We've been looking to purchase a house around Balmain, Sydney for over 2 years to no avail. Despite continuing to bump up the budget (from $2M to $3M) we just can't seem to find something that ticks all the boxes and is within reach. We've found a single fronted cottage on a relatively "big" (280 sqm) lot and love the location. As two complete novices to the world of construction, I was hoping to get any and all advice on lessons you've learned, watch-outs for newbies etc. Should we pull the trigger, we'd continue to rent our current place while the plans and building were done. It's a two-bedroom cottage that we'd want to extend and go up to make a four-bedroom home. If the budget could stretch, we'd rebuild the garage and add a room on top. So my questions are 1) How long does the architect plans take from start to "finish" 2) At what point do you bring in a builder 3) How long should we factor for all council approvals? 4) What's a realistic build timeframe for something like this. 5) Pushing it but any thoughts on the budget for a mid-high end build?. Thank you to anyone that made it through this post!