The 5 budget basics you need to know

How much does it cost to build a dream house? Builder Frank Tarulli shows us how to crunch the numbers
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Design plans have a way of escalating when you throw yourself into the world of building and renovating. Dreams get bigger, ideas become loftier and hearts become set on new options that previously weren’t on the radar. Of course, in the process of taking a project to the next level it pays to keep a firm eye on the bottom line.

How to keep the budget in check? Frank Tarulli has a five-point plan.

  1. Call in the experts. It’s important to know how much you can afford from the get-go before deciding on the scope of work. Frank suggests contacting a mortgage broker or bank to crunch the numbers, considering borrowing capacity and the cost of repayments. “This will help you work out your limitations,” says Frank.
  2. Plan to overspend. When drawing up your budget, don’t allocate every dollar you have upfront – you need an extra 15 to 20 percent up your sleeves for important splurges.
  3. Know the cost per square. The bigger the house, the more expensive it will be. Professional builders still use the imperial measurement of squares – one house square is equal to 100 square feet or about 9.2 square metres. So if the cost per square is between $10,000 and $20,000 the cost for a 40 square house (368 square metres) will between $400,000 and $800,000. A 42 square house, at this level, will cost between $420,000 and $840,000.
  4. Prioritise the wish list. Not every idea will fit into a realistic budget. “My advice is to put them into two categories: luxury items and non-negotiables,” says Frank. “If the prices start coming in a little bit too high you can always chip away at the luxury items until the price gets to where it needs to be,” he adds.
  5. Think about the final layer. After all the hard work of planning, researching and building a house, you will deserve a home that feels comfortable and finished so ensure to factor in the cost of landscaping and window furnishings. It’s wise to focus a limited budget on fittings and anything else that is fixed in place. Still, try to spare some room in the budget for a few key furniture pieces and some fresh accessories and artworks.


Looking to renovate?  Online mortgage calculators like this one from Qudos Bank, are a really simple tool when trying to figure out financing.

Plan it
(Credit: Getty Images)

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