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Interview with Jho Mendoza

Jho Mendoza from “Before You Build” will help you understand why it’s important to investigate your builder before you sign the contract. Jho not only investigate the builder’s licence & history but can do contract and inclusion reviews and a whole lot more. She can help you with all the things you need to think about before proceeding building your new home.



Total Time 19 minutes 37 seconds.


For your convenience, we’ve placed the transcription of this interview below

Sharlene Cohen: Hello and welcome to Surety Property’s conversation series.

Today I have Jho Mendoza from Before You Build.

My name is Sharlene Cohen, I’m the general manager of Surety Property.

As I said this is Jho Mendoza from Before You Build. Jho is a refreshing, young entrepreneur, who has set up her own business.

Basically her reason for the business is to help people of all ages, reduce their risk thought the building process. So before they sign contracts and then during the construction phase.

So through Jho’s own personal experiences, I’d like to get her to share with us today a few things about why she set the business up and the things that she can actually help people reduce their risk when building.

Unfortunately Jho had her own personal situations when she was building. Some stress and some financial loss that she wants to try and ensure that people in the future don’t go through the same problems, so hello Jho and welcome to Surety Property’s Conversation Series.

So we’ll get started and we’ll just kind of have a little bit of a chat and hopefully you can help some of our viewers understand about your services.

Jho Mendoza: Definitely.

Sharlene Cohen: So Jho, can you share with use, what’s your driving reason for setting up Before You Build?

Jho Mendoza: Okay so, as you said before I build my house in 2013 and everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

I think it was because no one actually held my hand throughout the process. We entered the building journey blind, and hoped we’ll just learn as we go. In the building industry, the building journey, you learn as you go if everything goes wrong, it’s massive consequences.

Sharlene Cohen: Compounds too, yeah.

Jho Mendoza: So my builder got liquidated in 2013 and it was very heat-breaking. Our house was half finished we lost a lot of money. We had to get extra money from the mortgage brokers.

When I look back, I step back and go why a builder could do this to me?

So there must be some trigger that a builder do something like this to the home buyers. I did a step back, I did my research for 12 months, I go what are the things I could have prevented for this builder to not do this to me or other people and that’s when I started doing the Before You Build. I put the risk management principles to help clients to save stress and money.

I think that putting some preventative measures before you sign the contract, it stops that builder from basically taking advantage of the home owners. It is about building information, getting the right information from the experts before you sign the contract.

You don’t want to enter the building journey blind like we did.

Sharlene Cohen: So your services are unique, and you’ve got a great name.

Before You Build, it basically says it all.

But of course, it is unique. There’s no industry for this, so can you explain to our viewers today what exactly do you do?

Jho Mendoza: There’s the different stages of the building, I focus on before you sign the contract. I look at your builders, I look at the builder background checks, whether your builders for example whether they get sued often. Whether they’ve got debts they haven’t paid for a certain period of time it kind of tells them whether they’ve got cash flow problems, etc…

I think that specific intelligence can give you some indication, it might help you to not gamble my $600,000 for this builder that’s getting sued for example.

Sharlene Cohen: It is a bit of a gamble isn’t it?

Jho Mendoza: Yeah it is and getting it right from the start before you invest emotionally for this house, at least you know whether you’re going to move forward with your builder.

The second one is we look at your contract for example inclusion list, there’s a lot of developers that give you the lowest cost, you know, the cheapest house around there. You realize the house doesn’t have much in it. It’s got the cheapest cabinetry, the cheapest kitchen or the floor. So we look through inclusion list every single room though. The bricks, the roof, and give you some options, like this is what you have in your inclusion list, what are the possible upgrades that you could have. Because including all of that in your contract will save you a lot of money later on because if you change your contract after you sign it, it would cost you a lot of money.

Sharlene Cohen: Yes.

Jho Mendoza: I know one of one builder, they charge about $500 per change, plus the difference of value. Changes in the house is very easy by the way. You could have 10 changes within your kitchen for example. So that’s like $5000 just for the admin fee. You are far better off to spend that admin fee on improving your homes inclusion rather than just forking out to the builder in an admin fee.

Sharlene Cohen: So it’s a little bit of the builder’s cream a little bit too, isn’t it? That’s where they’re making a little bit of their extra money on hoping that there is variations to the build.

Jho Mendoza: Yeah.

Sharlene Cohen: So you really want to try and understand, what am I getting, make all those decisions up front. So your contract is as you want it and the build is as you want it all upfront.

Jho Mendoza: Yep.

Sharlene Cohen: And therefore you’re not making changes throughout it.

Jho Mendoza: Exactly.

Sharlene Cohen: That’s where your advice helps.

Jho Mendoza: Sometimes when you change your contract for example, my retaining wall cost me $20,000, sometimes when you spend …. depending on your banking situation, sometimes you cant put it on top of your mortgage, where do you get the $20,000, maybe comes out of your savings, some people open a personal loan. So you want to include as much as you can in your contract before you sign it otherwise you’re gonna be left with, or you’ll have to put up with something that you don’t really like.

While we’re going through your contract, we work with your solicitors making sure that the clauses that in this protecting your interests. Note that the contract’s coming from the builder so most of the clauses may be just protecting them more than you so we want to balance that out and give you some tips on making sure that the house is not going to be defective and you’ll find the defects along the way so it gets fixed before you move in.

Sharlene Cohen: Okay so out of all of those, you’re offering lots of pillars of services. If people are on a budget and they want to use your services, out of all the different four, like reviewing the contract, looking at the builder and the defects throughout the construction phase and potential builder liquidation if it came to that, what do you think is the most important thing, one or two of those that you think they should do without question. If they cannot the engage you for the four things what should they do?

Jho Mendoza: I would say the builder background check because you could save so much money. Before, I got this client that within one background check we found that there was two companies trying to wind up the builder.

That one will save you a significant amount of money. As well as the inclusion lists, going through the inclusion lists because sometimes you think that a tap is a tap but it’s actually …. there’s a thousand different types of them.

Getting everything that you want in your contract will save you a lot of money later on.

Sharlene Cohen: Well if you do those two things up front:

Check the builder, the chance of liquidation down the track is much less. You can never protect everything but it comes back to knowledge. You’ve been able to make informed decisions about how you progress forward. Then you can go:

“this is not right for me, I need to reassess and find somebody else. There’s too many risk factors involved in this process”

Jho Mendoza: I also help my clients even if the builder becomes liquidated despite of what we do I want the house to be in such a good shape that any builder can take over that house with no hesitation because what happen is if that house is in such a bad state, no builder will touch it because once the house is finished, it’s their name on the table, not the old builder.

So I’ve be coaching the home owners that despite of what’s going to happen or if it happened, your house will be in good shape and you’re not going to lose as much money as you would have had if you didn’t have that advice.

Sharlene Cohen: SO it seems to be something that everybody should do but we just don’t think about it.

Jho Mendoza: No.

Sharlene Cohen: Because it is unique and it is new but of course, it just makes good sense.

Jho Mendoza: Yeah it is. I just really hope that buyers will actually see it. I really don’t want them to go through what i went through, it was the most stressful time of my life. I cannot believe someone – a good person, an educated person – had to go through that. I don’t want that to happen to anyone, that’s why I established Before You Build.

Sharlene Cohen: So it might be perceived that your services cross over a little bit with solicitors.

Jho Mendoza: Yep.

Sharlene Cohen: So you really complement solicitors but could you explain to the viewers what you offer that’s different to the solicitors but how you complement and how you can work with them.

Jho Mendoza: The solicitors look at the contract whether its legal or not, making sure that all the clauses are within the legal precinct.

But they don’t look at the type of roof, for example, that you’re going to have, what type of kitchen should you going to have. That’s why I compliment the solicitors, we want to make sure that everything that you want is in the contract, that it’s written in the right way, that it’s foolproof, that it’s written by the solicitors. However the solicitors won’t tell you, say, whether you can extend your warranty, etc… We just make sure that the clauses are foolproof and are written properly and provides a better outcome for the client.

Does that make sense?

Sharlene Cohen: Yeah so basically, it’s black and white for solicitors. Is it right or is it wrong but your basically looking at the bigger picture, what could we do to make this a little bit better.

Jho Mendoza: Yes.

Sharlene Cohen: Because most of the contracts are, HIA, the Housing Industry Association or Master Builders Association Standard contract, unfortunately the are a little bit in the favor of the builder so you can just look at tweaking things from your own personal experiences rather than just that black and white factor.

You can build in what you think needs to be improved and a solicitor writes it so it gets written correctly and the client’s protected.

Jho Mendoza: Yes.

Ill give you some example. I met this lady, she got a commercial shop, she does yoga and her contract with the person leasing the shop is legal, there’s nothing illegal about it and she thought she was okay we got a lawyer to look at it and it’s all good.

…. however so then she moved into the shop, tried to change something like she wanted the sign shown the way she wanted, she couldn’t do it because the contract restricted her from doing what she wanted to do.

However if she had a consultant before hand, she could have said:

“This is what I want for the shop, this the wall I want to knock down. This is the carpet I want to lay”

Those specific details could have been included in the contract which the solicitors could have written properly so that the lessor wouldn’t have any choice but accept it so that’s how we can work with your solicitors.

Sharlene Cohen: It’s a bit more of the personal side of it, it’s the nice stuff. It’s nice but important stuff that you can build into the contract that’s not necessarily going to be there.

Jho Mendoza: Yeah.

Sharlene Cohen: That’s great.

So who is your ideal client and what is the type of client that typically comes to you, it might be a demographic or they risk reverse or it could be anybody so just explain to be about your ideal client.

Jho Mendoza: My ideal clients are people that have never built a house before because as we mention I don’t want them to enter the building journey blind so people like first home buyers for example, people that’ve never build before or people that built in the past that they want to get it right

Sharlene Cohen: This time around, yeah.

Jho Mendoza: So if you got experience, you’re anxious and you want to get it right, I think these people they’re actually really good because you can collaborate with them and learn from the experience as well.

Sharlene Cohen: So just before we wrap up, so how do our viewers get in contact with you? Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered? And what kind of service area do you cover, as well?

Jho Mendoza: SO I provide free consultation with my clients, I give them free 30 minutes consultation to explain to them how I can help them and understand their actual needs.

I also give money back guarantee ….

Sharlene Cohen: Wow.

Jho Mendoza: …. So if you don’t see the value of my business or my services I’ll give you money back because this business is about helping clients, not about making money out of them. It is basically I don’t want them to go through what I went through and this is a public service.

I service Canberra as well as interstate. So people interstate we can communicate via email and skype. But if you are in Canberra we can actually sit down face to face and go through the selections with them or any question that they have.

But predominantly Canberra and Southern New South Wales.

Sharlene Cohen: Okay very good, cool.

Is there anything else that you just wanted to add that we haven’t covered about your services . Any other examples that you might want to add or real life stories that you think benefited people?

Jho Mendoza: So the thing that I’ve covered is on builder liquidation so if you are experiencing builder liquidation I’ve been there.


Sharlene Cohen: Unfortunately there.

Jho Mendoza: Unfortunately been there. I know other home owners that went through the builder liquidation with us, spent a lot of money on solicitors going through, getting the home warranty, insurance, paperwork together. If you are going through that you can come to me so I’ll show you the process of how you get your money through insurance and I’ll give you some steps through.

It’s the hardest time of building and you want someone that’s experienced that before that can hold your hand throughout the process instead of …. you still need the solicitors but ….

Sharlene Cohen: Of course.

Jho Mendoza: …. going through the solicitors is going to cost a lot of money so, if you don’t have any more money you don’t want to spend too much, also if you come to me I will help you through that process.

Sharlene Cohen: Yeah for sure, so just to give the viewers a bit of an idea of how much your services might cost, they seem extremely reasonable from our prior discussions. I think its important for you to just put that in a bit of perspective for people, so just give it …. even if it’s a price range type of thing, type of understanding.

Jho Mendoza: So the builder background check form the top of my head is about $300. So that’s really low. We could find out your builder is dodgy and you save what $500,000 there.

The contract review is about $1200 and then the documentation, the documents like Actpla and home warranty documentation, quality insurance is an extra $300.

Sharlene Cohen: Okay, right.

Jho Mendoza: You don’t have to buy all of them.

Sharlene Cohen: Course.

Jho Mendoza: We can just buy whatever suits you, also if you buy the whole package you get a discount.

Sharlene Cohen: Yeah sure, fantastic. To me that’s a very fair and reasonable price to have that intellectual knowledge up front before you’ve actually committed to something on the dotted line.

$300. *laughs*

Oh even if it’s $500 isn’t a lot of money.

Jho Mendoza: Yeah, and its a money back guarantee.

Sharlene Cohen: Nothing to lose.

Jho Mendoza: Nothing to lose.

Sharlene Cohen: Nothing to lose.

So basically that brings us to the end of our conversation today, so thank-you Jho for sharing your valuable experiences. I think that Jho is obviously a very approached person because she’s had her own personal experiences that makes her very passionate and her intentions are only good.

She only wants to help make people’s lives better and I think she’s very ethical, has great values and I would encourage anybody to at least take advantage of the 30 minute consultation.

Jho Mendoza: Yes definitely.

Sharlene Cohen: Have a chat, it’s all about connections, I think that’s important and I mean, we’re not always going to connect with everybody but take advantage of the 30 minutes because she’s offering it for free.

Jho Mendoza: Yes.

Sharlene Cohen: You will find her very approachable anyway so.

Now how do we get in contact with you?

Jho Mendoza: I’ve got a website called www.BeforeYouBuild.net.au, that’s .net

Sharlene Cohen: *laughs*

That an important one.

Jho Mendoza: So its .net.au

You can send us an email on [email protected]

You can also give us a call at 0402-771-220.

Sharlene Cohen: Do you want to say that again?

Jho Mendoza: 0402-771-220.

Sharlene Cohen: Excellent cool.

Thank-you for listening today, thank-you for having Jho along. Obviously if Surety Property can be of any assistance to you further you can get us on 1300-767-741 or our website www.SuretyProperty.com.au

So once again thank-you for listening today, thank-you Jho and bye for now!

Jho Mendoza: Bye!

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