9th Oct 2019

    An Update On The Australian Property Market

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    It’s safe to say 2018 was a tumultuous time in the Australian property market. We witnessed our property superstars, Sydney & Melbourne experience a devastating blow with Sydney dropping a staggering 5.9 per cent and Melbourne dropping 1.5 per cent. Darwin and Perth both experienced a decline of 3.6 per cent. 


    Some states bucked the trend and lifted. Brisbane had a minor growth of 0.01% with Adelaide and Canberra increasing by 1.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively. Hobart bucked the trend with a 8.4 per cent property increase. 


    Everyone was nervous. New builds declined, the Big 4 banks imposed tighter lending conditions and the property market flatlined. As a result, sellers held firm, buyers with decent financial backing went awol and new builds declined dramatically. 


    The whole nation was waiting for unemployment to rise and the property market to tumble. The doomsday reporting had an element of truth that was hard to ignore. 


    2019 Market Conditions 

    Enter The Royal Commission and the Federal Election. A petri dish of uncertainty and a nail in the coffin that was positive buyer sentiment. 


    The main change came post-royal commission when a new ruling stated the banks could no longer pay mortgage brokers a home-loan finders fee. Additionally, lending conditions remained competitive. Interest-only loans, smaller deposits and equity-driven loans were harder if not impossible to obtain. 


    Quarters 1 & 2 were shaky, to say the least. 


    Australian Property Forecast 

    Fast forward to quarter 4 and it seems the reported property apocalypse is all smoke and mirrors. In fact, we’re now seeing increases across the board. Some slight but none the less, the market is rising. 


    Just today, the Reserve Bank announced a rate cut (the third for the year) to 0.75 per cent. Lower interest rates coupled with looser lending conditions will result in a more positive market.


    So far, house prices have increased by 1.7 per cent nationally. Sydney recorded a slight rise of 0.2 per cent with Melbourne increasing by 0.1 per cent. 


    Overall, the market is still a hesitant one but certainly, it’s heading in the right direction. Predictions are for a strong 2020 with rates set to remain low. 



    Custom Home Builder Forecast 

    Of course, this is all relevant but what does it actually mean for custom home builders? In short, your clients will have more access to finance with more relaxed lending conditions meaning you’ll see more of them in the market. 

    Additionally, the hesitation experienced in 2018 and the first half of 2019 will lessen. With the change in sentiment in the market, you should expect to see larger projects coming your way. 


    Our advice is to prepare for a busy 2020 with all of your ducks lined up neatly. 


    How have the current conditions affected your custom home building business?


    Further Reading: 

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    11th Sep 2019

    The Best AREI house designs for Queensland

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    We’ve put together the very best of our designs to suit the Queensland climate. When we think about what living in Queensland means to us, it comes down to appreciating our fine weather. We love nothing more than BBQ’s on the deck, time spent outdoors, large windows capturing all the glorious natural light and of course, well ventilated to keep it cool in summer.


    These Queensland Homes have been designed with the outdoors in mind. 


    ASF Series – The Queensland Dream – Acreage living at its best

    This is one of our most popular designs, and we’re pretty sure we know why! Boasting 3 bedrooms, 2 living areas and 2 bathrooms, it makes a perfect family home. The generous indoor/outdoor living is a must for airy Queensland homes. The layout that works perfectly for either a North-facing or South-facing block and there’s plenty of room for the whole family!

    ASW Series – Another acreage or large block gem!

    The open plan living and dining makes the central hub of the home flow seamlessly. With 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas, 2 bathrooms AND a media room/theatre, this is a home that would suit a large family. Uniquely Queensland in its approach, the large outdoor patio extends to a flowing yard complete with a pool. 

    HDB Series – Suburban Hamptons Haven 

    This is another one of our most downloaded plans. If your client loves a classic design with a modern layout, you can’t go past the HDB Series. This design is available in 3 facade options and has 3 – 6 bedroom options. Complete with floor to ceiling french doors, a window seat, a sprawling porch and a large open patio, those design makes the most of the Queensland climate.  


    ADA Series 4: Inner City Living with All The Perks! 

    If you’re targeting clients central to the city, they are most likely working with a smaller land size. This design doesn’t compromise on any of the mod-cons Queenslanders love. Comprising of two levels, this home includes an open plan living, kitchen and dining room that flows onto an outdoor patio making it an entertainers delight. Rooms are open and make use of natural light, the design can be customised to make it a 5 bedroom deluxe home. 

    ASJ Series: Luxe Design for Modern Australian’s

    Modern Australian’s are wanting more and more from their homes. Open plan living, multiple bathrooms, walk-in robes, plenty of space for entertaining and ample space for outdoor living. This design hits all the right notes and can be customised to suit any clients unique needs. 

    We’ve got over 200 buildable, bankable designs ready to delight homeowners Australia-wide.


    Next time, we’ll delve into the colder climates and which homes are suited to their unique needs. 

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    31st Jul 2019

    Granny Flats For Modern Homeowners

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    The humble granny flat has come a long way in the last decade. In fact, they are rapidly becoming a desirable feature for current homeowners and potential buyers. They are a viable solution for many modern families with the return on investment being hard to ignore. Today, we’re sharing some of our favourite designs along with all the reasons granny flats are here to stay. 

    Return On Investment 

    It’s estimated the average granny flat can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 to build – this includes all the mod-cons you’d expect in a luxe set up. While this figure may seem high, the return on investment makes it well worthwhile!

    • Granny Flats can attract rental income of $300 to $500 per week dependant on the location. That’s a whopping 15% to 25% yearly return on investment. 
    • If you live in a desirable location, AirBnB is another option which could increase your return on investment significantly. 
    • Looking to the future value, a granny flat will add value to your home should you wish to sell or use the equity at a later date. 

    You can crunch your own numbers using this free granny flat return on investment tool. 


    Virtual Working Solutions 

    It’s estimated nearly 1 million Australian’s are now running a home-based business. This figure is increasing rapidly with the rise of virtual working solutions. Further to this, flexible working arrangements are becoming the status-quo in Australia with many full-time workers taking advantage of these perks. So it makes sense that the modern homeowner is seeking a solution to make working or running a business from home seamless. 

    Enter the Granny Flat. 

    A space to work away from the hustle of the home. Better still, elements of the build and ongoing expenses can be claimed on tax if you are running a business. 


    More Space 

    Growing families can really take advantage of the space granny flats offer. With banks tightening their lending conditions, many families just can’t afford to upgrade. A granny flat can offer perks without over-stretching the budget. 

    Granny Flats can be used to:

    • Contain older children who are seeking privacy 
    • Accommodate guests 
    • House an AuPair (a popular option for working parents!) 


    Granny flat design is now a beast of its own. With the rise of mini-homes and the like, there are so many creative ideas to draw upon when planning your own. Keep in mind, you’ll want to design the granny flat to complement the existing house, making sure it’s poised to grow with you. 

    Granny Flats

    Source: https://thedesignfiles.net/2019/03/architecture-harleygraham-marvellstreet-grannyflat/

    Granny Flats

    Source: www.aaarchitect.com.au

    Granny Flats

    Source: http://urbangrannyflats.com.au

    Of course, there are many considerations to take into account before you build. Do your own research as each state has its own regulations. In the meantime, a few larger restrictions include:

    • Maximum floor area should not exceed 60m2 – 120m2 (check with your local authority)
    • Land size usually has to be larger than 450m² or larger for a granny flat to be built on the property (check with your local authority) 
    • You must have 24m2 courtyard space for the granny flat – some states only. 

    Here at Arei Designs, we’ve been inundated with requests from our builders to add more granny flat designs to our current suite of house plans. Being the people-pleasing kind of business we are, we’re just about to release our very first complete granny flat series. We’ve added a sneak peek of the upcoming floor plans below. 

    Granny Flats Granny Flats


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    11th Jun 2019

    Eco Friendly House Design Is Crucial For A Cleaner Tomorrow

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    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.

    Eco Friendly House

    The project with Cape Homes is still in production however, we do have a few plans to showcase.

    Eco Friendly House Eco Friendly House


    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.

    Eco Friendly House

    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. 


    Low Maintenance

    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!


    *Source: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/sites/prod.yourhome.gov.au/files/pdf/YOURHOME-6-HousingOfFuture-4-Affordability-(4Dec13).pdf   


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    28th Mar 2019

    Property Update: How To Remain Profitable When New Builds Decline

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    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.


    Stay Current

    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 like5 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?


    Source: https://www.mintequity.com.au/news/severe-slowing-in-housing-construction-forecast-as-building-approvals-drop-by-328

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    30th Oct 2018

    Adaptable Housing: The Future Of Home Design

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    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.

    adaptable housing


    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.


    adaptable housing



    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. 

    References:  http://www.yourhome.gov 

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    2nd Oct 2018

    How An AREI Subscription Can Save You Money

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    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.

    Ben Dye

    0419 786 578

    Rebecca Marzella
    Business Development & Relationship Manager

    0447 273 481

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    18th Sep 2018

    5 Reasons Why Investing In Quality House Plans Is So Important

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    Your house is arguably the most expensive item in your investment portfolio. It’s also your home. The place where you and your family create memories, grow, squabble, play endless games, share meals and more. It’s the heart of your family. When it comes to new builds, extensions and even renovations, it really pays to get the professionals involved to provide you with quality house plans. 

    When you work with a professional to design a house plan, not only are you getting high quality designs, you are accessing their creative, analytical minds. Here are some of our top reasons why you really should invest where it counts. 

    1. Sometimes, designers have great ideas

    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. Adding a ramp now, during the planning process, means they won’t have the hassle of converting their home in the future when stairs become too hard or dangerous to negotiate.
    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.
    1. Quality designers aren’t free

    As the saying goes, nothing worthwhile in life is cheap, or easy, and it definitely isn’t free! Many homeowners choose to skimp on their planning budget, without fully considering that quality house plans can be the difference between the success and failure of the project. And even, if a project goes over or under budget.
    For example; 
    • Properly detailing exactly what YOU want on the plans, and even in a written specification means that when a builder quotes he can quote exactly on 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.  By taking the time now to plan for the future and designing a home you can grow into rather than out grow in a couple of years. I.e: if your children are young now you can pre-plan for a teenagers retreat in the coming years saving the hassle of an extension down the track.  


    1. Sustainability 

    This is a big one. Designers are well-versed in designing energy efficient, sustainable homes. If you want to save thousands on electricity, water and gas, hiring a designer is the way to go. They will take your homes location into consideration and provide innovative solutions including solar power panels, natural heating and cooling options and more. 
    There’s nothing worse than getting into a ‘dream’ home only to realise it’s freezing in winter and stifling in summer. Smart design will minimise this by working with your surroundings, not against them. 
    1. Quality Investment 

    Being the proud owner of an architecturally designed home is not only a great conversation starter at a BBQ, it gives your home a nice little tick to potential buyers in the future. 
    It’s a cold, hard, fact that custom designed homes sell quicker and for a higher price than their counterparts (dependent on circumstances such as; market conditions, location and the condition of your home) which gives you peace of mind when it comes to resale value. In the current economy, every advantage in the residential market is a bonus. 
    When it comes to return on investment, the outlay for quality house plans will well and truly pay for themselves. 
    1. Customise Every Square Metre 

    There’s something to be said for the beauty that is ‘customisation’. Are you an avid reader? Why not add a purpose built library to show off your literary obsession? If the kitchen is where your family spends most of their time, why not order an oversized island bench ready for daily family catch-ups? Are the kids always on top of you? There’s nothing quite like a separate ‘parent-wing’ to ease the congestion and noise associated with a large family. 
    Basically, all of those dream home images you’ve spent hours pinning on your Pinterest can easily become a reality with a qualified, experienced home designer. Yes, it will cost you but the benefits? We’re confident they outweigh each and every argument for saving that $3k or so. 
    If you’ve been in the market for a new home or customised build for a while now and haven’t yet found what you’re looking for, contact us to find out how we can help. 

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