Monday, December 28, 2009


Well settlement has finally happened! It happened on 23rd December but I was too busy partying to make a post about it until now. Here's the timeline, for the day where settlement was scheduled for 10 am:

7 am - Perpetual LMS (who is acting on behalf of ANZ) informs our solicitor that they are not authorized by ANZ to complete settlement. Mortgage agent contacts ANZ, reminding them that they will be costing us $3000+ if they don't settle today, and we'll be asking for compensation. Our solicitor had already informed Perpetual the previous day that we would be asking for $3000+ if they didn't settle today.

9 am - ANZ realizes they had indeed not authorized Perpetual to settle, and arranges to settle at 3pm the same day

4 pm - Much to everyone's surprise, the land is settled!

Our contribution ended up being much less than we had budgeted for, so we now have quite a bit of money left over, despite our best attempts to spend it over christmas. Things are looking good. I've informed our Metricon CSC about the settlement but he's on holiday no doubt.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Settlement 2

There is more news - after a monumental struggle (which made good use of our mortgage broker's lion taming skills), we actually know, more or less, how much money we need for settlement this Wednesday (2 days from now). I've transferred the money directly to our solicitor so he can have the money ready. So now we are back to waiting..

The theory is that everyone heads on down to the vendor's place and hands over a bunch of cheques and titles and everyone goes home happy. But the cheques need to be for the right amount of money, which is not so straightforward. Especially when the company handling the transaction for the bank is in Bangalore and doesn't return calls. Seems like a good example of outsourcing blame - if something goes wrong it's not the bank's fault, it's the fault of this other company.

Monday, December 14, 2009


We've just gotten notification of registration of the plan of subdivision, so things are starting to happen now. Our deadline is 29th December to settle, though it probably needs to be earlier given that's more or less christmas holidays.

Our solicitor advised that the people handling settlement for the bank have in the past forgotten to bring bank cheques to settlement, and that they would prefer that we send the money to them rather than via the bank, so that's what we're doing.

Now back to waiting again..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Settlement coming

We just got notified that the developer has lodged a Statement of Compliance with the Land Titles Office, which apparently means that the Plan of Subdivision (and then settlement) is coming very soon! Our solicitor says it's likely to happen in the week beginning 14th December.

Things will be a bit tricky as we still don't have final signed bank documents, and my dad (who needs to sign them) is leaving the country at the end of this week.. everything else is looking good though. I'm able to transfer money for settlement at a moment's notice, thanks to internet banking, and the account the money needs to be in is all set up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Riva displays

I just noticed that there are some new Riva display homes, including one just next to us in stage 11 of Renaissance Rise! That makes two in the Mernda area now and five in Victoria altogether, compared to two in total back in August. It's nice to know the design is popular enough to make so many displays.

We are still waiting on the bank to give us documents with POA stamps in the right spot .. and waiting on our land to be officially ready to build on. It's frustrating having nothing to do but wait :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

We have crossover and fill!

My parents went down to our block of land on cup day, and it looks like our block has been filled and the crossover is there!

The photograph above is taken from the back of our property. The crossover on the right (in front of the truck) looks like ours.

And this picture is looking over our crossover, with my dad on the left :) The houses across the road are in stage 11, ours is stage 12.

We also have photos of the rest of the property but there's not much to see apart from dirt. Dirt with a slight gradient from the back to the front of the property, as the fall plan specifies.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Nothing much to do now.. the contract with all variations has been sent off to ANZ for a final valuation and (hopefully) approval. And yet another copy of the FHOG application signature pages.

Then we wait .. we've been told that the land won't be ready until December now, so looks like it'll be a while before we see any action.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Building inspection

I just had a chat with someone I know who is a building inspector, who I am planning to have inspect my house when it's built next year.

What he recommended was:

  • If we have a raft slab, have an inspection after it's been setup but before it's poured. He said we might need to write this into the contract that we need to inspect before pouring. But this is not so important if it's a waffle pod, because those are easier to get right, whereas the majority (he may even have said all) of raft slabs have problems. He needs the builder to provide engineering plans for this.

  • The next important stage is frame - this needs to be inspected before it's covered up.

  • Lockup and Fixing stages are not so important, as most issues here can also be picked up during a final inspection. However he gives a discount for these inspections if Final is also done, for the same reason that most issues found will be the same ones.

  • For the final inspection he suggests I walk around with him and we inspect at the same time.

The other thing he mentioned is "workmanship", which he says is typically not included in a contract. He said it's much better if you can get the builder to include a workmanship clause in the contract, which I have not unfortunately. The problem with not having such a clause is that if the builder does a shoddy job that still passes the standards, they can say they have fulfilled the contract..

So what I have done is asked my builder what kind of slab we actually getting, as the contract specifies "raft/waffle pod slab".

If you're wondering what on earth a waffle pod is, check

Friday, October 2, 2009

Questions answered

We have finally gotten responses to the questions asked almost a month ago. Apparently the first email we asked them in went missing, so it was only 2 weeks later that things actually got started. Anyway, here they are:

  1. Splashback cannot be provided above the window due to the configuration of the Kitchen. You would have joins in the glass which will look untidy and attachment to the plaster wall above the window is not guaranteed as there is no architrave around the window for the glass to sit on.
  2. If we heightened the Kitchen window then the bottom of the rangehood would need to be raised also. We can heighten the window providing the overhead cupboards are continued across the front of the rangehood and we provide a Baumatic 700mm GE87000U undermount rangehood. Cost would be $310

Both questions are in relation to the kitchen window, which is same as in the picture in the previous post (taken from a display home). I'm not entirely convinced that these things are impossible, but I guess they are trying to protect themselves from having to maintain something which may be problematic.

In the end we have left the kitchen window at the original size of 514x2398, leaving a gap of around 140mm between the top of the window and the rangehood and cupboards. Since they can't install splashback there, we will need to find some other way to protect it.

The other thing we finalized was having a note added to the contract to specify that the kitchen bench will run behind the range and into the window reveal. Although they have told me that this is standard, I am suspicious that when it comes time to build, they will not do this and tell me it has never been standard! This is what the benchtop is supposed to look like:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And so it begins..

The story so far .. we have signed a contract and paid a 5% deposit for a block of land in Renaissance Rise in Mernda. The block is 470 sqm with a front 14.31 wide. Settlement is expected "late October", and that area of the development has not yet been built.
The house we have chosen to build is the Metricon Riva 33. The siting gives us a good 10m of backyard which is nice!

We made our colour, electrical and tile selections
in August 2009 and are still finalizing these. Among other things we have gone for a kitchen window, similar to what is in both of the Riva display homes. We also changed the rear door from a 2 panel sliding door to an aluminium bi-part door, which gives more space while open, but doesn't cost as much as bi-fold doors.

In the kitchen we have widened the pantry to use the void space next to the external wall, and widened the fridge space.
And we added an internal door to the garage, an odd ommission from the house plans, especially as both display homes include this door! I guess they want to keep the headline price down.

The promotion we took was called His Hers Ours, and includes the following for a total of $4,000:

  • Caesarstone benchtop in kitchen, 20mm cat 2 (we chose Glacier)
  • Glass splashback in ktichen, cat 1 (actually this is only 200mm high. What a joke)
  • Over fridge cupboard
  • Cat 3 cabinet handles to kitchen
  • Remote control to garage
  • 4 zone security system
  • Colour video intercom to entry
  • Locks to all openable windows
  • Flyscreens to all openable windows
  • Ovelle Spa bath (this had to go in the main bathroom, our ensuite is too small)
  • Caesarstone benchtop to ensuite, 20mm cat 2 (Night Sky)
  • WIR fitout to master bedroom - hanging rails, shelving, drawers, shoe shelves.
  • WIR fitout to other bedrooms - hanging rails, shelving, drawers.
  • 2100mm tiling to ensuite
  • Caroma Liano semi-recessed sinks (promotion gives choice of countertop, semi-recessed or fully recessed)
  • Cabinet to ensuite (with 2 mirrors one on either side)
Our situation now is waiting on our Metricon contact to answer a few questions.. then we will be sending all the variations off to the bank (ANZ) for approval, then paying the deposit to Metricon. Even though land is expected (hah!) to be ready at the end of October, our CSC told us that in all likelihood, construction will start next year, as they are focusing on finishing off existing homes before christmas.