What Should I Budget for a New House?

Kelsey W. Popham

When building a new house the ‘How much should I budget?’ is a simple question for which there is no definitive answer. As a result, it is often frustrating for owners and in return leads to mis-information from builders, designers and house companies trying to sell you their service.

Since the building site, brief and budget are rarely the same from one project to another. The following will help you as a starting point to understand the ins and outs of building costs & budgets for your new home.

This article will give you the necessary steps to design and build your dream home on a budget in Auckland, New Zealand.

Building your budget

First things first. It is important to be clear on what your budget is. You may already know this, if not you will need to talk to your bank or a mortgage broker. From there you will have a starting point and know what you can do.

There is nothing wrong with having a wish-list or brief that is out of whack with the budget. It is our job to take you through the budget process, so you can understand what is doable.

There are 4 main elements that you will need to budget for:

  • Pre-construction (design, engineering, council consents, surveyor and potentially other consultants)
  • Siteworks (demolition, earthworks, retaining walls, drainage, power, wastewater,stormwater, foundations)
  • House
  • External construction (driveway, decks, hard landscaping – paths etc)

Comparing Apples with Oranges

The “cost per square metre” rate causes the most confusion when you are putting together your budget. This is due to the fact, there is no common definition to the “Cost per square metre”.  In short, the square metre rate can only be taken with a pinch of salt.

There are a few important questions to ask when you receive quote a “price per square metre”. There are also things that will push up costs/m2 that you need to keep your eye on.

  • GST. Architects are notorious for not including GST in their rates.
  • Siteworks. Does it include earthworks, driveway, drainage, wastewater treatment, foundations etc?
  • What is excluded? Appliances? Floor coverings? Cabinetry? Painting?

How working with an Architect and Builder Can Save You Money? (and Frustration)

Find a company such as Box™ that doesn’t re-invent the wheel on each project and works efficiently as an end-to-end architect builder company.

Architects are expensive, often 10% to 15% of the cost of a project. While building companies have their construction companies nailed, their designs can be underwhelming.

We bring together the best of both worlds and meet in the middle.

We see ourselves being driven more by architect design, yet pragmatic enough to design with efficiency and affordability in mind. We would compare ourselves to architects, but with the ability to provide costings throughout the process and work as a design-build team from start to finish. Therefore, you save money as a result of:

  • 20% lower design cost than the recommended NZIA fee
  • Quantity surveying (costing) for a fixed fee, no matter how many revisions you do

Building your own home will take time, skill, patience and effort. After all, you’re going to spend several years living there—the last thing you want is to come home every day to an uncomfortable space that wasn’t designed for you. What’s more, if it’s not built right it can cost thousands of dollars to fix. So don’t compromise quality over cost when designing your new dream home; make sure to get an architect design that fits into your budget.

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