When you’re looking at display homes and talking to builders, you’ll often hear a lot of chat about ‘the spec’. But what exactly is the spec and why is it important?
The spec – short for specification – tells you what’s included in your new home as part of the advertised price. There may be more than one spec on offer for the home you have chosen, allowing you to select the fit-out that best meets your budget.
While the spec details everything from brick choice to the number of garden taps included, it will typically highlight key fixtures such as the cooktop, oven, WCs, taps, basins and benchtops. These are often the items on the list that change according to current housing styles. They’re often the items homebuyers look at first, especially if they’re comparing offers and promotions.
And here’s the thing.
It’s very difficult to compare apples with apples. To sort out what’s actually good value and what’s simply smoke and mirrors.
“If you don’t check the spec carefully, you might find all is not as it seems,” warns Jeremy Muir, sales manager for Domain by Plunkett. “You might not actually end up with the quality and the value-for-money you expected.”
So how do you spot a good spec, especially when there are so many builders vying for your attention, all with different products, different price points and different inclusions?
Here’s Jeremy’s 6-point checklist:
1. Will I have to pay more?
Having a clear list of what you need – and what you want – will help you make changes should you wish to, while still sticking to your budget. If you’re basing your design on a display home, you should also see a full list of what’s not included in the price; things such as sound systems, air-conditioning and landscaping, for example. Otherwise, everything you see in the spec should be included in the price you are quoted.
2. What’s missing?
Don’t overlook the detail in all the excitement. Look closely at inclusions such as paving, insulation, power points, water run, and gutters to make sure you’re getting the best your money can buy. A comprehensive list itemising everything from the general construction, to the kitchens, bathrooms and laundry, will help you compare one offer or promotion with another.
3. Are you working with a trusted builder?
It’s hard to beat experience. Dealing with a builder that’s been around for many decades gives you confidence in the products being used to construct your new home.
4. Will they last the distance?
Items such as ovens, cooktops, taps, toilets and benchtops all get lots of use, so you need to be confident they perform well and not just look good. If you’re an investor and plan to rent out the home, how well will everything stand up to wear and tear?
5. Are the items from a trusted supplier?
If your builder is dealing with suppliers who have a proven track record, offer first-rate customer service and are known as market leaders, then you’re definitely on the right lines.
6. Does the spec fit your style?
Here at Domain, we’ve done the homework for you, picking fixtures and fittings that will work with a wide variety of contemporary and classic styles. We’ve also taken inspiration from the TV show The Block to make sure our upgrades are in tune with the latest looks.
Lots of other builders may be dressing up their spec with ‘too-good-to-miss’ offers, but at Domain we’re always putting our best foot forward.
“Because of their efficient design, Domain by Plunkett homes offer exceptional value,” Jeremy says. “We’re confident we go head-to-head with the competition, offering designs, prices, specifications and inclusions that provide the best value for money in the market.
“You’ll never find us implying something is included when it’s not and we don’t have a certain spec on some homes and not on others.”
What you will find from Domain by Plunkett is a simple, easy-to-understand solution with a base price for homebuyers who want to add in most of the finishes themselves, and a turnkey price for those who want to move straight in.
“Our specs and inclusions apply across our entire range, and if you’re opting for a turnkey package then you also get our Better for Less Guarantee,” Jeremy says.
What’s new in the Domain by Plunkett spec?
We’ve switched to a Blanco oven and cooktop in our revamped spec, which now also includes Blanco sinks and taps, a Rheem 26L instantaneous hot water system, and 20mm Essastone kitchen benchtops..
We’ve also upgraded to the modern lines of the Caboni Smooth Inset Sink from Caroma and a close-coupled Stylus Venecia WC for a more streamlined look in the bathroom. Other upgrades include Essastone benchtops in the bathroom and ensuite.