Friday, July 15, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Officer We Go...

So in the pouring rain, we drove from Metricon's head office out to a suburb called Officer in Victoria's South East. This was not just a display village for Metricon, but it had all of the main McMansion companies down there, all showing off their different styles of homes.

Even though our Glendale hasn't been built yet, (not even a spec home) we ventured down there to get our heads around the size of the ceilings, the layout of the rooms etc. We went and checked out the Whittaker and the Riva. The Riva had room sizes that were comparable to the Glendale, so we went to have a squiz and see if it affected any of our current thoughts and decisions.

The Riva was stunning. As I imagine all the spec homes would be. We walked around, checked it out, and then decided to check out the Whittaker next door.

The Whittaker is 10 squares bigger than the houses we were looking at, but we fell in love straight away. It looked amazing.

As we were standing in the kitchen, I looked at it and realised the space in which the Whittaker allows for the kitchen and the dining room, in the Glendale is the Kitchen, Dining and Family Room.

Glendale Plans

Whittaker Plans
It was pretty narrow across the hall to fit in the kitchen the dining and the living room, so my added on rumpus room, which is where the living room is in the Whittaker plans, has now become an open plan living room ala the Whittaker. Essentially we have changed the whole Glendale into a mini Whittaker. The Luckiest Girl in Caulfield has requested the butler's pantry set up, with a door to the corridor as well, and I have enclosed the study and the front room. 

The thing that suckered me in the most was the outdoor room. Initially I was against it. It rains too much in Melbourne. It's too cold to want to sit out side in an outdoor room. But the spec home suckered me in big time. So much so that one week on, in the cold dark of a Melbourne's Winter Day, I still want my outdoor room! 

Studio M

We ventured into Metricon again, and came armed with a few more concrete ideas. The house is definitely going to be for us to live in. It's definitely going to be the Glendale. And we're definitely going to make some changes.

Our main man Mark, took us through the Studio M and showed us what was a standard finish, doorway, cornice, handle, stair, carpet etc and what the upgrades were and how much they'd set you back.

Now you can go absolutely crazy in the Studio M and upgrade everything like crazy. Mark told us the story of one customer who built the Imperial 54 and spent $1.1M on the house. ( The house costs $480K).

Now for those of you wondering, the standard finishes are really impressive in the first place. Things like the depth of the Caesarstone in the kitchen might look nice initially, but seriously how long do you look at whether it is 40mm thick, or 20mm thick? And either way, it is ten times better than a laminate surface.

Fancy Schmancy
We went through there making a mental note of what we wanted to upgrade and what we could live without. Powerpoint outlets for one. Who cares whether you have a basic powerpoint like this one on the right, or whether you been suckered into spending $400 more and going the fancy schmancy ones like on the left?

So there are things to avoid. They warn you that in the electrical meeting, where you decide how many power points you want and how many data points, and what types of lights. The standard is one shitty green (efficient) light in the middle of the room. Now of course they show you the spec houses where it is lit up like the MCG, and make you want 14 down lights in every room. All good except these cost $180 per (LED) light. 

They've brought out these LED down lights recently to replace the standard down lights, and these bad boys have a life span of 25 years.

After the lovely studio tour, and some more chatting about the final plans of what we wanted with the house, we decided to go down to Officer and look at some of the spec homes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Glendale 34

So we've decided on the Glendale 34. Now the fun part. Everything else.

The Luckiest Girl in Caulfield is absolutely wetting herself at the prospect of spending five hours inside Metricon's Studio M and picking every single thing, from what colour the hinge should be on the laundry door, to the type of splashback in the kitchen and everything else in between.

As long as I get a pool table in my man cave, well then, I don't really mind what shade of tile decorates our laundry.

We're heading out to Metricon again this weekend to have a chat. I have a few questions, such as, if you look at the floor plans, can we extend the master bedroom over the garage and utilise that space? Can we close off the sitting room at the front of the house and turn it into a 5th bedroom? Who under the age of 90 uses a sitting room anyway?

The indicative pricing for the Glendale is $242,000 for the house, and a hidden $50,000 in "site costs". What this means is anyone's guess. They require a soil sample, which I am sure will find some rubbish jargon which requires an administrative fee of $12,500, because hey, why not?

Then the rest gets spent on all the upgrades. How a driveway is an upgrade defies me, but if you're going to pay for the house, you're hardly going to bail on the driveway. Just more and more ways to extract a few extra $$$ out of you.... Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My McMansion - Investment or Home?

So the biggest debate I am having now is whether this McMansion will be an investment or my home. And as Michael Caton says... You can buy a house, but you can't buy a home.

I purchased the land for such a cheap price, it would be very tempting to just put a simple 4 bedroom house on the land and flick it.

You can have the 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom "Delta" for $160,000 or spend $480,000 on the 5 bedroom  5 bathroom "Imperial 54"

This weighs heavily in my mind when choosing how much you want to spend on the house. The house might cost $300,000, but then there's connection costs, site costs, it doesn't include the driveway, there's only one light in each room, and so forth.

If I'm planning on living here for the next 10-15 years, than surely a higher investment now will pay off over the long run. Maybe not $480,000 worth, but definitely something in between.