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The pros and cons of building your own home

While the ability to customise a property to your liking can carry strong appeal, it comes with the stress of having to oversee a massive project. That’s before you even begin to cover the financial u...

The pros and cons of building your own home

06 July 2020

When we can’t find the home of our dreams, a good solution is to create it ourselves. That said, building from scratch has its pros and cons. Are you sure you’re prepared?

While the ability to customise a property to your liking can carry strong appeal, it comes with the stress of having to oversee a massive project. That’s before you even begin to cover the financial ups and downs.

When it comes to building, we spoke to people who have been-there-done-that to help you understand what lies ahead.

Your time to build? This guide shows you how to build your dream home.

Pro: Save on stamp duty

Fun fact: when building your own home, you only pay stamp duty on the land you buy. This could save you thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars. 

Pros and cons of building - house and pool  

If you buy vacant land, you only have to pay stamp duty on that land. 

While the cost of stamp duty varies according to a range of factors, you can use a stamp duty calculator to find out how much you will likely be required to pay.

Con: More time invested

Even if you’re a delegation mastermind and you’ve hired all manner of people to alleviate your personal duties during the build, you will not be able to escape them completely.

Pros and cons of building - men on ladders

Building a home requires a lot of hands-on effort, even if you don’t have to do the labour yourself. 

The reality is building requires more decision-making, greater involvement and usually a lot of hands-on action over a longer period of time than buying a ready-built home.

“So many decisions need to be made, from the big ones like kitchen benchtops, down to little things like the light switches,” home builder Rachel says about the home she and her partner built in Shepparton, Victoria.

“There are all these things you take for granted and don’t even notice in a house, but a decision still needs to be made. All these decisions consume your mind until the build is finished.”

Pro: Setting your own budgets and timelines

Sure, you set your own budget when buying an existing house but it doesn’t allow the same level of customisation as building does. Really want a pool but don’t need a garage? Can do! Don’t care about ritzy light fittings but really excited about a top-of-the-range fridge? Put your money towards that instead. In short, you can splurge or scrimp on the areas of your choosing. 

Pros and cons of building - laptop

Set your own timeline and budget… just don’t expect to stick to it. 

The other bonus is that you have more time to save.

“A big benefit is that you can build to your budget and you don’t have to start straight away,” RAMS Sydney Eastern Suburbs Franchise Principal Alistair MacIntosh says. “You can hold the land for as long as you want while you save more money or figure out exactly what it is you can afford to build according to your budget.”

Con: Budgets and timelines rarely stick

“You need to be prepared for cost overruns and delays, especially due to factors you can’t control, like the weather,” Alistair warns. “It’s extremely rare homes are completed on time and on budget.”

Pros and cons of building - builder
Don’t be too strict with budgets or timelines – they will most likely run over.

Trying to combat budget blowouts can be futile. Your best bet is to learn to be flexible and allow extra time and budget buffers. Don’t blow your entire budget on building and materials.  It is a good idea to keep some contingency funds for any setbacks. Similarly, don’t expect your timelines to stick.

This can be difficult if you’re moving from a rental property and need to give notice. However, the best thing you can do here is to have a backup plan and enough money in your budget. You can’t make your timelines too strict and expect them to work out.

Pro: You get the home you want

You will most likely need to become an Excel guru to project manage your build. And, yes, you will need to have an answer to everything – the more specific, the better.

The pay off is that you end up with a house you actually want and love.

Pros and cons of building - back yard pool  
Sometimes the only way to get your dream home is to build it yourself.

“I feel like the best reward of building from scratch is we now have a home that works for us,” Brooke, an architect from Brisbane, said of her build. “Mine is an open space, with lots of light and has definitely had a positive impact on our physical and mental wellbeing in the short time we have been here.”

Originally published on ‘The pros and cons of building your own home


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