Belinda is building a new forever family home, known as the Glenview Farmhouse.
Listen as Belinda shares more about her new home journey, how she found her growing confidence changed her experience, and the help she’s been able to access through her membership in Undercover Architect’s online courses.
Belinda is a member of the HOME Method.
My name is Belinda. I am a mom of four children. I’m an emergency nurse. My husband is an emergency doctor. And we’re building our forever home on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, in a little hinterland town, called Glenview. So it’s just on the other side of the highway from the beaches.
So, it’s a little bit rural, but I’m still close to everything. And, you know, I guess the project has been called Glenview Farmhouse. And so yeah, we’re building a home for four children, so it’s a, you know, big kind of property. It’s four acres. We’ve got lots of room to move, and we’ve got a beautiful, big dam, you know, that takes up about one acre of property.
So we’ve got some amazing views to look out on. And, yeah, it’s a really exciting time for us. And, yeah, we have a massive big tree, established gum trees that are beautiful, and loads of birdlife, and all that sort of stuff. So yeah, we can’t wait to be in.
What were you concerned about before starting your new build journey?
I think we were very aware that we didn’t know anything, really. My brother’s in construction, and my sister-in-law, or, my ex-sister-in-law is an Architect. But we felt very much like we were sitting ducks, and that we, you know
, there will be a lot of people out there looking to take advantage of us.
My husband’s a doctor, but he works mostly in the public system. So it’s not like he’s got, you know, huge, private practice or anything like that. So, you know, we still, we felt concerned I guess, that people would look at us, see us coming and just see dollar signs on our foreheads, and be like, you know, what can we get out of this for ourselves.
And that we were quite vulnerable because we didn’t know very much about building. And we wouldn’t know what we didn’t know.
So I think at the start, I just felt really anxious about the whole process. And even though we had gone to my ex-sister in law, so my brother separated quite amicably from his wife of 10 years, and five years have passed, and she was an architect. So we went to her because we trusted her.
But even still, it was just like that, how to pick a builder. And all of that stuff was really daunting, I guess. And I was finding that really stressful. I just really wanted to find a way to not feel so stressed about the whole process. Yeah. And that’s what led us to Amelia.
When we were trying to work out how much of a budget we needed, and you know, we would talk to people and you say, well, how much could we expect to spend? And people would talk about where you should set your expectations atthis a certain amount per square metre? And I’ll be like, but what does that buy me? Like, what am I getting for spending, you know, this much per square metre? What? Like, that doesn’t make sense. I can’t really see what it is I’m getting.
You guys are talking about expecting this and then, you know, I’d speak to other people and they would go, that’s so much money, you’re being led right up the wrong garden path, and that’s insane and people don’t spend that kind of money.
And so it was, you know, it was difficult, you know. and I really do trust my Architect, but you know, we were worried that she was wanting to build us something amazing. But perhaps we couldn’t afford it, and that didn’t maybe give us enough space.
You know that she wanted to go so high end with the products that she thought we would love because she loved us. And she was like, oh, you love this stuff! But we were like, we’ve got to actually still have enough space for four kids and, and how do we know? What does all of this mean? And how do we sort of marry up the desire to have because this is our forever home?
And she was like, this is your forever home. You want it to be beautiful and gorgeous. And we’re like, yeah, but we need to still have enough space to be able to send the children away and not have to have them right up in our faces all the time. That’s like the joy of a rumpus room.
So yeah, because we’re getting so many conflicting opinions, I think as well, from a lot, about a lot of people. You know, it meant that we were just like, what? Who? Everybody that we talked to loved us and cared about us and meant well, but it was all different opinions. So we were just very much like, oh, you know, now what?
Yeah. And if everybody’s telling us what they think is right, then which one is actually right? And what do we need? So, what are our needs? And what are our expectations? And what is appropriate to expect? And you know, what’s fanciful, you know?
So I think that’s where having a bit of a guide to be able to go, right! These are people who are in the industry who have not associated, they’re not gaining from us. They’re not even emotionally invested in us, I guess. So they’re just giving us expectations that we can have that will help us to make good decisions, I guess, for want of a better word.
How did you first discover Undercover Architect?
I think it was on a building Facebook group. So, you know, I guess a part of my research, I started to like, join online forums and sort of want to talk to other people who are in the same position and learn as much as I could, and educate myself as much as I could. And I think it’s possible that actually, my Architect herself mentioned Amelia.
So at some point in the process, I think, I started listening to a few of her podcasts. And then decided at some point that, you know, I’d invest the money.
We were spending so much money on so many things. It felt like, as if it was worth the investment to educate myself, apart from anything else, just so that, you know, I could. Because one of the things that I found came out of investing in it and learning, was it just drastically reduced my anxiety. It stopped. I felt like, as if I had a bit of control back and enough knowledge to make some good decisions.
So yeah, that was a massive part of feeling good about what happened. Yeah. And the choices that we made, just I felt confident.
Did you consider joining any other course out there?
I hadn’t come across any other build courses. And I didn’t, you know, I guess, our Architect was educating us along the way and certain things. And I was certainly doing my own research, but no, I didn’t. I hadn’t seen anything else like what Amelia has been doing. And to have it all wrapped up in one place was really handy.
What were the benefits of joining a course vs free resources or your own contacts?
One of the things I was really aware of being a professional is that, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. And unless you know to ask a certain question, you won’t get the answers to that question. But if you don’t even know that, you don’t know it.
And that’s the beauty of something like an online course. Like, Amelia is somebody says, here are a bunch of things you need to know about, and I’m going to teach you about them.
And so things that have never occurred to you to ask questions about, you start to think about, and you start to get educated around, and then you can ask more questions. And it leads to its own next set of questions.
But if you don’t even know where to start with the first question to ask, then you’re quite vulnerable, I felt really vulnerable. I felt really like, as if I just was a sitting duck waiting for somebody unscrupulous.
And I think we’ve had a lot of scandals in Queensland in recent years with insolvent builders, and you know, people doing the wrong thing. So yeah, I just, I felt really concerned. I just didn’t want to pick a bad builder. And we wanted to know enough about picking a builder to make the right choice.
What are you doing differently because of this Undercover Architect course?
I guess it was just that general knowledge. So we would ask educated questions to our builder, and then that would lead to follow on things that maybe got changed or didn’t get changed, rather than it being you know, big. Well, actually, yeah, we did. I think one of the big things that we did, because of the build, was probably just making lots of our choices beforehand. And so we had minimal variations and our Architect encouraged us to do that too.
What have you learned from the Undercover Architect courses?
I told our builder right at the start, you know, I’m doing this course so that I can be educated. So, you know, we want to know, we want to understand, and you know, I think that helped him to just talk to us at a deeper level about things that were happening. And we, you know, we told our Architect, and they were like, yeah, that’s great, go ahead, do it. It’ll be great. It’ll make you feel more confident about your decisions. And that’s something that everybody was really encouraging us to do.
So, yeah, it’s been good. In fact, my builder this evening, I don’t know, he texted me and he was like, ‘hey Bel, what was that course that you said you were doing?’ And I was like, ‘why? It’s the Undercover Architect’s course, Manage your Build (which is inside HOME Method).’ He’s like, ‘Oh, it just came up and I thought of you.’
So, yeah. Yeah, we’ve ended up with a really good relationship with our builder. And I think partially, maybe in many ways that’s because we trusted him. And I think the trust in many ways actually came because we felt confident in our choices. Because I wasn’t second guessing him on a lot of things, because I knew that what he was doing was right, and we had enough knowledge to be able to go, oh, yep, he’s on. He’s checking that stuff. We were told to check that stuff. But I can see he’s already done this and done that.
And, you know, it made me more relaxed, which makes you then easier to work with and less, you know, they don’t want to be micromanaged, I don’t think, too much. And while there’s a certain element of, you want to make sure everything is done right. That I think if you’re standing over their shoulder can really drive them nuts. I think it helped us strike a good balance. Yeah.
Did the Undercover Architect course save you drama and stress?
Even just having the resource of Manage your Build (inside HOME Method), when there’s been questions that I’ve had, or things that were like, oh, is this an issue or not? You know, having the resource of other people and Amelia to go back to and talk to you.That’s made it a lot easier to cope with, you know.
It is stressful, even when you’ve got a good relationship with the builder, and you’ve got rapport and goodwill, which I think goes a long way, having the goodwill between you. So, and being able to keep that goodwill, because you’ve got somebody there coaching you through, just have the conversation like this, just discuss it with them, you know, like this, that’s really handy.
It’s like just having a coach there to coach you through what is, you know, can be a, you know, a difficult time. That has been really reassuring. And I think that, for me, was great.
I’m not, you know, I’m an emergency nurse. So I’m good at dealing with car crash situations. And I’m really good at dealing with conflict. But I don’t, still don’t like having conflict in those working relationships, I’m more dealing with conflict with drunken people. And small children.
And it left me kind of, I didn’t want to have conflict with our builder. And I really wanted to keep that relationship really good. And so having Amelia there, in the, in the background, holding my hand at times, has been really helpful. Yeah, she’s full of great advice.
Did you have a favourite part of the Undercover Architect course?
It just gave me so much more confidence in doing what we were doing. Yeah, I stopped you know, any, it’s funny because I was talking to a new next-door neighbour, they haven’t built yet. And she said to me, she spoke about how she felt. And I was like, that’s exactly how I felt.
She said, I just feel like I’m walking around with this sign on my forehead just to say, come and take advantage of me. And as soon as I started doing the course, I just felt that sensation go. I was like, I’m not a sucker anymore. I’ve got, I’m educated now. I may not know everything but I know I have resources at my fingertips, and I know how to make sure that we’re not being taken advantage of.
And I said to her, you should do the course. That’s really been helpful in letting me know what to look for in a good builder.
That sense of confidence meant that sometimes I didn’t actually do every single part of the course, don’t tell Amelia. But, the confidence to pick a really good builder helped us to be able to just go step by step back, and know that we have somebody that we can trust.
And you know, we’ve gone back and certainly double-checked lots of other things and learnt lots of things. You know, we sort of between the fixing and completion stage at the moment. So I’ve just gone back and reread and listened to the extracts, and the videos that she’s done on that. And then it’s kind of like, like reminding me of a few things. And I’m like, okay, I’ll go back and check. Make sure I have those conversations and managing my own expectations. Which has been really handy.
Just, you know, I think you can get disappointed if you set yourself up thinking that it’s gonna look like this and it actually doesn’t. And you have to make allowances for the time. Yeah. So that’s been really handy. That’s what, yeah, it’s confidence, honestly. And when you’re feeling confident, I think you’re just so much more relaxed. And I think everything then flows on from that. Yeah.
And you don’t have to necessarily use everything because it’s not going to apply to every single build. But she’s got heaps of information, then, depending on what you’re doing. And there’s, yeah, I’ll certainly be going back with the checklists for the practical completion stage where we’re getting there and doing. Looking at those defects and thinking about what’s acceptable, what’s not. And yeah, getting ready for the next phase, which will be moving in.
What would you say to others thinking of joining this Undercover Architect course?
I would say not managing your build well can cost you a lot of money. It really can. All those variations are really expensive. So if you can minimise that, I think just consider it an investment in you know, like a necessary investment in your, your overall build. Just knowing what you’re doing.
I think a lot of people say that it’s handy to have built two or three homes before you build your final one. But if you’re on your final one for your first one, then you know, learning all of that stuff through a course like this, is really going to save you making costly mistakes, and things that you can’t change later on.
So it’s worth it. Absolutely worth it to have that education.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the course?
I just think that Amelia is gorgeous. She’s just so lovely. She’s just approachable, and a really beautiful mix of, of easy to talk to, but no-nonsense, and you know, really practical. And you know, a woman who is soft, but wears her big girl pants. She’s strong and she, you know, encourages you, you know, to be firm. And I think that’s really fantastic.
She’s, you know, she’s nobody’s fool. But she’s a gentle woman as well. And that’s really lovely. Really approachable. Really easy to talk to and really encouraging too. And she gets excited for you. Whenever she sees my update, she’s like, oh, I’m so excited. She’s really nice. It’s really lovely. She’s so easy to work with.
Depending on how you like to learn, there’s multiple forms of doing it. So, you know, for me, a busy mum, just being able to put my EarPods in and listen to a little bit here and there on the way to work, or, or reading it late at night. Either is completely available.
And so it’s very easy to navigate through, it’s not difficult at all. It’s all really set up quite nicely. Yeah, it’s great.