Meet Jayson Gill, sales manager at Unity Homes
Building family homes since 1994, Unity Homes is enhancing the Waterlea streetscape with two new land and house packages which are nearing completion – both ready for Easter 2019 move-ins. Waterlea Living had the pleasure to chat with Jayson Gills, Unity Homes sales manager to learn more about the business of houses and his vision for Waterlea going forward.
WL: Jayson, thank you for your time to meet with us. Please explain why Unity Homes decided to build at Waterlea.
JG: Waterlea is one of the first major developments south of Brisbane, and its developer is a trailblazer for the corridor. With a vision toward the future, Waterlea is establishing a reputation as a modern-day country town invigorated by its residents and families who are now calling Waterlea their home.
It is paramount that Unity Homes aligns with prospering developments such as Waterlea where there is a clear vision to create a community with a solid infrastructure, dedicated parks and recreation precincts; and events and activities for our residents. These are a few of the reasons that we selected Waterlea to invest our resources.
WL: What are the advantages that Waterlea offers to buyers?
JG: The key advantages for Waterlea buyers and residents is that it’s walking distance to the Walloon township’s, the established businesses; and the train station which services Brisbane and the Gold Coast for Waterlea commuters. Second the proximity to the RAAF military base is key. Equally important, the Waterlea lots are value-priced and large enough to accommodate a family home with lawns, garages, and outdoor living spaces.
WL: Tell us about Unity Homes as a business and its houses under construction at Waterlea.
JG: Unity Homes is a joint enterprise between two entities, Unity Homes for contemporary homes and Colonial Homes for Queenslander homes. Our team is determined to provide customers with a positive experience before, during and after the construction process.
We have two houses under construction, both scheduled for April 2019 completions. Each house is a comfortably-sized family home with separate living areas inclusive of a media room and open plan living area, lots of storage, a walk-in pantry and alfresco living. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car garage houses are priced at $415,500 with a 12-metre street frontage and $419,000 with a 16-metre street frontage respectively.
WL: Each house is four-bedrooms, two-bathrooms with a two-car garage: please explain how you determined the configuration and the demand for this configuration.
JG: We invest in market research and listen to our buyers then build houses accordingly. Our decision to build two houses at Waterlea is that educated buyers prefer to physically walk through the house and see the finished product rather than looking at online floor plans and sales brochures. At Unity we say, ‘a walkthrough is worth a thousand pictures.’
There is significant demand for both new and resale houses with four-bedrooms and two distinct living areas – typically, one area for the kids and one for the adults. Our buyers aspire to kitchens with a walk-in pantry and a kitchen island; plenty of storage, and a two-car garage. With larger homes, a walk-in butler’s pantry is a popular feature.
WL: Why did you decide to build single level houses instead of multi-levels?
JG: Dollar for dollar, building a single level house is cost efficient. The construction costs of a two-level house increase expediential with scaffolding and an internal staircase.
On a daily basis for residents, going up and downs the stairs is a hassle. It seems when you are looking for something downstairs it is likely upstairs and vice-versa. Our research shows that young families and downsizers prefer the convenience of having the living areas and bedrooms situated on a single level. Given the generous lot sizes and street frontages at Waterlea, we are able to achieve excellent outcomes in building single houses.
WL: Bathtubs seem to be out of fashion with buyers preferring showers; however, I noticed both houses have bathtubs. Please explain.
JG: With growing families, a bathtub is a necessity for a family with young children. Further, a bathtub is a beneficial feature when it comes to resale. In our houses under construction, each has a bathtub in the family bathroom, and the master bedroom ensuite has a shower.
WL: What is a popular colour palette?
JG: For both interior and exterior finishes, earth tones using natural stone, neutral, mid-tone timbers are gaining popularity. Over the last few years, we have seen a transition from dark tone to mid-tones complemented by crisp white interior walls.
WL: At Waterlea, the exterior finished are a selection of materials using contrasting textures and finishes – such as stone, timbers and painted finishes. Is this a community requirement?
JG: As a master-planned community, Waterlea has architectural guidelines that make way for an aesthetically appealing streetscape and a unified aesthetic. Each house exterior combinates materials and textures including render, brick and timber making an interesting facade. The guidelines provide flexibility in the selection of the colour and material palettes, so each house is unique yet compatible with the other homes.
WL: Tell us about the process to work with a custom builder such as Unity Homes.
JG: Unity Homes has standard plans available – house and land packages which are created to suit specific lifestyles, block sizes and budgets. We will happily personalise our standard plans – modify the layout, move walls, work with boundary setbacks, as examples. We are flexible and work with buyers to create a home that works for them.
WL: How does Unity Homes handle change orders after construction has commenced?
JG: We thoroughly review the construction documents with our customers and provide a set of building plans, specifications and a finish schedule. Each component is customer approved prior to building works start. By taking time in the beginning, it streamlines the construction process and creates a win-win situation for one and all.
WL: I understand that Unity Homes assists its customers to secure finance. Please elaborate.
JG: At Unity Homes, we collaborate with the developers and assist our customers through the maze of financial paperwork and council applications. We introduce our customers to specialists who simplify the buying process and guide them to lenders with the local knowledge and those that lend in the region.
WL: As a name-brand developer, what is one of the value propositions that sets Unity Homes apart from its competition?
JG: An important customer benefit that Unity Homes offers its customers is a fixed price package. As the package agreement is signed by the customer and us, the prices are fixed – electrical, plumbing, painting, landscaping, and so forth. Unless the customer makes changes, the purchase price is set which eludes unpleasant surprises as the house is ready for handover.
WL: What if a customer says, ‘I want to be in by Christmas’. When do they need to commit to achieve a pre-Christmas move-in to their new home?
JG: If a customer has purchased a registered block at Waterlea, their financial approvals are in place, and the house design is finalised by early May, their new home can be completed for a Christmas 2019 move-in.