche
If you’ve been in this business for a while, you’ll know that finding new clients takes time, money and resources. Instead of trying to attract everyone and everything, spend some time figuring which projects have been the most profitable in the past. Identify who it was that booked those builds. Really niche this down to include their age, profession, location, family status and more.
This is called creating a customer avatar. One you have a clear idea of who to target and for what, develop a marketing plan to attract them. Put it this way, you can acquire many smaller clients or you can get strategic and book a smaller quantity of larger jobs.
You may also like ‘5 Essential Strategies to Land More Clients’.
Run a Lean Business
Even if you’re booked solid until Christmas, it’s always a good idea to plan for the future. It’s even more imperative in a market lull. You’d be surprised at how much you can save just by adjusting your operating expenses. For example:
- Labour: Watch your sub-contractor labour costs. Are there elements you can take back yourself rather than outsourcing? Can you minimise weekend work to reduce your expenses for a period of time? This is undoubtedly your highest cost so addressing this and making adjustments where you can should be a priority.
- Marketing: Of course if work is drying up, you’ll want to increase your marketing budget but it’s worth addressing what types of marketing you’re spending on. Traditional print mediums have a low return on investment where digital marketing can be tracked and adjusted for conversion almost instantaneously. Audit your efforts and market with intention. If the billboard is costing $5k per month and you’re not sure if it’s even working, it might be time to take it down.
- Plans: Another very hefty investment for builders are house plans. If you’re building 5 homes or more per year, you are likely already spending upwards of $12,500 per year on house plans alone. Most architects charge $2,500 or more for a custom house plan. Here at AREI Designs, our Construction Package gives you 5 construction drawing sets PLUS access to over 200 buildable, bankable designs for less than what you’re paying for 5 house plans standalone.
Spending only where required and making minor tweaks to your outgoing expenses will help you build a bit of beef in your budget to get you through the leaner times.
How have the current conditions affected your custom home building business?
15th Feb 2019
5 Essential Strategies To Land More ClientsRead the full article
2019 is well and truly upon us and if you’re like most custom home builders, securing clients and booking out your services are on the top of the priority list. In years gone by, a letterbox drop, print advertising piece or even word of mouth would likely do the trick. In this day and age, your digital presence is everything. If you haven’t yet invested in your digital footprint, the time is now. We’ve outlined the very best ways for professional builders to land more clients today.
1. Launch a professionally designed website
Nothing turns off potential clients quite as much as a slow, poorly designed website. Almost 53% of website traffic is mobile these days so your website needs to be mobile responsive. A DIY website likely doesn’t have the capabilities to capture your audience’s attention on mobile if you’ve done it yourself.
Hire a website developer who can design and code a professional piece. This will pay itself off in no time!
2. Get Social
79% of Australians are now using social media. That statistic has grown by 10% in a year alone. If you don’t have a social media presence, it’s likely your competitors do and you’re missing out on the gravy as a result.
The key is to grow an active and engaged audience by humanising your brand. Take them on a journey with you as you begin projects, complete homes and everything in between. 94% of social media users have a Facebook page and 46% are on Instagram. So if you’re going to concentrate on any platforms, make it those.
Further to this, almost 64% of consumers stated they would be more likely to trust a brand if they interact with followers in a positive way on social media.
3. Showcase Your Plans Online
Once you attract your ideal demographic to your website, you want to showcase what you can do for them. The very best way to do this is to upload your range of plans online. Visitors can browse and dream about their ideal home while online and hopefully, this will convert to a hot lead for you.
Organise your plans by type for example, 3 bedroom modern homes, 5 bedroom replica homes, apartments and so on. This will make it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for.
HINT: we have over 200 buildable, bankable designs readily available through our subscription service.
4. Create High-Quality Content
Producing high quality content is a must when enhancing your digital presence. Grainy images and sloppy copywriting just won’t cut it in this day and age. If you can’t create the content yourself, consider hiring a graphic designer and copywriter to help you.
The type of content every builder should be producing is:
- Social Media Content: a minimum of 4 posts per week
- A monthly blog
- Email marketing to current, prospective and past clients
5. SEO Is Important
As most prospective clients are searching for you online, you need to make it easy for them to find you. Your organic search engine optimisation covers your website. At the very least, each page should include a keyword such as ‘Builder Brisbane’ and have a meta description to compliment it.
You can also up the ante through paid Google Advertising. This is where you can select a range of keywords and pay for your website to be shown first when prospective clients are looking for you.
Remember, great content comes first with SEO being the icing on the cake.
Obtaining high quality, hot leads is imperative to every business owner but more-so for builders. As you know, as soon as a job finishes, you need another to replace it. Don’t get caught out constantly chasing leads, create a winning online presence that works for you.
14th Dec 2018
Home Building Trends To Incorporate in 2019Read the full article
When it comes to home design, true style never dates. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for trends. If you want to win business and keep those clients of yours happy, you need to stay on top of what’s trending in home design. Don’t spend your whole day scouring the internet for what’s hot and what’s not, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about home building trends for you.
Without further ado, here’s what we’re going to be seeing a lot of in 2019.
Sunrooms Are Back In
We’re seeing more and more modern Australian’s embrace the sunroom. Not only do sunrooms add a gorgeous light filled room to the house, they are versatile. From home office, to playroom to a sanctuary when guests pop in, they are an added bonus to any home design.
Open Plan Living Areas Are Here To Stay
This isn’t news but we’re seeing the trend cemented in 2019. Homeowners value an open plan living area above all else. Plans which seamlessly incorporate the typical flow of the modern Australian lifestyle will be chosen again and again. Think of the living, dining, kitchen and even the outdoor area as one large functional and stylish playground.
As land sizes are getting smaller and smaller with each generation, Australians are now thinking strategically about their space. We’re seeing a trend towards embracing the minimalist movement. Rather than grand rooms and large unused spaces, go for dual-function rooms which work with the owner to encompass all of their needs.
For example, a sitting room might now double as a home office or playroom for the kids. 1 bathroom may be swapped out for a powder room and laundry instead. The home office may be incorporated into a ‘nook’ rather than taking up a whole bedroom.
Eco Friendly Homes Are In High Demand
Australians are serious about reducing their carbon footprint. We’ve banned disposable plastic bags, we’re purchasing mindfully and we’re recycling more and more. Homes should be designed with lifestyle elements to mirror their owners. As such, eco friendly homes are being requested more often than not.
Think of insulation to keep the homes cool in summer and warm in winter to save the excess use of electricity. Solar panels and water tanks are almost a must these days. Also look at the materials you are using. Are they sustainable? Can you use recycled materials rather than new to create the same look? Being on the front foot of this will serve you well in 2019.
If you’ve been searching for house plans that have been designed for the modern consumer in mind, you’ve come to the right place. With over 200 buildable, bankable designs available on our database, we’re sure you’ll find the very thing to wow your clients in 2019.
30th Oct 2018
Adaptable Housing: The Future Of Home DesignRead the full article
Here at AREI Designs, we are all about ensuring each and every home we design is functional along with of course, stunning in it’s design. A new wave of home design is making headway in Australia and we’re happy to report, we’ve adopted the trend and now offer Adaptable Housing in our subscription package.
An adaptable house is designed with the current and future needs of the client in mind. For example, empty nesters may seek a smaller and efficient home now but what about as they age? Will their needs change? We believe they will and an adaptable house can accommodate these changes without the need to demolish or renovate extensively.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that the percentage of individuals with a disability increases significantly with age. It’s estimated more than 50% of people aged over 60 will have physical limitations. For this reason, we truly believe adaptable housing is the future of home design. Here’s why.
Adaptable Floor Plans
Mobility and declining physical capabilities can be catered for with ease with an adaptable house plan. Homes are pre-designed to include widened hallways fit for wheelchairs, lower cabinetry for easy reach and bathrooms that can be easily modified should one of the occupants require assistance bathing in the future.
Access is a key requirement when designing an adaptable home and each plan is equipped with easy access into the home with the inclusions of ramps, handrails and flatter surfaces. Materials used are non slip meaning the likelihood of a fall due to wet weather is minimised.
The Australian Standard AS 4299-1995, Adaptable Housing provides guidance on what qualifies as a livable house, accessible house and adaptable house. Here at AREI, we design to cater to all three sub-groups. You can access these plans once you subscribe to our database of buildable, bankable house plans.
For those of you who are not sure what the requirements are for each, we’ve outlined this below for you.
- A Liveable House is designed with the changing needs of the occupants in mind.
- An Accessible Home is designed for access and mobility with the ability to accommodate wheelchairs in all areas of the home. The design must meet Australian Standard AS 1428.1-2001
- An Adaptable Home is a liveable home which is easily adapted to become an accessible home in the future.
At AREI Designs, each of our adaptable homes have been designed to comply with the Liveable Housing Australia Guidelines.
2nd Oct 2018
How An AREI Subscription Can Save You MoneyRead the full article
Minimising expenses and maximising profits rank high on the priority list for most business owners. Working in a way that is lean, profitable and poised for growth is an absolute must. Which begs the question, how do you decide where to spend and where to save? What makes a smart investment and what constitutes a ‘nice to have’ but not necessary expense?
Here at AREI Designs, we work with builders to not only provide their clients with their dream home, but also to grow and scale their home building business. As designers who have worked in the industry for many years, we know what makes a build profitable.
We believe in transparency first and foremost and we’re all about getting new clients on your books. We’re all about return on investment and want you to reap the rewards when you work with us. Which is why we’ve created this piece outlining how an AREI subscription can actually save you money in the long run. For real.
1. Incredible Value
Let us break it down for you. If you’re building 5 homes or more per year, you are likely already spending upwards of $12,500 per year on house plans. Most architects charge $2,500 or more for a custom house plan. Here at AREI Designs, our Construction Package gives you 5 construction drawing sets PLUS access to over 200 buildable, bankable designs for less than what you’re paying for 5 house plans standalone.
We’re not mathematicians but when you’re looking at your top line expenses, it just makes sense to maximise your investment.
2. Pricing Sets
As builders, keeping your build within budget is paramount. When you work with us, we provide unlimited pricing sets which are downloadable for all of our website designs. These include a floor plan, dimension plan, elevations and 3D views.
This means that there’s no need to worry about the cost of preliminary drawings before your clients have signed the contract.
3. Free Custom Concept Brochures
Sometimes your client might struggle to find a plan that suits their exact requirements which is why we offer each of our subscribers 5 free custom concept brochures – including floor plan and 3 renders for you to show your client.
How many other builders have the option of presenting their clients (or potential clients) with a free custom design? We’d say not many. This subscription feature WILL save you money and will wow clients at the same time.
4. Quick Turn Around
It’s no secret, time is money. We get that your time is valuable and billable which is why we make it a goal of ours to provide you with a super speedy service. We want your work to keep flowing through the door while impressing your potential clients.
We’re really proud that our current turnaround times for plans are between 2 and 5 days meaning the wait time for you/your clients is non-existent. You won’t waste time waiting around when you work with us.
5. Help with Marketing
From talking to our builders, we know that successful marketing is one your of the greatest struggles. How do you get your name out there, improve the image of your business and generate leads, all without outlaying too much money?
We took your pain points and created a marketing guide to answer all of your burning questions. It’s available to all of our current subscribers and is packed full of actionable tips to help you achieve your business goals.
If you would like to know more, Ben or Rebecca would love to have a chat.
0419 786 578
Business Development & Relationship Manager
0447 273 481
18th Sep 2018
5 Reasons Why Investing In Quality House Plans Is So ImportantRead the full article
The other day I had a retiree couple who approached me for a custom house design. They had in mind a beautiful classic contemporary home on stumps – about 750mm off the ground. The one thing that had slipped their mind? They were building their ‘forever home’ – the place they would retire and grow old in, but they had only stair access.Designers don’t necessarily know exactly what you need like you do, but an experienced designer can bring some great, unique ideas to the table that you might not have thought of yourself. The icing on the cake so to speak. And sometimes, they can discourage you from making a really annoying design decision as well.
Sometimes, designers have great ideas
As the saying goes, nothing worthwhile in life is cheap, or easy, and it definitely isn’t free!Many homeowners can be the difference between the success and failure of the project. And even, if a project goes over or under budget.
Quality designers aren’t free
- Properly detailing exactly what YOU want on the plans, and even in a specification means that when a builder quotes he can quote exactly what you want. Reducing the uncertainty for him reduces the ‘unknown factor’ he adds in his margin, and can reduce the likelihood of being stung by expensive variations halfway through the contract.
- Designing your house right the first time can save you thousands of dollars in renovations in the future
9th Aug 2018
How To Know a House Design Is Right For YouRead the full article
2 bathrooms, or 3 bathrooms? Kitchen in the centre of the house or opening onto the alfresco area? Monochrome or bright and cheerful? Oh the decisions that come with building your own home!
How do you make sure your dream home, is just that – perfect for you, and your family?
Step 1: Make a list
We’re talking a comprehensive list of “must haves” and “must not haves”. The reason for this is simple: before you start shopping you need to have a very good idea of both what you want and what you really NEED.
Also keep in mind how long you plan to stay there. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Will you have 4 children or parents living with you that you need to accommodate as well? Do you work form home and need a home office?
Is it your forever home? If so, make sure you spend plenty of time in the planning process. There is no need to rush a design if you are planning to be there for the long haul.
Step 2: Custom or Pre-designed?
So you’ve made a list of your must and must-not haves. The next step is to decide whether a completely Custom Home Design or a Pre-designed Home is the best choice for you.
A great starting point is to contact a local builder who has a great range of pre-designed home designs for you to look at. Our AREI Exclusive builders have access to our range of 200+ designs which are beautiful, cost effective, and perfect for the Aussie lifestyle and weather. Find and contact one of our builders (Australia wide) here.
If you have unique requirements, or a tricky block to work with, you may find a custom design is the best option. If so, approach your designer (or one of the AREI Builders who have complete custom designs at their fingertips) armed with pictures and notes of what you love.
Step 3: Choosing the design
Successfully selecting a design, whether pre-designed or custom, is all about marrying these two things together:
Your list of “must and must-not haves”
Consideration of the climate, site aspect, solar angles, prevailing breezes, privacy issues, views, and outdoor needs.
One of the biggest mistakes home owners make is not selecting a house layout that suits THEIR block. Even if it is the most beautiful design, you will find that lack of consideration of the climate and aspect can make an otherwise amazing house quite uncomfortable to live in. Don’t be afraid to get advice on this from the professionals!
Step 4: Now, ask yourself these questions
- Does the design match your list of “must haves”?
- Does the design avoid all of your “must not haves”?
- If not, are they criteria you are happy to be flexible with?
- Is there something about the design that makes you feel excited?
- Does the design suit the aspect of the block?
- Will the house be able to “grow” with you? I.e. accommodate your changing needs over the years?
- Can you picture yourself living here?
If you can answer yes all of these questions then you know you’ve found the house design right for you!
29th Jun 2018
How does an AREI subscription benefit Custom Home Builders?Read the full article
We get the question a lot: You offer pre-designed homes, but my company mainly does custom homes, how can AREI subscription benefit me?
Here are just a few reasons why we’re certain we can help you out.
We offer complete custom house designs at a competitive price
As qualified building designers with 30+ years’ experience, we cut our teeth on custom house designs. They are also the designs we most love creating! From our most affordable basic preliminary and construction drawing sets, through to 3D rendered concept plans, construction drawings and specification, we can give your clients the fair dinkum custom experience they’re after. It’s up to you and your client what you choose.
Our pre-designed floor plans can be the starting point for every custom design you build
Apart from the clients who approach you with architect designed plans, few clients approach their builder with an extremely detailed sketch. They want to sit there with you/your designer and piece together their dream home. They do this by looking at existing designs, and basically ‘selecting’ the pieces they like. Having our extensive
range of plans on hand, makes this process simpler and more exciting for them. And you never know, they may just fall in love with one of our designs, which means less drafting + designing time and expense for you both! #Winning
Our goal is to generate website leads for your business
Having an attractive and comprehensive range of plans on your website is a great way to attract traffic. When implemented correctly, (send us an email and we can show you some great examples) you are more likely to appear in Google searches, and more likely to receive enquiries from the website visits you receive. Having a great range of plans means that your business looks more professional, and helps you to compete with the ‘big guys’.
We help you with social media growth
Let’s not forget the social media help we provide. Social media is such a large part of creating a successful business these days! We’ll there with you every step of the way, cross promoting, sharing your current projects and
letting our follower base know all about your business. Check out our Instagram Page here.
Curious to learn more?
Contact Ben – , 0419 786 578, or Rebecca – , 0447 273 481.
4th Apr 2018
How we curate our range of house plansRead the full article
Here at Arei Designs, we’re all about giving our builders the best possible selection of practical and beautiful home designs. So how do we decide which floor plans to share, and which ones to…not?