Display Homes – Understanding the Builders Rep

Display Home

Going into every Display Home the first person you see is the Builders Representative.

When talking to the representative it helps to understand a little about them, so here are some thoughts;

Pay

We all work for money but the Representative’s conditions of employment might be a fair bit different to you.

Most Representatives will receive minimal, or even no basic pay.

Their commission on each sale will be several thousand of dollar, but they may not get it for months.

Although they may get a partial payment for your initial signature they usually won’t be paid the full amount until the slab goes down.

This means their main driver is to get you committed as soon as possible, so don’t be rushed.

Take your time to understand exactly what you are buying. (The current ‘Limited Offer’ will be replaced by a different offer of similar value)

Priorities

Because of the way the rep is paid their main interest will be in people who are committed to buying a house rather than ‘Tyre Kickers’.

If you don’t:

Just tell them “you are starting to look at houses”, take some brochures, and have a look around.

When you have a good idea of what you want, and just as important ‘How Much Can You Afford’ then make an appointment to go back.

It’s probably best to do this midweek when it will be quieter and your children will be at school.

Length of Employment

Because of the lack of a basic wage, weekend work, and the wait for commission, turnover of representatives can be high.

This means that it’s really important to make sure that all offers, and agreements, are clearly put down in writing.

You don’t want to get further down the track arguing for an upgrade that was verbally agreed by someone who you are then told is now an ex-employee.

 

See ‘Choosing a Builder’ for more posts

 

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Heating – Which Is Cheapest?

Thinking about how you are going to heat your new Home and get Hot Water?

Heating costs do vary depending on state and depending on whether you live in the bush or city.

Historically the cost of heating a home has been, from cheapest to most expensive:

    • Solar. (check out Passive Solar)
    • Wood , Collected. (Will take around 10 days to gather enough for winter)
    • Heat Pumps.
    • Natural Gas. (The way gas prices are going up, $300-$400/year announced today! this may no longer be the case soon!)
    • Off-Peak Electricity. 
    • Peak Rate Electricity. (peak rate electricity is relatively cheap in Tasmania)
    • Wood, Purchased. (Better to buy at least 1 cubic m rather than buying at the servo)
    • Liquified Petroleum Gas. (It’s not just the cost of the gas you also have to pay for cylinder rental)

Whichever method you choose its going to be cheaper if you get the House Size and the Insulation right!

 

See Comparing Gas and Electricity for more information

See Heating for more posts

 

 

 

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Mork’s House

Morks House 1

I’m old enough to be reminded about the TV show Mork and Mindy, where Mork(Robin Williams) arrived on Earth in an Egg shaped spaceship.
morks house 2
Mork would feel quite comfortable in this home.

As for me I’m not to sure about sleeping on that bed ‘shelf’.

This transportable unit called “BLOB VB3″, was designed by Belgian architectural firm dmvA.

I found these and additional photos at the Home-Reviews.com website.

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?

 

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Safety Switches & Circuit Breakers

Did you know there are two safety devices in your electricity cabinet to keep you safe?

Safety Switches

Safety switches were originally known as Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers (ELCB) but are now more commonly Residual Current Devices (RCD)

These super fast switches (less than 1/20th of a second) cuts the power off the instant a fault has been detected to protect you from serious electrocution.

RCDs generally control several individual circuits.

The RCD checks the incoming and outgoing current at your switch board. If the current isn’t balanced a person may be getting an electrical shock. The RCD’s are designed to disconnect quickly enough to minimise the risk of death’ or serious injury .

A RCD will always have  test button’ like the units below, which should be regularly (monthly) pressed to check that it is working.

Safety switch

There are extra RCD’s in this installation as we have 3 Phase Power for our Instantaneous Water Heater rather than the single phase power in a typical house.

Circuit Breakers

circuit breakerCircuit breakers are provided for each individual circuit in your house.

A circuit may be a single appliance, several power outlets in a part of the house, or a number of light fittings.

Their purpose is to stop you adding too much load to the circuit, which can cause the cables to heat up, leading to a fire risk.

 

For more posts see Electrical

 

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Are You Prepared for a Bushfire?

bushfire 1
It will soon be Summer . . . . and Bushfires will be in the News!

Live close to the Bush? . . . . Are you and your new home ready in case a fire is heading your way?

Its not just making your new house Fire Resistant.

Questions You Need To Answer

  • Have you cleaned up your garden
  • Will you leave based on a Fire Danger Rating?
  • Where will you stay?
  • Which routes will you take? (don’t just have one route in case a fire is already in the area)
  • What will you take with you?
  • What about your pets or livestock?
  • How will you stay informed about warnings and updates?
  • What will you do if there is a fire in the area and you cannot leave?
  • How can you defend the house?

When thinking about questions like these remember that a fire can start at any time . . . . so think about what to do if only one person is at home.

Check With Your Fire Authority

This isn’t a comprehensive guide just a reminder to start you thinking.

Check with your State Fire Authority for more detail about how to make a fire plan.

 

See Bushfire for more posts

 

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Sleeping in a Car Wash

V8 Hotel im Meilenwerk Stuttgart auf dem Flugfeld Boeblingen.
I can sort of see the point of having a car themed bedroom.

As for a car wash that’s a bit harder to get my head around!

This is in the V8 Hotel, Böblingen, Germany

Other car themed rooms, include

  • A Morris Minor Garage
  • A Route 66 theme.
  • The Love Bug
  • Drive In Cinema

Want to see more? . . . Then check out the web site    www.v8hotel.de

 

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?

 

 

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Light Bulb Comparison

incandescent bulbIn a previous post on Lighting Levels I talked about using lumens to plan lighting. . . . . but which type of bulb should you use?

There are now 3 types of bulbs in common use

  • Halogen (A more efficient version of the old incandescent light bulbs)
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Light Output

Typical values of light output are:

  • Halogen – 15 Lumens/watt of power
  • CFL – 54 Lumens/watt of power
  • LED – 90 lumens/watt of power

Actual values will vary from manufacturer and also depending on the  colour temperature of the light.

From the above figure it can be seen that a LED provides a significant power saving, even compared with a CFL.

Initial Cost

For an output of around 450 lumens enough for something like a desk lamp you can expect to pay:

  • Halogen – $3
  • CFL – $6
  • LED – $20

Bulb Life

  • Halogen – 2,500 hours
  • CFL – 10,000 hours
  • LED – 50,000 hours

The long life of LEDs meant that though the initial cost of $20 seems expensive over the life of the bulb you would have needed 5 CFL bulbs ($30) or 20 Halogen bulbs ($60)

Other Issues

CFL lamps do contain a small amount of the toxic element mercury, and do take several seconds to Warm up to full brightness.

Both halogen and CFL lamps tend to have limited durability if subject to vibration or rough handling.

A dimmable LED is around 40% more expensive than a basic LED.

 

For More posts see Electrical

 

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Pre-Wetting your Site

sprinkler

Reason For Pre-Wetting

If you are Building On Clay that is dry there is a risk of Soil Heave.

This is due to expansion of the clay if the moisture level increases with particular risk factors being:

  • Building after a long period of very dry weather when large cracks in the surface are visible.
  • Knock down and rebuild projects where there is a risk that part of the new foundations are on drier land than other parts.
  • Where there are trees, or trees have recently been removed.

To minimise the risk there is often an Engineers requirement to pre-wet the site to stabilise the moisture content.

Pre-Wetting Requirement

A typical requirement is to run sprinklers for 2 hours a day for 8-10 days which should increase the soil moisture to a depth of approx 1m.

Then the fill/construction pad below the slab should be laid within 2-3 days,

You are aiming for the equivalent of 20-25 mm of rainfall a day (20-25L/m2) The intention is on each day to thoroughly wet the top layer of soil and fill all the cracks with water without actually waterlogging the site.

For maximum effect the best time to do the pre-wetting is the late evening to minimise evaporation.

I have hear of builders saying the pre-wetting isn’t needed. Don’t accept this without soil moisture tests that have been accepted by the engineer who made the original requirement.

Effectiveness of Pre-Wetting

Although pre-wetting will minimise the risk of Soil Heave

  • It doesn’t mean that good foundation design can be neglected.
  • Letting the site moisture content stabilise through a winter, after removal of buildings/trees, is likely to be more effective.

 

See Ground Conditions for more Posts

 

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