How Much Will It Cost? - Owner Builder Club
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How Much Will It Cost?

Imagine how disappointed you’d be if you got halfway through your build and ran out of money?

Or worse, you need to sell an incomplete home because it’s near impossible to fund the finish?

Not ideal right?

Well, that’s why we believe thinking about cost and what you can afford is pretty damn important right upfront.

So let’s get REALISTIC about cost.

Having the right money mindset upfront is smart. Planning and allowing for unexpected extras is even smarter!

So where to begin?

Let’s start by getting your head around the types of costs involved in a build.

1. Actual building cost
2. A 5% to 15% contingency fund (the higher the better)
3. Professional services fees – architect, surveyors, inspectors, engineers,  council fees, various application fees
4. Finishes and fittings
5. Lending fees
6. Insurances
7. Any tools or equipment
8. Storage, removalist costs (if renovating)
9. All the extras to make it a home such as furniture, a letterbox, landscaping and artwork

Okay so now you know the types of costs here’s what we think will help you get an idea of building cost:

Display homes

We don’t see any harm in visiting display homes with the intention of getting an idea of building costs. HOWEVER. Use it as a guide only as display home building costs are often understated.

Act as an undercover agent.

Ask as many questions as possible e.g. can they supply a breakdown of costs, what’s the cost difference between budget and high-end finishes, build time, who do they use as suppliers, how do they handle disputes during the build etc.

Professional architect/draftsperson

If you’re engaging an architect or a draftsperson, you can use a preliminary plan (developed by them), then work out an estimated cost for the project.

We believe engaging an estimator is the best person to help you cost your project. You'll still need to do some work e.g. costs for fixtures and fittings however an Estimator is going to be a great help.

A Budget Planner

We've developed a pretty in-depth and professional looking Budget Planner tested by real life owner builders. To grab a copy simply email us at

It's not too early to start a thinking about your budget and this tool will be brilliant when/if it comes to getting finance.


Cost will also vary depending on whether you are doing some of the work yourself or have a friend/family member offering mates rates.


You MUST be across what’s included in ANY costing/quote. Always ask the relevant person this question – what’s not included in this cost?


Set your budget before you commit to doing an Owner Builder project!