It’s one of the most common questions we get asked: how much does it cost to build a house? It’s no secret building a new house can be extremely costly, but with a few cost-cutting measures, you could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars. In this article, we’re looking at how to save costs when building a home and sharing some of our top money-saving tricks.
What factors influence the cost of a new home?
You won’t get far building your dream house without building materials. What you may not realise is that building material expense makes up a whopping 40-45% of your total building cost. Therefore, the materials you choose will have a huge influence on the final cost of your new house.
The key to saving money with building materials is you need to consider both initial costs and long-term costs. You want to avoid purchasing something cheap that’s only going to need constant maintenance and repairs as it’ll end up costing you more in the long run.
Money-saving tricks for building materials
- Your builder will run through the details with you. Take this opportunity to see if there are materials you can save on.
- Consider recycled materials
- Shop around when you purchase building materials. The first option is not necessarily the best.
- See if your builder has any connections with contractors and suppliers. Professional builders can often get discounts that will reduce your overall cost.
- Readily available, local materials can save you a bundle compared to anything you need to export.
- Purchase building materials that suit your area’s climate and environment. This will increase your home’s durability and possibly other factors such as heating and cooling costs.
The cost of a builder
Your choice of builder is the make-or-break choice that will determine how well your building journey will go. Labour costs make up around 35-40% of the total construction costs, so it’s important to make sure you’re spending this money wisely. With so many builders out there, it may seem overwhelming trying to narrow them down.
Money-saving tricks for decreasing builder costs
- Use a local builder. This will cut down on travel costs and will come with local knowledge.
- Only use a custom builder if your design calls for it. Choose stock house plans to help save money when building.
- Different builders have their own specialties, so find one who matches what you envision for your project. For example, if you’re looking to build an acreage home, you can immediately rule out any builder who doesn’t offer this service.
- Research your builder and how they’ve approached previous projects.
- Hire a building broker, like Buildi, who will pitch your project to a trusted builder and get the best deal for you.
Soil and contour tests
Soil testing is one of the simplest yet most important site preparation steps you can take. This one step provides a range of essential information about your land’s soil quality with will assist with the design of your home.
Contour tests provide information regarding the layout of your property, particularly the slopes and level of your terrain.
Money-saving tricks for soil & contour tests
- Hire someone local to cut costs spent on travel.
- Talk to several companies and get quotes you can compare.
- Perform an independent soil test on any block of land you’re considering buying before you buy. This could save you from spending a fortune on a dud.
Site tests are a vital part of any building project, so don’t skip them to save a few dollars. Site tests help your builder get a complete picture of your site and can potentially flag any potential issues. Poor soil conditions will make your build more complex and therefore more expensive. We always recommend performing a soil test on a block of land before you buy, to avoid purchasing a lemon.
Money-saving tricks for site tests
- Compare numerous contractors and get a few quotes to compare.
- See if one company performs numerous services.
- Work out which site tests you actually need.
Flooring is one of the more expensive parts of building a home, due to the scope of the project. Whether it’s timber flooring or tiles for your bathroom layout, there are a few tricks that will save you money.
Money-saving tricks for flooring
- Consider both short-term and long-term costs when choosing the best flooring option for you.
- Try hitting local carpet warehouses for sales
- Shop at overstock or discounted floor retailers.
- Comparison shop by checking prices at a few suppliers.
A driveway is an essential part of any feature and yet it is rarely included in the initial quoted price of a home design, making it one of those unforeseen building costs that can sneak up on you.
Money-saving tricks for driveways
- Have a thorough understanding of what you want before you start.
- Embrace a simple design
- Use local materials and buy in bulk if possible.
- Don’t value cheaper materials or shortcuts over long-term stability. It’s better to spend a little extra on a durable driveway than cut building costs to end up with a driveway that needs constant repairs.
Landscaping is a part of the construction process that is rarely covered in the initial quote. You’ll need to account for not only your lawn but any trees, other plants and features you’re considering. You may have to find your own general contractor or your builder may have some recommendations.
Money-saving tricks for landscaping
- Keep it simple. If money is tight, go for a less is more approach. You may be surprised how choosing the right plants
- Use native plants. Not only are they easier to get, they have evolved to thrive in your area, meaning they’ll need less upkeep to survive. Also purchasing plants at the right time of year can save you a bundle.
- Consider using long-lasting materials like stone. It creates a nice balance between durable and stylish.
- Hire a landscaper or landscaping team. While this will cost you more money initially, professionals are less likely to make costly mistakes.
- When it comes to maintenance, consider mowing your own lawn and trimming the hedges. Only hire someone else if you can’t perform the job yourself.
Interior design and DIY
One way many homeowners try to save money is through performing some tasks themselves. This could include painting, minor renovations or putting together furniture. Remember, there are some jobs, like electrical work, that only licensed professionals can perform.
Money saving tricks
- If you’re handy you may be able to DIY some elements of your home once the main building job is complete. Be sure you have at least a basic understanding of what you’re doing as some jobs may be more difficult than you think.
- Incorporate used or repurposed items in your design.
- For appliances, purchasing discounted floor models and researching for sales saves money.
Get free advice from an experienced building broker on how you can save money on your new home build
Sometimes, there isn’t an existing design that quite matches what you want in a floor plan. Making changes can be expensive, depending on what you’re looking to alter and the terms of your contract. One of the biggest factors is when in the process you make a design modification as it is a lot easier to alter something on paper than once it is built.
Money-saving tricks for design modifications
- If you need to make changes, make them as early as possible to reduce costs. The later in the builder process you make a change, the more expensive it will be to bring to fruition.
- Consider whether you need a professional architect or whether a building designer could perform this task for you.
- Some builders aren’t flexible with changes or charge big for any modifications to an existing floorplan
- You may have a few solutions up your sleeve, so weigh them up and see
- If you have a specific design in mind, consider a custom build over an existing design.
Construction loan fees
Few people will be able to build a home from their savings alone and therefore will need to borrow money. Construction loan fees are specifically designed to give out payments in instalments. For example, you’ll get a certain amount to cover the slab stage, then another amount to cover the frame stage, etc. Construction loans are a large enough topic to warrant their own article. Luckily, we’ve already written one which you can read here.
Money-saving tricks for construction loan fees
- Make sure you payments on time to avoid late fees
- Talk to a financial advisor to get advice on budgeting
- Be sure you borrow an amount you can realistically pay back over time.
Hire a Buildi to guide you through your building journey and help save you money!
At Buildi, we’re all about giving power back to our clients. Building a new home is an intimidating and overwhelming process and it’s easy to feel lost when entering the construction world. Buildi can help guide you every step of the way. We can take your project and present it to our panel of builders. We’ll then return with the three best builders for your project for you to choose from. From there, we’ll help you choose contractors, organise approvals, ensure agreements are made and so much more. We’ve helped our clients save thousands of dollars, reduce stress and avoid costly mistakes!