5 things to consider when becoming an owner builder

Published on November 19th, 2020
  Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Moving your dream house off a blueprint that you have in your mind and bringing it to life is not an easy thing to do. As an owner builder, there are many aspects that need to be considered such as; setting up a budget, sourcing the material, and more to cut costs. Before you start building your house here are five things to consider

1. Have you calculated all expenses?

Building your own house not only takes time, but it also requires a considerable amount of money. On average, Australians fork out $306,885 in 2017 to build a new house. Consider the cost of the plot of land you need to purchase, design fees, planning permits, site works, cost blow-outs and more. There are also contributing factors that will affect your expenses such as the size of your house, quality of material, and the time frame which you want to complete the project.

2. Getting the right documentation

To make the process of building your house a legal one, it is important that you have the right documents. You will need to apply for a document such as a certificate of consent from the Building Practitioners’ Board, especially if your building specifications will exceed $16,000. Keep in mind that an owner-builder permit isn’t the same as a builder’s licence, but you will still be responsible for making sure that all sub-contractors are licensed and insured.

3. You need to hire qualified or you could end up with

Being a builder owner can help cut down costs of construction between 10 and 35%. However, things can go horribly wrong if you hire people who are not qualified. As a supervisor of your home building project, you will need to check that all the people you hire have a proven track record of building houses to ensure that your house will be built up to standard.

4. Consider your finance options

Taking out a home loan with a bank can be a bit trickier if you are an owner-builder, especially if you are not planning on using the services of a licensed builder. You may be able to borrow up to 60% of the land value plus constructions when taking out a loan with a bank. However, you could approach other lenders or brokers that will be able to provide you with a home loan that will be suitable for your finances and adequately cover your construction costs. Keep in mind that some lenders could break up the sum they pay out to you with each stage of the project than to pay out a lump sum.

5. Occupancy permits

You have finally brought your house to life and you are ready to move in. However, before you do so you must obtain an occupancy permit which is a stamp of approval that your house meets the health and safety requirements. An occupancy permit is issued by the Building Surveyor which will be your thumbs up to move in.

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