Building a house for the first time? There’s already a wealth of information on the internet that can take you from getting your pre-approval to final inspections. What we’ve put together in this article are the things that people tend to forget in the mess of advice around house building; ideas and opportunities that can sometimes slip through the cracks.
Everybody has a different budget
Be honest and kind to yourself about yours. Creating, maintaining and sticking to a budget is a famously difficult task for most people. In fact, regular people are actually not very well-designed for large-scale financial decision making – we fall victim to certain biases, perceptive distortions and poor intuitive risk assessment. The best way to sober yourself of these is to commit to being honest and pragmatic about your financial reality, use liberal estimates with room for your budget to account for surprises and consult with a financial expert you trust.
The truth is, everyone ends up spending more than they budgeted to when the house has been built, often way more. There will always be things you forgot to account for or unexpected expenses along the way.
Know your rights and entitlements
There is a lot of money in the residential building sector, and sadly that means not everybody you work with is operating against the same incentives as you. A big part of this is finding builders, inspectors, bank representatives and real estate agents you feel comfortable with and can trust. But the other side is knowing your rights and responsibilities as well as possible.
There’s some great Federal and State Government resources on this online, for example:
- HomeBuilder grant guidelines – find out if you’re eligible for government assistance, and how much you could recieve
- First home buyer guide – from the Vic Government, taking you from structuring your finances to settling your first home purchase.
- ‘Buying off the plan’ guide – a step-by-step resource on the timelines, fees and legal responsibilities when purchasing a prefabricated or ‘off-the-plan’ home.
- How building contracts work – a full breakdown of the rules your builder and you must follow in terms of drafting an agreement, including unfair terms and getting out of a contract.
Things will get worse before they get better
Speak to just a couple of people who have run the gauntlet of having a house built, and they will surely be able to shower you with stories of adversities, regulation issues, building mishaps, budget pitfalls and the rest of it. Nobody makes it through a build completely unscathed, without a single surprise. Be ready for a little discouragement, and to test your resilience.
No problem is completely unsolvable, and being disciplined with your planning and generous with your budget will go a long way in minimising disaster. If you do stumble upon an issue which seems outside of your control, reach out for help. If, for example, you remember days before you’re supposed to move that the power still needs to be connected, you can call utilities connection experts for an urgent or even same-day electricity connection.
It will all be worth it in the end, and moving into a house you’ve put so much effort into will be immensely satisfying. Building a house is a lot of work, but you’ll almost certainly never regret it.