7 Things You Must Know Before Designing a New Home

Not only is the prospect of custom-designing your own family home a huge attraction to thousands of people, but it could also be cheaper than buying. That is, as long as you avoid some of the unexpected costs of building – some of which may surprise you. There are heaps of potential hidden costs just waiting to jump out at you and destroy your building budget. Here are five common ones:

1. Soil test and contour survey

Before any builder or building company will give you a fixed quote for a build, they will probably need to do soil and contour tests. If you have rocky soil or any issues with your soil that makes it difficult to build, then you will incur extra costs. And if you’re attempting to build on a slope, expect to pay even more. Retaining is expensive!

2. Site costs

This could well be the biggest cost you will incur, and unfortunately it has the largest variability as it will be based on your soil and contour tests. As well as elevated building costs for a sloping block, there is also the costs of connecting and maintaining services, to consider, including:

  • water
  • electricity
  • gas
  • telephone
  • sewerage
  • fire control

3. Flooring

That’s right – don’t forget you want to walk around on something at least remotely pleasant and not all building quotes will include flooring in your house. Unless you’re happy living on a concrete slab, consider things like carpet, vinyl,  floorboards and tiles.

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4. Driveway

Many building quotes will only include the dwelling you’re going to live in, so assuming you want a driveway, you’re going to have to pay for it. Depending on the type of driveway, this could be fairly cheap or it could be extremely expensive. To save money you could look at not getting a driveway done immediately and look for cheap ways to do the driveway yourself until you have enough money to get a concrete driveway built. Or you could sell your car.

5. Modifications

If you’ve decided on a design and signed off on a building contract, be aware that any variations to the plan can cost you big time. A change of heart in the middle of a construction project can run up a variety of additional expenses including:

  • legal costs (to change the contract)
  • penalty clauses
  • extra material costs
  • extra labour costs
  • engineering, drafting or approvals

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