Getting to know… boutique builder Urban Edge homes [Feature #03, 2015]

‘Living in Tarneit presents…’ A review of & interview with Urban Edge Homes

urban-edge-logo-2015It was my dad who got me to walk into the Urban Edge display home. We had been on the market for a builder for months. After securing a plot at a great price, and were were excited! The hunt for the right one to make our first home dream come true was proving to be tough. This had to be a home where shoddy workmanship was simply not acceptable. I could not bear the thought of having return the favour of my parents raising me with a house that would not stand the test of time.

That said, It seemed difficult to aquaint the winning trifecta of style, value and affordability and believe me, we tried. I had even put down a deposit to one of the big box builders but found along the way that their attentiveness to customer needs was simply not up to scratch. They were almost dismissive, entirely not cognisant that for first-time home buyer like us, our funds were limited, precious and really had to go a long way. Costs kept escalating and hidden costs kept popping up.

Urban Edge is a boutique volume builder that maintains build quality by restricting site starts to 15 a month.
Urban Edge is a boutique volume builder that maintains build quality by restricting site starts to 15 a month.

A few months into our search, my dad flew over from overseas to help with the decision-making. it was on his prompting that I took the giant leap. I was hesitant. From the outside, the classy and distinctive Urban Edge vibe did not feel it would resonate well with my wallet. I told him, “Dad, do I look like I can afford something like that for a first home?” His response, “Heck, let’s just go in and learn some of their design ideas.” So, in we went. I recall distinctly the name of the display home – the Rouge 34. Doing an A-B comparison with what other builders were offering, it was then I knew that Urban Edge could be the answer.

I did my due diligence and went online to read reviews about them. To be honest, they do not have the best track record in the online review space and that put me off a little. However, mediated communication via the security of a screen only paints one side of the story. I must say my first-hand experience with them turned out to be the polar opposite from the vast majority of the not-so-positive online reviews.

With their Edge offer, we managed to build a house with far better value per square metre than any of the other big box builders. We also benefited from their flexibility in modifying floor plans. To date, neighbours that walk past the home are constantly praising the look and quality of the house.

 From upstream in terms of the sales experience to the actual build and handover, the experience has been largely positive. A complicated project such as building a house would always mean that not everything is going to go smoothly all the time. It is the nett experience that matters.

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1. On your website, one of Urban Edge’s calling cards is that you love being different. That can a difficult statement to quantify and qualify, any builder would say the same. How is Urban Edge different?

As a boutique volume builder, we take great pride on offering homes that are unique and exclusive. Part of our DNA is to offer architectural homes at an affordable price. Unlike others in the industry, we engage external architects to design our homes, which is why they look so distinctive. By doing this, we are ensuring that our homes not only keep up with the latest trends. We also ensure that we are one step ahead of everyone else.

2. How many homes do you build in a year? Why restrict yourselves to this number?

We build approximately 150 homes a year. We restrict ourselves to that number to ensure that every home has the same level of attention when it comes to design and workmanship. For Urbanedge, it’s not about volume but instead quality. For us is not about building x number of homes, but instead building a relationship with our clients.

3. For the price point, you must be operating on razor-thin margins based on the quality of your build and designs?

We have been around for over ten years, so we certainly have the experience to run a business efficiently and cost-effectively. Due to our expertise, we are able to maximise the savings that we pass onto our clients as well as ensuring that we stay in business for a long time, with construction techniques and methodologies that make our margins sustainable in the long term.

4. Why is the attractive Edge offer limited to a certain number of homes a year?

We run sales very sporadically but even when we do we are very conscious that ultimately our goal is to build quality over quantity. That’s why we restrict the number of homes on sale, which is in line with our 15 site starts per month.

5. Tell us a little about Urban Edge’s history? What prompted the creation of this company?

Over 10 years ago, our director Steve Maher realised that there was something missing in the market – a real alternative to mainstream housing. This is how Urbanedge Homes came about – to offer the discerning homebuyer looking for an iconic street appeal and unique architecture. As a builder we are proud to offer a premium service without the premium price tag.

6. Tell us something about the tradespeople that you use. What sets your tradespeople from other builders?

We retain the best tradesman in the business because we restrict the number of homes we build per year. Like us, these are not tradesmen chasing quantity. They love what they do and with that in mind, for them it’s also about quality. The tradies we work with take great pride in their work so for them is not about volume, but instead craftsmanship.

7. Urban Edge seems to put a high value social conscience, both with individuals and with organisations. Besides supporting the Father Bob foundation, are there other projects in the pipeline?

Helping the community plays a big part in the Urbanedge culture. Doing what we do every day, which is building dream homes for families, we are also very much aware that there are people out there that are not as fortunate. This is why Father Bob has a very special place in our hearts. He has a very hands on approach working with the homeless through his soup vans and his Outreach Community Centre. We are running our biennial event for Father Bob this year, with the UrbanDura Charity bike ride. About 10 riders, including our director will be tackling some hills, riding from Omeo to Melbourne April 9-11th. Again, the goal is to raise awareness and funds for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation.

Last year, we also joined forces with Whitelion, a not-for-profit organization helping at risk young people in Australia. We organised a charity walk for all the staff who through their own fundraising efforts managed to raise over $42,000 for Whitelion.

8. How big a market is Tarneit for Urban Edge? Are you paying any special attention to this Melbourne’s new outer west?

Being based in Sunshine West, means that the outer west is practically our back yard. With that in mind, Tarneit and all the surrounding suburbs are extremely important. This is why, we have our flagship centre located in Williams Landing, where we have displayed our three very popular designs.

9. Where does Urban Edge see itself in ten years time?

We see ourselves as the number one builder in customer service, offering our clients an experience unlike anything else in the market.

We see ourselves having a focused growth, keeping always in mind that Urbanedge is not volume but quality.

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To find out more about Urban Edge homes, please visit their official site here. They are also contactable via phone at 1800 MY EDGE.

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NOTE: to those who are seeking a sub-dividable plot (STCA) so that they can be owner-occupiers and landowners at the same time; but found such plots sorely lacking in Tarneit, the double-storeyed Edge Reverse plans offer a unique way to get around this. By having the bulk of the bedrooms downstairs and the master upstairs, it allows the home owner to keep living as landlord upstairs while offering rooms to tenants in a separate zone downstairs. For instance check out the 34 square Lojun here (fits in a 12.5m wide plot). With a bit of creativity by installing another kitchen downstairs, you instantly have a mini-apartment block with you living in the ‘penthouse’.


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