To build or not to build

Many people dream of building their own home, a place that’s custom-made to their specifications and reflects their individual taste and style. Some find the whole process of creating a home from nothing particularly satisfying and ultimately rewarding. However for many, home building means muddy building sites, escalating costs and sleepless nights. “Never again!” 

Buying land and building your own home is the ideal way to get exactly what you want from a house. Budget allowing, it gives you the opportunity to have it designed specifically for your needs and with precisely the fittings and fixtures you want – you’re not paying for someone else’s taste. A brand new home is shiny, new and hi-tech and usually requires far less maintenance than an older home. But building isn’t without its share of problems lurking in the shadows. 

For homebuyers, building can be an additionally stressful process, depending on how much involvement you choose to have. It can mean making all of the decisions yourself, from the type of roofing you want to the style of the light fittings in the kitchen. 

It’s likely to also probably cost you more than buying a comparable existing house, and may take years to look fully established. If you are building in a new subdivision and neighbouring sections are bare, be aware that your privacy, views or sun may well be compromised by future building. 

Probably the biggest negative is that building takes a long time – especially if the weather is unreliable – and in the meantime you are having to pay to live somewhere else. 

It is critical that you are aware of all of the costs associated with building a home. You will need to keep a tight rein on expenses and ensure that you have budgeted correctly for the overall project. That dream home can turn into a bottomless money pit if you don’t factor in all the potential costings, work to a strict budget and employ the right professionals. 

It can be tempting to alter the design as you see the building going up; this should be avoided like the plague. Every change (large or small) that you make during the building process will result in additional costs (usually far higher than if you’d included them in the design in the first place). 


This is an extract from The Streetwise Home Buyer. The full chapter covers much more and you can download it below for free.

  • Welcome to the money pit
  • Gathering ideas
  • Buying land
  • Designing your home
  • Design and build packages
  • Kit set homes
  • Off the shelf plans
  • Choosing a builder