Budgeting and building your new home: what to expect

If home building reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that your build will go over budget and over schedule. So when it comes to building a house yourself, one of the very first questions most people ask is how much does it cost build a house? Although this is almost like asking how long a piece of string is, there are some general figures that will help you estimate what you’re in for!

In Australian dollars you’ll generally be looking at $1000-3000 per square metre to build a 3 or 4 bedroom brick home. Expect this figure to jump up if you have site access issues, need planning permits in addition to building permits, or need to demolish existing structures. Also if your site needs altering, such as being levelled or removing trees or boulders to pour your slab, this costs more. On top of this, of course, is your taste in furnishings. Designer tiles, carpets, fixtures, built-in appliances, joinery and bespoke design elements like luxury walk-thru robes will also increase the budget. For this reason, if you want a high-end finish on a budget, consider opting for a smaller, but clever floorplan so there is less surface area. This could include some of the designer pre-fab houses that are available now in Australia. Although the cost per square metre can be pricey, a ‘build’ can be turned around in 12 weeks. For some, this equates to saving money in terms of time (and sanity).pexels-photo-534220Other cost saving tips can be to engage a fixed-price builder through a company that offers house and land packages. This option is appealing to people building their first homes not only from a price point of view. A lot of the logistics is pre-decided such as the coordination of trades and a guaranteed timeline is often offering in these build contacts. Also, you have flexibility in the of choice of home designs and fittings. And these days, they are increasingly customisable (for a price) so you can tweak plans to suit your needs. Note: changing your mind as you go can be costly, so avoid this is money is tight.

In addition to the cost above, many building quotes are exclusive of landscaping, internal flooring and even the driveway. These things are pretty essential, so budget between $30-150 per square metre for flooring, depending on your selection, and up to 10% of your home’s cost on landscaping. Even if you opt for mainly grass with some DIY plants, you’ll want to add about $15-20 per square metre for turf, installation and some additional greenery. If you don’t mind waiting for your garden to grow, save some cash by avoiding mature plants and growing from seeds/seedlings or hitting up your neighbours for some cuttings that you can propagate.

Finally, don’t forget to consult an estimator who can realistically put a cost to your project. This will mean that before you build you can reign in the design if the budget needs to be trimmed.