In the office with Dan
Here at Simone Homes, we do things a little differently. We sat down with General Manager, Daniel Simone to chat about some of the most commonly asked questions we get from our clients about our processes, home building and why we do things the way we do.
HOW LONG HAS SIMONE HOMES BEEN AROUND?
The quick answer is thirty-five years. That’s when Joseph (Joe) Simone started out as a carpenter and dreamed of going further. A very successful carpenter, he soon established Simone Construction (c. 1986) and learned as much as he could while specialising in medium to large-scale building and construction.
His dedication and commitment has paid off over and over. Joe won the Liverpool City Business Awards ‘Outstanding Service + Trade Award’; and he has also been a proud member of the HIA (Home Industry Australia) for over 25 years.
Quality home building is in our DNA
Joe and his wife Rosemary not only created a happy, loving family with four sons, they also grew a thriving business based on excellent workmanship and service. Rosemary is a gifted designer and since 1996 has delighted many clients with her interpretation of their dreams.
Today’s Simone Homes is still a flourishing family affair
By 2014, their first-born son Daniel had become an integral player in the growing business, and together Joe, Rosemary and Daniel expanded into the home building market. The business name? No point in reinventing the wheel. The family already had a fine reputation for quality, trust and security – and so Simone Homes was born.
WHY DON'T YOU PROVIDE A BASE PRICE?
A ‘base price’ is something most builders offer as an indication of their basic cost to build a specific new home design. Unfortunately no two builders calculate these ‘base prices’ on comparable levels of inclusions, making it difficult for potential buyers to actually compare what the builders are really offering.
For instance, some builders exclude things like site costs and BASIX from their ‘base price’ even though these are essential to every home building process. Sure, it’s a great way to pretty-up the ‘bottom line’, but we believe it’s totally unrealistic, dishonest and misleading.
In our opinion ‘base price’ is just a fictional figure designed to get your attention and dangle the illusion of value in front of you. Buyers cannot get a home for its ‘base price’, so why would we waste your time and ours quoting one to you.
At Simone Homes, we do things the right way.
We’re totally pragmatic about providing accurate figures that truly represent the real cost of your new home. No smoke and mirrors. No frills. No drama.
Right from the start, we prefer to take the time, get to know you, your budget, your desired inclusions, your block, your lifestyle and to look at your specific situation before giving you an all-inclusive price.
When it’s all totalled up, a Simon Homes price won’t be comparable with another builder’s ‘base price’. But it will be totally transparent, honest-to-goodness, no nasty surprises quote. It will contain everything you have specified – everything that’s important to you. Plus, it will be on budget. And that’s the real bottom line.
We believe you deserve to know exactly where you stand.
WHY DOES SIMONE HOMES CHARGE FOR A CUSTOM TENDER?
First of all, a ‘Custom Tender’ is what we do when a potential client presents us with floor plans that were not produced by us. Hey! Not all builders like to take this on – but we’re good with that.
The first thing we do is to go through this like a super-sleuth. This is all new to us and we don’t want to miss anything! So, we conduct a pre-quote site evaluation (checking for ease or difficulty of connecting to utilities, the potential for ‘hidden surprises’ and to see if the site is on a heavy-traffic thoroughfare). We make absolutely sure that we completely understand every nuance, every little detail and every reason why you fell in love with this design in the first place. Once we’ve identified every cost and made sure nothing has been overlooked or left to chance, we check it again.
To provide you with such an accurate, ‘no nasty surprises’ quote, does take time. So yes, we do ask for a ‘Custom Tender’ fee up front. However, this is not added to the all-up cost.
It’s one of those, ‘spend a little money – and you could save a lot’ kind of things.
The Custom Tender fee protects you against the unexpected, and is never added to the final price. The small fee is usually balanced along the way by what you save because we spent the extra time to get it right. We have learned that the combination of making expert calculations, engaging trusted suppliers and really getting nit-picky with our homework always pays off for the customer and us.
Save time, save money, save palpitations.
That old proverb, ‘Forewarned is forearmed’ simply means prior knowledge of possible dangers or problems gives one a tactical advantage’. And that’s exactly what our Custom Tender does. It gives you, the customer a tactical advantage
that can save heaps of time, stress and perhaps palpitations – in fact, it gives you total peace of mind!
WHAT IS BASIX?
Back in 2004, the NSW Government introduced BASIX to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state. Since then it’s picked up a lot of awards and today, it continues to encourage home-owners, builders, councils and certifiers to do their bit to protect the environment. BASIX is regarded as one of the strongest sustainable planning measures in Australia.
BASIX (BUILDING SUSTAINABILITY INDEX): TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE
BASIX determines how your new home’s water and energy efficiency is rated. The ultimate goal is to make all residential and dwelling types in NSW, even more energy and water efficient. Today in NSW all new homes are required to achieve a minimum score to reflect that the home uses less energy and produces less greenhouse gas.
So why is BASIX left out of a ‘base price’?
It is a requirement of all building professionals to include the BASIX charge. However, if a builder leaves out a few simple things like insulation and a rainwater tank from the price that they give you, that price will seem so much more appealing.
The problem is – one day, the BASIX costs will reach the unsuspecting homeowner as a surprise or hidden extra!
What you don’t know CAN hurt you.
Hiding BASIX from a prospective homeowner is not fair. It’s deceptive and misleading because one day, the homeowner has to pay. Here at Simone Homes we don’t try to fool you. We do everything possible to ensure that we include everything that will be required for the home you are building … before we tell you a price. It doesn’t help you if essential items are omitted from your quote – so we don’t do it. We don’t like nasty surprises either.
WHAT'S YOU PRICE PER SQUARE METRE?
We don’t have one. In our opinion it’s rather vague and meaningless. Sure you can Google it and see that in Sydney the price per m2 of a 3 bed brick veneer/level block/single storey is $1065 for low quality finish to $1630 for high quality finish*.
We don’t do low quality. And we strongly believe that a ‘price per square metre’ does not factor in your personal needs, nor the level of required inclusions – it’s simply not a transparent way to give you an indication of how much your new home will really cost.
There are way too many factors including:
- Your specific site conditions, type of slab and quantity of piering required,
- Your inclusions – do you want larger tiles? A staircase handrail? Melamine or polyurethane kitchen cabinetry? A specific tap or shower rose? The list goes on!
As an example, changing a $2 tap for a $200 tap. Imagine what can do to a price per m2!
- The unique layout of the design – even the shape of rooms and walls can impact on the price per m2. Different trades charge different rates depending on how simple or complicated the request is. The builder then has to pass these charges onto you.
WHAT ARE SITE COSTS?
Like BASIX, Site costs are mandatory for every new home construction. Yet both of these costs are often ‘overlooked’ by some builders when they prepare their ‘base price’. Why? Without BASIX and site costs, their bottom line looks fabulous.
In our opinion, this is sneaky, misleading and downright dishonest. Because one day you will have to pay BASIX and site costs. It doesn’t matter what home you build or who you choose to build it, site costs for your block will always be for the same work and services. We think it’s better that you know about these costs up front – so you can budget appropriately.
At Simone Homes we make everything add up from the start.
We include all mandatory costs – even though it means our bottom line can’t compete. We have a proud history and have always lived and worked by decent values – so we don’t believe in trying to fool our customers. It’s against our grain. Anyway, don’t be fooled by the lowest price. That’s not the real cost. As we’ve said before, it’s a fictional figure that’s been created to tempt you.
What do site costs include?
They’re the goods and services that will always be required. For example, connectionto power, water and gas; concrete piering and site fencing. We believe thatbuilders can and should use their experience to include at least the minimum quantities
in any price they give you.
When you build with Simone Homes …
you’re actually in partnership with us. It’s our customers who inspire us every day to give everything we do 100% of our care and attention. And that’s why our costs are totally transparent, honest – and calculated to suit you and your budget. With Simone Homes, there’s nothing to hide.
HOW DO I GET A FIXED PRICE?
Let’s get one thing straight. A fixed price only ‘fixes’ those items already included in your tender. What’s not included is the ‘unexpected’. For instance, your builder discovers a rock shelf, one metre below the surface. It needs to be jack hammered (or excavated somehow). That’ll cost extra and your builder has every right to pass these costs on to you. We take a closer look at what this all means in the brochure.
Residential Fixed Price Building Contracts:
These generally make allowances for some variations to construction (such as removing rock) and the contract price is adjusted accordingly. Their purpose is twofold:
- Protect the builder from unexpected costs
- Protect the buyer from dodgy builders.
What lurks beneath?
Usually before a contract is drawn up, the diligent, honest builder will do a little extra legwork to ascertain what the site conditions are, what to expect, and how to solve problems before they becomes financial headaches for both parties. However, if you’re aware of any site problems at all – or suspect there could be a problem, please alert your builder to them. This will provide a vital ‘heads-up’ that’ll help your builder determine solutions, timings and costings.
Perception and Reality
The builder can then adjust the contract price to a totally realistic figure. This could be higher than a competitive quote – but it’s honest, transparent and dedicated to providing the best outcome possible. If no problems arise, nobody’s out of pocket and you can pay a reduced contract price. Win win.
At Simone Homes, we commit to that extra legwork up front because we want our price to be as fixed as possible. And this is why we take that extra time to get to know you and your unique situation.
At the end of the day, we hate unexpected costs as much as you