If you’re in the market for a new home (and if you’re first home buyer, it’s an absolute no brainer to be building new right now) you’ve probably seen the word ‘turnkey’ plastered absolutely everywhere.
It’s on realestate.com.au, billboards and Facebook ads.
But what turnkey is really defined as is very different to what a lot of other builders define as turnkey.
The use of the word turnkey is becoming over the top and has next to no meaning anymore.
So before we get into what we like to call ‘turnkey trickery’, let’s first break down what it’s meant to mean..
1. What is Turnkey meant to mean?
When a builder advertises a turnkey home, they mean the price they are advertising includes absolute everything that you and your family need to turn the key and move in once the home is complete.
To us here at Urbane Homes, that means being fully landscaped, blinds, flooring, dishwasher, air conditioning… you get the idea. Absolutely everything you need.
Unfortunately, a home can be technically ‘ready to move into’ without a lot of those things – but that doesn’t mean it’s turnkey or that you should settle for less.
2. Why is a Turnkey home so important?
If you’re a first home buyer you’re probably going to have a pretty strict budget.
Purchasing a turnkey home can help avoid budget blowouts because absolutely everything your family needs is included in the price. This means that you can actually move into a completed home without having to run around to fill in all the missing gaps.
Imagine moving into a home that didn’t have any flooring – just the concrete slab. No thanks.
Before you know it, all these extras will add up and you’ll be over budget!
3. Turnkey Trickery: What do other builders do with the word Turnkey?
As we said before, the word turnkey has been used and abused by builders over the past few years.
It has lost a lot of its true meaning and trust in the word.
A home can be sold to you missing a lot of the items that almost everyone would call essential and more importantly can leave you out of pocket.
This is what many builders do – they advertise stripped down “turnkey” homes.
This allows them to advertise a cheaper price at the start, lure you in, and then once you’re in their sales machine they increase the price along the way.
4. How to spot Turnkey Trickery in the wild
Okay, so now we know that if we want to stick to a budget when building a home, we need to keep an eye out for turnkey trickery – but how do we actually do that?
If you don’t have much experience in the building industry it can be difficult to understand what’s actually included, and it’s even more difficult to compare what’s included across different packages from different builders.
One easy tip is to keep an eye out for the word ‘allowance’.
When a builder is using the word allowance, it means that only a certain amount of money has been allocated to that item.
If you go over the allowance, you pay more.
More often than not, the amount included in the allowance is not enough to actually cover that cost.
5. Common gaps in homes as advertised as “Turnkey”
Some of the common missing items from ‘turnkey’ homes that you need to look out for:
» No landscaping or ‘allowances’
» No blinds or window coverings or ‘allowances’
» No appliances or dishwasher
» No site costs or ‘allowances’
» No flooring or ‘allowances’
» No air-conditioning
» No clothesline
» No letterbox
Now this isn’t a complete list, but you get the idea.
We’re not sure about you, but we wouldn’t consider a house move in ready if it didn’t have a backyard for the kids to play in, letterbox to collect mail, or carpet in the bedrooms!
6. How to get a real turnkey price
When you’re looking at a package from a builder and you’re worried that it’s not as turnkey as they’re claiming it is, unfortunately there isn’t a simple way to check.
Your best option is to be direct and upfront with the sales person, and outline that you’ve got a strict budget and you need to be certain that absolutely everything is included.
If they do include allowances, make sure they’re realistic. Get your own quotes for comparison and make sure their pricing is in the right ballpark.
Example: a $1,500 landscaping allowance is clearly not enough to landscape the front and rear of your yards.
Some builders simply won’t offer certain things like landscaping or letterboxes and may require you to organise them yourself.
If you’re in the market for a house and land package, understanding what is or isn’t included is essential – especially if you’re on a budget.
We hope you are now armed with a bit of knowledge to take into your journey that will save you on stressful cost blowouts!