Steve and his wife purchased a property, and planned to do a knock down rebuild.
From the outset they knew that by investing in expert insider information like the Undercover Architect programs, they would avoid budget blowouts and costly building mistakes.
Listen as Steve shares about how confident he felt navigating the design and build of his project through having the support of Amelia Lee.
And how he was able to challenge decisions from his team of contractors and was able maintain control of his project.
My name is Steve, I’m based in Sydney. And we had purchased a property very much setting up for a knockdown rebuild. And yeah, we, we’d kind of started the process, then done a little bit of research, a little bit of due diligence of our own and were looking for a backup, an expert’s opinion to help guide us through some of the hassles and the hurdles that we knew that we were going to face.
What concerns did you have before you started?
So the main concern we had was we knew that it was going to be an expensive project. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t waste any money and that we didn’t have any regrets. That we didn’t go through the whole thing, spend years, a couple of years of planning. A year of building. Spend, you know, six, seven figures of dollars into, into building a house, get there, move in and realise that we’ve made mistakes. That we’ve, that we’ve stuffed up. That we’ve, you know, when we get in there and have regrets. That was the main thing that we wanted to avoid.
And, hence, getting an expert like Undercover Architect to help us out was going to give us that comfort level that we thought, we knew, we’d be confident that we would minimise our mistakes and our regrets
How did you first discover Undercover Architect?
I discovered Undercover Architect through a Home One forum, actually. I was chatting with a few people who were blogging their own home build journeys, and just trying to get some ideas, canvas some opinions.
And one of the users actually just recommended me to the Undercover Architect blog. I logged onto the blog, had a good read. Had to read a few of the articles. And yeah, just decided to, to give Amelia, give Undercover Architect a call. And yeah, went, went from there. Described my project and got some initial advice, and then went into some of the courses, some of the Undercover Architect courses to help us get to the end goal for us.
Did you explore any other options before joining Undercover Architect?
We did see some architects in person, here in Sydney. And I just felt like they were much more interested in the whole project. Much more interested in what they were willing to provide, than what we were actually looking for.
It really felt like, with Amelia with the Undercover Architect, we could pick and choose. We could say we just want a little bit of advice here, we just want a little bit of advice there, rather than we want you to run our whole project. And the value that Undercover Architect was able to offer, certainly was a big, big factor in us choosing Amelia and not going down one of the other architects that we saw.
Actually in real life we’ve, we’ve never met Amelia, we’ve done some video conferencing calls, but no, never met her in person.
What made you decide to join the Undercover Architect online courses?
So investing in a paid course was … it was a little bit of a tough decision. We had done a lot of research, a lot of online, viewing blogs, reading, reading articles, reading journal articles, magazines, YouTube, all sorts of different media. We searched for and found out, found out and did our research. We felt pretty well prepared.
But that expert opinion, that expert advice, it doesn’t come for free. It’s pretty cheap when it comes to Undercover Architect from what, from what you’re getting versus, as I say, what we would have thought, or what we felt like we might have been getting from an architect who was going to be offering a full service. Which we didn’t think we needed, and we didn’t want to pay that much money for.
But yeah, just getting the opinion of an expert. It’s always going to cost a little bit. It didn’t cost much with Undercover Architect.
What are you doing differently because of this Undercover Architect course?
The efforts and the research that we’ve put into our planning has increased exponentially from listening to Amelia and talking with her, speaking with her.
And even, even just the podcasts give you a real, good, base level understanding of what’s needed. What’s needed for preparation. What’s needed for planning. Where some of the pitfalls might be. And that was, that was one of our main, main concerns. So yeah … we really felt confident in, in her advice and her opinions, to proceed with that project.
How have you benefitted from doing Undercover Architect’s courses?
So working with Undercover Architect helped us in a number of facets. One was definitely the planning. We … time wasn’t a concern for us, which was a real benefit.
My wife and I both are working full time, so we didn’t really have a lot of time to devote to our project. But when we did, we knew that we were doing the right thing.
So the planning was one. We built a great project brief for our builder. Amelia did mention that it was, it was like the the gospel.
It was one of the best briefs she’d ever seen. And we wouldn’t have got anywhere near that without her advice and her guidance. That, that helped us with wasting time and not having iterations with the builder, with a designer, that we were just scratching their heads wondering what they, what they thought we wanted. We were able to communicate to them what we wanted. And we, yeah.
So I think that the planning with Amelia we had the confidence and she was able to describe and explain why things would work well, and why things wouldn’t work well.
Things like a void. We increased the size of our void because she told us that you don’t want a void that’s too small, because it’s going to be feeling like a tunnel, straight up, you know, chimney. Just a simple example like that. And there were many which I couldn’t name but yeah. The planning, the confidence and making the right decisions.
Did the Undercover Architect course save you drama + stress?
So it’s funny that you say the word drama, because there, there actually, yes, we don’t want any drama in terms of working with the builder or working with any of the, any of the contractors that we’ve got.
But one of the things that Amelia has communicated to us is, when you’re in your house, you actually do want to create some drama. You want to walk through a kind of narrower space and then be exposed to a, you know, for us it’s walking through the hallway into our kitchen, living and dining room, which is all combined.
And that drama of opening the double doors and finding your way into this huge room, well lit with beautiful features. That’s something that we’re looking forward to.
The, the … A lot of the planning with the builder. A lot of the communication with the builder. A lot of the, as I said before, the way that Amelia was able to describe why things work well, why, why things are going to, going to work or why they’re not going to work, has helped us with our communication with our builder.
We’ve, we’ve relied on our builder for a lot of, a lot of advice as well. And we’ve been armed with the confidence to, to stop them or to disagree with them on particular things and I couldn’t really think of anything right now.
But, but there’s been a handful of times where we’ve asked for the builder’s opinion, and compared to Amelia’s opinion, and we’ve, we’ve gone with Amelia’s views, because she’s been able to describe why it works. And often when we’ve, when we’ve talked to the builder…
Our builder’s said you’re much more well informed than the usual clients that we have in building houses. So that’s, that’s a real confidence booster and validating for us as well. For the research, the planning, and the communication and the advice that we’ve received from Undercover Architect.
And, and the other way as well. Because, you know, Amelia has told us that we’ve done a lot of preparation. A lot of research that other (non-UA) clients don’t do.
So it does really make you feel well, and said, gives you the confidence to move forward. And your, your concern levels about stuffing up about having regrets, they just, they don’t inhibit your decision making as you as you proceed.
What do you enjoy most about the Undercover Architect courses?
Probably the best thing that, that we’ve, that we’ve received from Undercover Architect with all our communications with the courses, with the podcasts, with the blogs, has been, just Amelia giving us the confidence to, to proceed, to move forward, to make these big decisions there.
She always says it’s the, it’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever purchase in your life. And it really is. And we are going ahead with this and all our years of savings, and in the years that we’re going to have to pay, pay this house off, knowing that we are making the right decision for our family.
That in five years, ten years, fifteen years time, the house is still going to work for us. It’s going to be our home. It’s going to be our forever home. That’s what everybody kind of looks for. But you do see, when you scan the internet for blogs and people’s stories about building their houses, I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine why, and we’ve only just started our construction.
I can’t imagine why anybody would want to go through it twice. It’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of time. And there’s a lot of uncomfortable decisions and big decisions to be made. But you do see a lot of people who build and then three years later, they build again and then three years later they build again.
And I can only think it’s because they get to that first build, they finish, they move in and they look around and they start making a list of things that they’re going to improve next time. There’s regrets. There’s mistakes. There’s things that they go, well, okay, our kids are three years old now, what about when they’re ten years old? Their house isn’t going to work anymore.
And that’s one of the things that Amelia really harps on is, you know, the forever home. A home that works for you now and, and three years down the track, ten years down the track, twenty years, thirty years.
How are you going to plan for all that? So giving us the confidence that what we’ve, what we’ve decided will work for us in the future.
And, and that we’re not, we’re not wasting any money and we don’t want to be doing this again in three years time. If there are some people out there, some home builders, sorry, some families who want to build five or six homes in their life, good on them, but that’s not for me. I want to build once and I want to get it right.
What would you say to others thinking of joining this Undercover Architect course?
For the value that you get out of these courses, even if you hear things and you’re, you’re listening and you’re, or you’re talking to Amelia, you’re seeing things she produces and go well, ‘I knew that already, I knew that already’. For us, it’s the confidence of saying, “I might have known that already, but did I know that that was the right thing? Did I know that that was correct?”
We go through here, we’re not experts. I work in finance, my wife works in finance. We don’t work in the building industry, we don’t know many people who work in the building industry. So you really need that expert view, that expert opinion to give you the confidence to move forward and proceed. Make these decisions and know that you’re, that you are doing it right.
When it comes to getting other experts opinion, sometimes, you know, the, when you, when you, when you ask for somebody’s opinion, and they don’t necessarily have your best interest at heart, because you might be asking the builder and they might be making the decision that is going to work best for them. And it doesn’t necessarily work best for you.
Having the ammunition to fight back and say ‘no, I don’t want that decision and I want, I want you to go down this path’, was really important for us. And I think it’s really important for everybody.
And if you do want to build a house every three to five years, then you probably don’t want to listen to Amelia.
But if you want to build your forever home, and if you want to get it right, and if you want to move into that home. I mean, we haven’t even got there yet, so, but I’m really confident that when we finish our home, when we move in, when the construction is complete, we’re going to walk into that house and look around and look at each individual decision. That little bay window that we, that we were thinking about, and Amelia said that would be perfect for that area.
The kitchen servery that we weren’t confident on, on including and Amelia said no, that would be fantastic for that area. Here’s how you’re going to live in that space. We didn’t include a balcony. We were tossing up because every house has a balcony.
And we kind of thought, ‘oh, we’re not really sure, should we have a balcony?’ We don’t think we’re going to use it. And Amelia said, if you don’t think you’re going to use it, don’t put it in, don’t waste the time, don’t waste the money, don’t waste the space, you’re better off using that space elsewhere.
So if you’re just a little bit unsure, it’s a really cheap, good value way of getting expert’s advice without having to engage an architect on a full project basis, and the ongoing … the expensive and the ongoing costs that continue there.
Amelia was able to, through, you know, 15 minutes of discussions and communication she was able to get exactly, she was able to understand what we wanted and able to guide us down the right path. It was very efficient and we think fantastic value for money.