Bentley Homes

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Bentley Homes is a family business, locally owned by Nathan and Danielle Bentley and Ashley and Ebony Trengove. Nathan and I are brothers in-law and have known each other for nearly 20 years. We first came into contact after I started going out with his older sister, Ebony.

What is the history behind Bentley Homes?

Bentley Homes is a family business, locally owned by Nathan and Danielle Bentley and Ashley and Ebony Trengove. Nathan and I are brothers in-law and have known each other for nearly 20 years. We first came into contact after I started going out with his older sister, Ebony.

We have been building houses and units in the area over the last 10 years, but these were mainly for private use. We had often discussed that we should do something together, but for different reasons the timing was never quite right. Twelve months ago, however, a few things fell into place for us, so we decided to take the jump into the world of residential home building as a full- time job, and Bentley Homes was born.

Nathan and I bring experience from various backgrounds. Nathan as a qualified carpenter and licensed builder in his own right, with approximately 13 years’ hands on experience, has been involved in all aspects of the building industry, from repairs and maintenance to residential home building, commercial fitouts and unit development. While predominately working in the Coffs Harbour area, Nathan has worked as far afield as Armidale, Bundaberg, Cairns and London. Most recently, Nathan has returned from Yeppoon, where he was working for his brother’s construction company, which handles insurance repairs. Nathan was in charge of supervising in excess of 40 claims after TC Marcia devastated Rockhampton and Yeppoon; these were completed in approximately six months. By being involved with all these areas of the industry, Nathan’s developed a keen eye for detail and quality workmanship.

My background is in accounting and business management, although I’ve always had an interest in architecture and building. I worked at and managed Eastcoast Masonry (which has now become Austral Masonry) for a number of years; here we manufactured and sold concrete blocks, bricks, retaining walls, pavers and various other building products. This position provided me with the opportunity to deal with people from all walks of life, from mum and dad DIYers, to property developers and major builders to local tradesmen and architects/designers. These dealings further reinforced my understanding of the building industry from various perspectives.

The last two years have seen me managing another construction company for my brother in-law, which is primarily involved with insurance repairs after natural disasters such as cyclones and floods. In this line of work, understanding the building process and effective communication is paramount to schedule multiple trades on multiple jobs in order to complete repairs on time and budget to a high standard.

Together, we feel we make a good combination as we both have different strengths, but ultimately have the same goal or focus.

What services do Bentley Homes provide?

Bentley Homes can provide a range of services, from smaller jobs like decks, through to extensions, renovations and of course, new home construction. We have experience in not only urban residential, but also rural residential construction. Sloping sites are no problem for us either.

We aim to build modern, practical and well thought out homes with something just a little bit different in all of them. We can arrange design and drafting for you, or we’re equally happy to quote off plans that you may already have drawn up. In the end, we want to build your dream …

Tell us about some of the new, exciting projects you are working on now and in the future …

Well, firstly is our display home at 6 Watergum Close, North Sapphire Beach, which we opened prior to Christmas. As a new builder to the market, we thought it was important to be able to show prospective clients what they could expect in terms of style and finish when building with us. Although we have built a number of homes in the last 10 years, we couldn’t really get people to drop around to these various addresses for a sticky beak, so our display home is the answer.

This particular house is a four bedroom, two bathroom home, centered around a north-east facing courtyard and alfresco area. The home’s open plan kitchen, dining and living area is very generously proportioned and has a very relaxed feel, which reflects the coastal location that is North Sapphire Beach. With a large study area, plenty of storage and huge bedrooms, this home has plenty of space for everyone and would make a wonderful family home. It really is worth a look.

Secondly is another home that we’ve just completed opposite our display home. 3 Watergum Close, North Sapphire is once again a four bedroom, two bathroom residence, with a separate media room. This home has some additional features such as freestanding baths in main bathroom and ensuite, high quality Miele appliances and high end tapware. With the kitchen in the centre of the home with easy access to the oversized covered alfresco area, entertaining at this address will be a breeze. With a fully landscaped, private back yard coming straight off the deck and uninterrupted views to a creek reserve at the rear, gatherings large or small will be well accommodated. The internal areas of this home are equally as impressive, with large bedrooms away from the main open plan living area, as well as a separate office/study area and master bedroom zone at the front of the house coupled with extensive storage throughout; this house is thoughtfully laid out to guarantee living is easy.

We’ve had a great response from those that have been through our display home so far, and this has given us the opportunity to quote on building a number of people’s dreams. We’ll also be looking at building another one or two “speckies” in the coming year, details of which will be on our Facebook page and website as they become available.

What are the stand out features or the benefits of building with Bentley Homes?

As we are only a small company, we can provide true personalised service and a hands on approach. When you come to the display home or call Bentley Homes, you will be dealing with either Nathan or I. When we begin construction, actually prior to beginning construction, either Nathan or I, or both, will be onsite or a phone call away, to oversee and ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

We offer great flexibility in design in that our homes are tailored to your lifestyle, your block of land, your budget, your dream. We can help create your plans from scratch, or we’re equally happy to work with plans of your own and bring them to life.

Bentley Homes is committed to offering you quality construction at an affordable price. We don’t believe in taking shortcuts, we wouldn’t do it in our own homes, so there is now way we’d do it in yours.

What is the process when a new client walks through the door? (i.e. assessing land, budget, eco requirements etc.)

There is no one size fits all answer to this; everyone has varying degrees of experience and knowledge when it comes to building a house, so the process is different for everyone. Some people may be looking to build house three, four or five, so they’ve been through it before and more often than not will know exactly what they want and may have plans, engineering and specifications already prepared, so they really just need a quote. On the other hand, someone might be looking to build for the first time and may need more guidance, some might not even have a block of land and might be just testing the water.

If you’ve got a block of land, you’ve probably put some thought into how much you can spend on a new house. We use that information, also lifestyle factors such as family size, ages, interests/hobbies, etc. as well as finding out what features in a home you like or dislike or simply can’t live without, and with this we can start building a profile of the type of house that will suit your needs. It is important to have a contour survey (especially for sloping sites) and a geotechnical report completed in order to best design your new home. Other things like bushfire ratings, BASIX and covenants need to be considered, as they can have significant effects on the design and cost of your new home. We can arrange to sit down or meet on site with our draftsman/designer to go through this home profile and begin putting ideas on paper. Once the plans are finalised, we can then prepare the quote for your new home. By this stage we will probably already have a pretty good estimate of the price, so it will be more a matter of finalising particular details to give you the final fixed figure.

If our quote is successful and you would like to proceed, finance, contracts, insurance and building approvals are required. This can take some weeks depending on the financial institution and also the council. Final selections, material procurement and project scheduling can all take place while approvals are being sought, so once the construction certificate is granted, we can start as soon as possible. Then the fun part begins …

What are the top three things that people should consider when looking to build a new house?

When building a new home there are a multitude of things to consider; some of these things carry significantly more importance than others. I recall a few heated discussions during the construction of our first home, one concerning light switches and power points, the other to do with door handles. At the time these were “crucial” decisions about relatively mundane things and highlights that sometimes it is easy to overthink things. At the end of the day, building a new home should be an exciting and enjoyable experience – not a nightmare.

I think getting the right design/floorplan is of particular importance. Good house design is more than just picking a floorplan that fits on your block of land the best, or having rooms for the sake of having rooms. The size, layout and orientation of the house can dramatically affect not only the initial cost of the home, but also the ongoing costs of running the house. Good or bad design can also have a dramatic effect on the overall liveability and day to day function of the house and its inhabitants. That’s where the services of an experienced designer can be invaluable.

Another thing to keep in mind when comparing the various offerings of all builders is what is actually included in the quoted price. Some builders, for instance, don’t allow for a letterbox, not that that is a major thing in its own right, but the majority of people would simply expect that one would be included. Other common items this is true for are electrical and floor coverings. I’ve been told of many instances where people have been enticed by a cheap price, paid a deposit then been advised of the actual cost. A lot of people feel they can’t opt out and are obliged to continue with the process. The cheapest quote may not always cost you the least in the long run.

Where are the hot spots to build on the Coffs Coast?

I think majority of people would agree that we are fairly lucky to live anywhere on the Coffs Coast, and we are pretty spoilt for choice. Anywhere near the beach is always popular, so areas like Sapphire Beach, Moonee Beach and Woolgoolga are always favourites; the continual release of land in these areas are testament to that. In saying that though, there are a number of areas west of the highway that while they don’t have the proximity to the beach, they do have other equally appealing qualities, such as larger blocks and in some instances lower prices.

Since conception, what has been the most important thing to you as a local trade?

One thing we are proud of is being locally owned. My family moved to Coffs Harbour in 1980 when I was six months old, and for all but two years of my life I’ve been lucky to call Coffs home. Nathan’s family moved to the area in 1990 when he was four; he has spent a little bit of time overseas and in Queensland, but Coffs Harbour is definitely home for him too. As we are asking people to support us as locals, we are also conscious of the fact we need to do our part as well and support other locally owned, independent businesses. This is true of our suppliers and tradespeople. I think there’s a misconception that bigger means cheaper or better.

The other thing is being honest and upfront in what we do. Even though Coffs has grown substantially since our families moved here, it is still a small town at heart, and word of mouth is still crucial to the success or failure of any business.

Thanks guys.

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