How to save money when buying a home

House buying can be tough enough in Australian cities that have a low supply, but adding in a rebuild, renovation or extension makes the process more challenging even to the most organised of people. If you want to design your house yourself, engaging custom home builders can become a costly exercise, especially if delays happen, modifications to plans need to be made, or issues occur onsite once a build has commenced. To keep costs more manageable, see below for a few areas to address that can save you money and ultimately make the process run a little smoother.

Before you buy

Getting yourself organised is one of the least fun things about house buying. While most of us would rather be searching online or attending open houses for our dream home, save time and money by defining your parameters before you start searching. Unfortunately, with house prices as they are, it’s best not to exclude options based on geography alone, but to firstly determine your budget and work from there.

Once you know how much you can borrow, there are savings that can be made over the life of the loan. Options include a 20% deposit to avoid Lender’s Mortgage Insurance, a home loan that allows for additional repayments, or offset accounts that impact the amount of interest you pay.  

Don’t forget to investigate your eligibility for a stamp duty concession if you’re a first home buyer!

Long term savings

Your home builder in Melbourne or Victoria more widely will be required to construct a home that meets certain energy efficiency standards. If renovations extend your floorplan by a certain amount, your existing house will also need to be bought up to code. For a completely new house, it’s a minimum 6-star standard that is required in Victoria. Over the longer term, this will mean reduced energy bills for you and the ability to enjoy better use of natural light and airflow. If you can, adding features to your custom build like green roofs or walls as well as utilising rainwater run-off will also lower the environmental impact of your home and its energy consumption.

Alternative construction

Following a contemporary revision, modular and pre-fabricated homes have been making a comeback in Europe and we’re beginning to see an uptake in the Australian market also. Today’s modular homes are highly customisable, are tailorable to luxury living and not only meet energy efficiency requirements, but are often made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Some Australian companies will even deliver your home in only 12 weeks. Constructing a home in a large purpose built factory will firstly avoid weather delays common to traditional construction done onsite. It also allows you to save on labour costs as coordination of trades is streamlined by the pre-fab company so they may work across several projects in one day.

Whatever your housing needs are, shop around and ensure you get at least 3 quotes before engaging a builder and your tradespeople. Happy house hunting!