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One of the biggest challenges clients face during the building process is wanting to save money while simultaneously upgrading things they find appealing. 

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to achieve both, so it’s important to carefully consider your budget at the beginning of the project to ensure you can achieve your desired outcome. In this blog, we’ll unpack the ten ways you can keep within budget while building your dream home in Melbourne.

Break down your budget

Before embarking on building your forever home, it’s crucial to break down your budget into clear categories. We’d recommend starting by allocating funds into categories like land purchase and permits, building costs, and interior and landscaping design. It’s also a good idea to create a contingency fund for unexpected costs or changes. Now that you’re across the essentials, you can decide where to prioritise your budget based on what’s important to you. This helps you stay across your budget during the whole building process, and can avoid financial stress down the road, ultimately creating a dream home that suits your lifestyle and budget.

Engage a builder early on

Once you’re across your budget, we recommend engaging a builder as early as possible. This can help avoid any rush fees and helps ensure you and your builder are on the same page, time wise. What’s more, builders can be incredibly helpful through the whole process and can provide valuable insights, assisting with budgeting, design collaboration, and timely planning which can save on costs and ensure your experience is as smooth as can be. Early involvement sets the foundation for success, aligning your vision with practical considerations from the start.

Compare the market

Before committing to a builder for your project, take the time to compare options in the market. Just like shopping for anything else, this step is crucial. Look for builders with experience, satisfied customers, and expertise in your desired style or project type. And don’t overlook the importance of getting a detailed quote; it can prevent surprises later on. Specialisation matters too, so find someone who aligns with your vision. By doing your homework, you can ensure not only the best results but also the best value for your investment. Comparing the market gives you the confidence that you’re making an informed decision for your project.

Choose the right building service for you

Once you choose the right builder for you, it’s essential to consider building packages they have on offer. Builders typically offer a variety of packages tailored to different needs and preferences. Based on your budget and priorities, choose a package that aligns with your financial capabilities and the outcome you’re after. By taking the time to explore and compare the available options, you can make an informed decision that sets the stage for a successful and satisfying building experience.

One of the best options for a tighter budget could be a Design + Build package. This is where you work closely with a builder and designer or architect from the start of your project to lock in all design, layout, and styling options. Making these decisions early on will help you get the most out of your building budget, while also streamlining the whole building process for you.

Make selections early

Choosing your selections early in the building process is essential for a smooth and budget-friendly experience. By making decisions upfront, you gain clarity on costs, enabling you to stay within your budget more effectively. This proactive approach helps to avoid any unexpected expenses that may arise later in the project. Moreover, early selection allows you to prioritise your preferences and make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources. Your builder can offer valuable guidance throughout this process, helping you navigate options that align with your budget and vision. Ultimately, selecting your materials and finishes early sets the stage for a successful and stress-free building journey.

Limit your selections

As with anything, too many choices can be a bad thing. Think about when you’re ordering dinner – the sheer number of options available online can be overwhelming – sometimes it’s easier to have a choice of only a few. It’s the same with building selections. Keep things simple and easy for yourself by only looking at a few options within your budget. This will ensure you can find a great option, without adding unnecessary stress to your build.

In saying that, don’t cut yourself off completely – the last thing you want is to discover a better choice in three months’ time and have to undergo a variation. Be smart about your decisions, do your research and you’ll maximise your budget in the best way possible.

Avoid variations

Once you’ve locked in all your design preferences, it can be tempting to change your mind once construction has begun. Perhaps you’ve thought about a new feature you want included in your new custom home or want to tweak the floorplan of your upcoming multi-unit development project. Maybe you’ve just changed your mind on your kitchen tapware.

Making changes to your building contract once you’ve signed on will mean your builder has to create a ‘variation’. Of course, you’re more than entitled to make changes, but you will be required to pay for anything that exceeds the initial estimated price or selection. Variations are the number one source of budget blowout in a building project and we strongly advise against these unless absolutely necessary. That’s why it’s important to take as much time as possible to finalise choices that will support your lifestyle and suit your needs and wants at the start of the process.

Focus on what matters to you

Your custom home or investment property is just that – yours. Don’t build a property in a style that’s trending simply for the sake of it. Take the time to design a space that will both achieve your goals and suit your lifestyle. If you’re building a new home, think about how you use your existing space and how it could be improved. What spaces are important to you? Do you need to consider more room for new family members, extra yard space for pets or spare bathrooms for guests?

If it’s a multi-unit development you’re embarking on, perhaps your goal is to sell immediately. In this case, we recommend considering the most cost-effective design and maximising your budget by using durable and long-lasting materials that are readily available within your budget.

Maximise space

Maximising your space during the building process is a smart strategy to keep costs down. By optimising the use of every square foot, you can minimise the overall square footage required for construction, which lowers building expenses as less material and labour are needed. Additionally, focusing on practical layouts that meet your needs without unnecessary excess ensures that you’re not spending money on space you won’t use. Moreover, a well-utilised space reduces ongoing maintenance expenses, as there are fewer areas to maintain and repair. Embracing efficient space optimisation not only saves money during the build but also sets the stage for long-term affordability and functionality in your home.

Work WITH your builder, not against them

Of course, the key to any building project is to work alongside your builder, collaborating on your project from the very beginning. Your builder has many years’ experience and has likely worked on many similar projects to yours – even if it is a custom design. Ask them about material selections, trust their design advice and ask for their opinion when you’re unsure. Your builder is your number one asset when it comes to getting the most from your building budget.

At Roda, our experienced team is dedicated to realising your vision while adhering to your budget. With a variety of building packages and services available, including our customisable Design + Build package, we cater to diverse needs and preferences. From concept to completion, we prioritise cost-effective solutions without compromising quality or creativity. Contact us today to begin your journey toward your dream home or project. Our team is eager to collaborate with you, ensuring a seamless and budget-conscious building process from start to finish.

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