Building a House on a Budget

Building a house on a budget and still maintaining high-quality standards is not an easy task, but with clever adjustments and a little extra effort, you can pull it off.

We know there are sceptics out there who would say this is easier said than done. So we’ve provided tips that will help you to build a house that is both affordable and of excellent quality.

You will find ideas to help you cut costs on planning, site selection, building the structure, and using affordable fixtures and finishes.

Plan Meticulously and Stick to the Plan

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Before you get down to purchasing a lot (if you don’t have a site), reaching out to tradies, and procuring materials is a great way to start the planning process.

Prepare a plan that includes everything and anything you can think of. Prepare a sketch of the house, the number of bedrooms, the lounges, and any other ‘room’ in the structure. Include information such as the type of windows, doors, and the colour of the rooms.

Make the plan as detailed as possible. Then reach out to the professionals for help. They will help to make your budget accurate so that you don’t run short.

In your discussions, focus on the essentials or only what you need. You will assess and see that an extra lounge or bedroom may not be feasible within your budget.

With a better view of reality, you can commence building. The temptation to go for what you fancy is present, but remember to stick to the plan.

The Property

The most significant cost element of any housing project is the site. Property prices in Australia have been on a steady rise, where larger cities such as Sydney or Melbourne are recorded to be at a much higher price compared to cities such as Adelaide and Hobart or even areas like the Gold Coast.

With this in mind, you will cut down your cost for building a house significantly if you choose locations where land prices are still relatively affordable.

Cities like Sydney and Melbourne, where median lot prices are about $500,000, should be off your list. On the other hand, cities like Adelaide and Hobart could still have lucrative lots at affordable rates but at the end of the day it does depend on where you’re based as to what is available. 

That said, if you feel the price for your piece of land is still too high, consider a townhouse or a duplex. The set up may be a little more involving, but the building costs will be much lower.

The structure

How much you will spend on the structure depends on one thing, what you need.

Do you need that five-bedroom mansion with two guest wings and rooms that will probably see more dust than human life? 

The temptation to make a grand home is real. But that’s not the point when building a house on a budget.

Don’t struggle to build a 5-bedroom house when a 3-bedroom home would be sufficient for you and your family. The larger the structure, the more materials you will use, the more you will spend on professional services with tradies, and the more dollars you will flush down the maintenance drainage.  

Fixtures and Finishes

An affordable home looks good. It does not need to look fancy. So stick to conventional building techniques, materials, fixtures and finishes. It may sound boring, but it will help you keep building costs within budget by:

  • Not paying extra to procure the fancy materials, finishes and fixtures.
  • Won’t require specialty tradies to work on your site (they often charge higher rates).
  • And you will not incur additional costs of fixtures or materials to support or supplement the unnecessary specialities.

So, think twice before you demand polished-concrete floors, marble tops in the bathrooms and kitchen, or concealed gutters.

That said, high-quality finishing and fixtures can enhance the value of a home significantly. So if you are building intending to sell, consult with a builder and see whether it would be economical to invest in the high-value materials and fixtures.

Talk with Professionals

Most house-building costs hang on one fight: what you need versus what you desire. If you have a taste for champagne but have a beer budget, you can still pull off an affordable house with the right advice and people behind you.

If the thought of building a house sounds more worrying than it does exciting, then another option to consider is buying property. Although buying a house has challenges of its own, there is less work involved when the house is already built!

If you do decide to go with buying your next property instead of building it from scratch, it’s important to get a trusty building and pest inspection to ensure you don’t run into issues in the long run. An inspection like this would cover structural issues and many other potential issues that can’t always be seen by the naked eye.

It does depend on where you’re based as to what building inspector you should reach out to, but for a quality and professional Gold-Coast based inspector, trust no other than KTS Building and Pest. They’ve been in the industry and servicing the Gold Coast for over 25 years and have seen everything when it comes to building and house structures. More on them can be found on their website at:

If after consolidating with professionals you’re still unsure of whether to buy or build your budget home from scratch then maybe it’s best to sit on the decision. There’s no rush to making your next move. Whatever you decide to do, you want to make sure the right decision is made to fit both your ideal and budget in place.