When hiring a builder to create your dream home, you should know what you want and ask the right questions, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that you have taken all necessary precautions.

First, have a look at what any potential builder can do or has done.

Visit display homes, or ask to see examples of their projects to make sure they have a suitable style that can deliver on your concept.

Remember we are in the age of the online complaint, so checking some web reviews or the company’s social media pages (if they have them) will alert you to just how happy their prior clients have been.

They may also be willing to provide testimonies and contact details of happy clients, so if you are comfortable contacting a stranger, you might as well ask.

You can also conduct a licence check on the builder, usually available on government websites, to ensure they are qualified to carry out all necessary works.

Next, have a look at what is included in the package they are offering you.

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Building companies can differ on what they see as inclusions and add-ons to a project.

Some offer plenty of trimmings and extras such as appliances, or decorative features, while others might end up charging extra for things you might take for granted, like driveways, power points or fences.

Engage a project manager so you don’t have to personally chase up suppliers or labourers.

The project manager’s fee will pay for itself in saved anxiety, stress and your own personal time.

You don’t want to be ducking out of work to find out why carpets haven’t been delivered and the three guys you are paying by the hour to install it are waiting outside your house with nothing to do.

Project managers can keep everything running smoothly and make sure people are held to account.

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Run a fine tooth comb over the contract and make sure you understand all the terminology, plus are clear on terms and conditions.

If anything is vague, ambiguous, or just seems like it is written in a foreign language, ask the builder to explain it to you.

Then, be sure to engage a legal professional to read over everything before you sign on the dotted line.

Unforeseen events can delay a project, so make sure there is some overlap on your rental lease, or at least organise somewhere to stay as a back-up in case the property is not ready in time to move in.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and News.com.au. Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.

His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au

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