Frequently Asked Questions

for Custom Homes

Your FAQs about the home building process with Highlife Homes.

Are there any upfront fees to get a home design?

We do ask for a small fee for a concept design This is just to cover the cost of our building designer.

For this we ask for a between $300 and $600 depending on the size and complexity of your proposed home design. Our meetings with you to discuss your ideas are free and your client liaison will be happy to chat with you any time over the phone or in person to bring your vision together.

Once we show you the concept design of your new home, you may have a couple of minor amendments. We give you 1 revision of your plan including up to 6 amendments to the design for no additional cost, so we will definitely be able to get your home just right for you!

Want us to make you a concept design? Get in contact! 1300 559 503

I have particular ideas for my home, who will I be working with for the building design and the interior design?

Fantastic! We love client that have a vision!

We have our own building designer to work hand in hand with you to design the layout of your beautiful new home. Our building designer will take on all of your ideas as well as your lifestyle requirements to ensure your home design is perfectly suited to you and your family.

Our interior designer who will be working closely with you to make all of your design choices, and will even help you with the building design itself. Our interior designer will be your main client liaison and will help you bring any ideas that you may have to life.

If you do have a collection of ideas, it is best to bring them all to your meeting with us so we can visualise with. Whether that be a scrapbook, a Pinterest board or a big list of things you love, our interior designer and our building designer can help you to bring them all into a cohesive visionary design that you will be over the moon with.

How and when do I make my selections?

Once we have made our relationship official  with a final contract, you are ready to make your selection. Choosing all the finishes that reflect your own personal style – this is the fun part!

Our Highlife Homes colour consultant is an experiences interior designer with plenty of experience and heaps of knowledge in the latest trends. She will go shopping with you for your selections and will be there to offer as much or as little input as you’d like. She will be there to help you combine colours and textures, introduce you to new trends and be a guiding light of inspiration to help you get that look of luxury that is uniquely yours.

Allow half to a full day for your selections appointment with our interior designer, there are a few location to go to and this is one of the most important milestones in the building process.

What's included in my home?

At Highlife Homes we are totally transparent when it comes to clarifying our inclusions and upgrades, right from the outset. Not all builder’s are so forthcoming but it is important to us that you know exactly what you’re getting for our price, so we know you will be incredibly happy from the outset right through to moving in.

Because our selections process allows you complete freedom to make your own choices at each of our supplier’s locations, you get to see, touch and feel exactly what you’re getting.

How do I compare you to other builders?

When shopping around, and we all do it, make sure you are comparing apples, with apples. Ask the right questions and back it up with your own research. How well you can interpret their quotes, equates to dollars spent on your build. You must do your own research beyond the display homes, be very clear about what you get in your contracted price. Be fully informed.

To make it easier for you we have put together a list of questions for you to ask when researching builders, add any questions that are important to you, then start your comparisons. The key to getting accurate pricing is to be specific and to identify everything you want upfront, before signing a contract.

For more information on this, give us a call and we’ll have a chat – 1300 559 503

How long does my proposal pricing remain valid?

The price indicated on your home tender is valid for 30 days. This should allow you enough time to do the rest of your diligence.

The reason for this time span is that the prices we have from trades and suppliers only last this long before they are subject to change.

When should I apply for my finance approval?

Most of our clients have finance pre-approval in place before they even come us, which is very organised! If you haven’t got finance pre-approval yet, then it is a good idea to arrange this  prior to making your selections. If you are unsure, we can guide you on this.

The reason for getting pre-approval before making selections is that once you have this, you will have a good idea of your budget on which to base the inclusions and selections for your home.

Once we have a final contract you can apply for final approval from your bank. You will need the contract as well as plans and possibly also specifications and selections to make up part of the paperwork for the bank to approve your loan. If they also need insurance details or council approval building plans we can arrange this.

Once you loan is approved and we have received your construction deposit, we can start building!

How long until we can be in our new home?

Part of the fun of building a new home is that you can customise your home to fit your lifestyle. These customisations can take more time to develop as plans need to be altered and estimating your final build price is far more involved. At Highlife Homes, we offer you one-on-one support to get you from concept design to final contract and the selections process as soon as possible.  This process takes most clients 1 to 2 months, depending on how well you know what you want and how decisive you can be.

Typically a new build on the Gold Coast will be in council for 2-4 weeks and with Tweed Council the process is longer taking approximately 6-8 weeks. At Highlife Homes we deal directly with council on your behalf. We rarely have hold ups because we understand their process and comply with all zoning and council regulations.

The weather and the complexity of your home design will affect the time of construction. For most single storey homes we ask you to allow 18 weeks and double storeys we usually allow 22 weeks but these time frames will be outlined in your contract with us, depending on the size and complexity of your home.

Are there any limitations to what I can choose for my home?

The great thing about a custom built home is that you get to decide on the layout to maximise the space for your needs. Perhaps you need extra bedrooms, want a home theatre or gym? Maybe you’re starting a business from home and need a quiet space to work or a budding musician that needs a sound proof room. Anything is possible when you get to design your own home!

Limitations? Only your imagination, the laws of physicals, building regulations and council regulations. We do not impose design limitations on our clients and we endeavour to help you achieve whatever your vision may be.

Can I make changes to my home after I sign the contact?

Not a problem! If you would like to make changes to your selections we are happy to do so.  After you selections day with our interior designer you will have 14 days to make any changes that you would like, without incurring any administration fees. This is plenty of time and clients rarely make changes after this time period.

If you do discover something you just can’t live without, after this time period has passed, not a problem, we can make the change with a small administration fee.

How long does it take to get council approval?

When you build with Highlife Homes, our office team will arrange all the necessary permits and council approvals before construction begins.

Highlife Homes have years of experience building quality homes on the Gold Coast and within the Tweed Shire. Our paperwork and plans always comply with zoning and council stipulations.


The average in Queensland is 2-4 weeks. Approval requirements can vary depending on the plans for the home, the estate it’s being built in, the local council and state. We will stay in touch with you throughout the process and keep you up to date as to the status of your approval.


In Tweed Council the council approval process is longer, taking approximately 6-8 weeks.

What is the payment schedule for construction?

Payments for your new home will be required at the following stages:

1. Deposit (5%)

2. Base Stage

3. Frame Stage

4. Enclosed Stage

5. Fixing Stage

6. Practical Completion

You will be given (via email) your invoice within 5 working days of each stage being completed.

Your practical completion invoice will be issued approximately 2 weeks prior to the scheduled handover date, allowing your bank sufficient time to arrange the valuation and financial documents, and us to arrange for your final inspections certificate. You will be able to move in as soon as the final payment is made the the final inspection certificate has been issued.

How do you ensure the quality of your construction work?

On top of the regulatory inspections required by an independent building certifier, our builder has a very close relationship with each and every home, inspecting elements at various stages of construction. We also have a foreman that oversees the quality of all trades’ work on a week to week basis. We take great pride in the quality of our homes and expect the same of our trades so we ensure that this standard is upheld at all time and in all areas of your home.

What is your construction guarantee after completing my home?

You are covered for any structural work for 6 years from when the work is completed.

For non-structural work, we provide a 12 month warranty from the date of practical completion. This is part of the contract conditions for new home construction. This is a maintenance period where we are happy to come back and rectify any unlikely problems you may have.

If you would like more information on this, you can click here.

When we hand over your home to you we also give you a large folder that contains all the paperwork related to your home. These include guidance and instructions for caring for and maintaining the elements of your home and will allow you to fully enjoy the benefits of this investment and enjoy the home for many years. It also contains:

  • Information about moving in, including setting up your electricity, solar, gas bottles and council bins
  • Home Warranty Insurance information
  • Certificate of Final Inspection (certificate of occupancy by independent building certifier)
  • Information about maintaining your termite protection
  • Contact details for relevant trades that you can contact if any issues should occur in that area
  • Warranties for all the inclusions in your home
  • Any other relevant documentation we think might benefit you to have



Structural – e.g. leaking roof, leaking shower, health and safety issues

Non-structural – e.g. sticking doors or windows, minor cracking of plasterboard.

Can I make my home more energy efficient, eco-friendly and self-sustainable?

There are many choices you can make these days that affect your electricity usage, environmental impact and self-sustainability.

We are happy to help you really maximise your energy efficiency and minimise your environmental impact. How do we do this? First we start with good design principles.

Our building designer always pays particular attention to orientation and sunlight to effectively lock in thermal comfort to lower your heating and cooling bills for the life of your home. This kind of passive design uses sun direction and the passage of cool breezes to appropriately position the orientation of your home on the block to minimise unwanted heat gain or loss.

Control of airflow into and through the house is important for comfort as well as for reducing your energy usage. During a Queensland summer this is especially important.

We can add additional insulation for additional comfort and energy efficiceny (although often this is allowed for in required certifications).

We can also advise you about design choices that may help, such as light coloured roofing materials and ventilated eaves also helps to minimise solar heat entering the house.

Other options are:

  • Use solar or gas hot water systems to save energy
  • Install hot water recirculation systems.
  • Install rainwater tanks and greywater systems for internal and external use.
  • Use highly energy efficient lighting
  • Sky lights

Can I make my home wheelchair friendly?

If you do need to modify one of our plans to make your home wheelchair friendly, then we will work with you to make the necessary variations. When addressing various ways your home can be modified to improve independence for people who are mobility-challenged, it is important to address two things.

Accessibility to the building such as the width of the external and internal doorways, ramps etc.

Adaptability is how flexible internals fixtures are in your home, for example, the kitchen sink, benchtops, light switches, bath and shower areas, even wardrobes, can be modified depending on the resident’s degree of disability.

Do you have a question that has not been answered here?
Send your query on our Contact Us page or call 1300 559 503.


Not all homes are built equally! Compare ‘apples with apples’ with our simple quote inclusions checklist so that you can ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

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