Building a home can be a cost effective way of getting in to your own place. With realistic expectations and a careful approach to managing your budget, getting a brand new place exactly as you’d like it could be within reach.

Here are some tips from Rob Stewart, CEO of the Master Builders Association (MBA) South Australia.
 
1. Set a budget
Establish what you can afford to spend and make sure you can meet your mortgage repayments when they start. Remember to include funds for additional expenses such as council rates, insurances, taxes and even landscaping.

Aim to stick to a budget by keeping costs within your pre-approved loan amount. It’s also a good idea to set aside a little extra to cover any other unplanned expenses that may arise.
 
2. Write a checklist
Write a list of features you think your home really ‘must have’ to function effectively. Then write another list of things that aren’t necessarily essential, but are features you’d like your new home to have.

Then all you have to do is look at your budget to see what you’ll be able to afford to include or not.
 
3. Obtain a complete set of drawings and a full inspection
If you can organise a set of drawings and an inspection of the site, builders will be able to provide you with a more accurate quote. 

To get these, you can engage the services of a draughtsperson or architect. Alternatively, many builders also provide these services for you, so speak with any of the builders you may be considering to see if they can assist you with this.
 
4. Get three builders to provide a quote
Once you’ve decided on the style and look you’re after, obtain quotes from three different builders.  Remember price is not everything and the lowest quote may even end up costing you more in the long run. It’s definitely worth paying a little extra to get the right builder and the right advice.
 
A good builder will not only offer you the benefit of their experience in relation to the entire building process, but also in relation to material selection and the functionality of your new home. 
 
Compare the quotes carefully.
  • check the allowance for provisional sums and prime cost items such as stoves, baths and electrical goods. 
  • Check the quote includes full details like make, model and colour, because these items can be subject to alteration and can vary significantly from quote to quote.
  • never accept the quote until you’ve checked out the builder.
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