6 issues that can blow your budget when building a home

Building a new home is an exciting time – especially when you’ve engaged a good builder and locked down the finance.

But if you’ve ever talked to a new homeowner, you may have heard them say something like, ‘Oh boy, we went so far over budget’. And it’s true that so many things can crop up to blow your budget when building a home. The key is being aware of them and planning ahead.

Here are just a few things to be aware before you get cracking on your build.

1. You don’t factor in all the costs from the start

The building costs are one thing, but what about all those other pesky details – like furniture? Blinds or curtains? Landscaping? Legal fees? Permits you may need?

It’s really important at the start to do your research, write down a list of everything you’ll need – and itemise the costs. Be realistic when planning your budget.

And while it’s overwhelming to do this, it’s better to be aware of all your costs from the start than to run out of money and be stuck with a half-finished home or a property you can’t afford to furnish.

2. The build may take longer than you’d hoped

Bad weather, materials arriving later than expected or something going wrong on the build can all blow your budget.

Why? Because delays can ramp up other costs, including alternate living expenses (if you’re living elsewhere and need to extend). Delays can also result in mounting interest on construction loans you may have in place.

Although some builds can go smoothly, experts suggest factoring in a 20 percent contingency in your budget, just in case you’re thrown a curve ball during the building process.

3. You may decide on changes mid-build

In builder’s speak, these are called ‘variations’ – and if they’re not factored into the initial scope of work, they can cause the budget to blow out.

It’s a tricky one, as sometimes a homeowner will have an idea once the home starts to take shape – or they might change their mind about something.

Of course, extending the driveway, moving a wall or adding another bathroom might not seem such a big deal – and a good builder will try to accommodate your wishes. But be aware that any changes once the build has already started can end up costing you quite a bit. Especially if plans need to be re-drawn, or additional materials and labour is required.

4. You may not understand the scope of works

If you’re new to the building process, it can be hard to figure out what’s included (and what’s not) in your project.

And although ideally you’ll have it all in writing, you may not read the fine print as closely as you should, especially if you’re keen to get started on the build – or have a tight timeline to adhere to.

Problems can arise when a homeowner thinks something important was included in the scope of works, when it wasn’t. So always read the contract and scope of works carefully. Be clear about what you need done from the start – and ask all the questions you need to. It’ll save you a lot of stress down the line.

5. Unexpected surprises arise on the building site

If you’re demolishing and rebuilding on an existing site, what you might find can easily blow the budget.

For example, a discovery of asbestos will require careful removal by professionals, which can be expensive.

Similarly, rock under the site is costly to excavate – and issues with soil, drainage or retaining walls can also have an impact on the budget before the build even starts.

Again, this is why it’s important to allow a little wiggle room in your budget, just in case of unforeseen issues.

6. You opt for top-of-the-range everything

There’s no doubt that planning out your home’s look’n’feel and choosing a colour palette and finishes can be fun.

However, when shopping for these things at a showroom like our Selection Centre, it can be easy to get a little too excited by the choice on offer and opt for too many high-end items that’ll completely blow your budget.

Chat to your builder or project coordinator – they’ll have great advice on where to save, and what to splurge on.

Got a question about your build, or issues to discuss about your building budget? Drop us a line or give us a call on 1300 373 261. We’ll come back to you ASAP.