How to Avoid ‘Hidden’ Building Costs

One of the biggest challenges of building your own home, particularly if it’s your first time, is the immense amount of learning that you’ll need to do, which will allow you to make important decisions that will affect how you live. It will also help you to enjoy the experience rather than turn you into a nervous wreck!

In Sydney, with land costs being so expensive and budgets being stretched, you want to make sure you have an understanding of your costs… particularly those costs that can potentially leave a burning hole in your pocket!

Read on below for our simple tips and tricks on how to keep control of your build costs…

Site Costs

Site costs are one of the major ‘hidden costs’ that you need to watch! Land selection is so important and is the first step, so make sure it’s the right one. If your block is difficult to access or is situated on a slope, your typical building costs will be higher. Likewise, rocky or highly-reactive soil will need to be included in your cost breakdown of building as they can increase your build costs due to the need for different foundations. You also need to make sure that your sewage, water, stormwater and electricity connections to the street are covered in your cost breakdown.

Upgrades & Plan Modifications

One of the biggest traps in building a new home comes from the costs associated with making upgrades and plan changes. It’s essential to have a detailed understanding of what’s included in the base package that have been offered so you can fairly estimate what you may want to spend on upgrades. Also, find out if changes to the plan are included and if not, what is the cost associated with making changes?

Bear in mind that small modifications may only attract a relatively small cost, however they tend to add up by the time you get to the end of your selections process. Don’t be afraid to have upfront discussions with your Builder about their standard inclusions and their selections range available to you. As a general rule…. if you see “from builder’s range”, you should ask what that includes exactly.

Razzle Dazzle Promotions

There are a ridiculous amount of new home promotions out there…. Free Upgrades, Cashback Offers, Mega Discounts and so on. But it all boils down to the old saying… “if it’s too good to be true.” You need to cut through all the razzle dazzle and bring it back to the “real” offer which should be provided to you in a easy to read Sales Estimate. Simple!

Plan for the Foreseeable Future

Your home should grow with you which means you’ll need to consider generational factors with your design. In the long term, this will minimise your need to renovate your home down the track or worse still…. Prevent you from moving house because you’ve outgrown it!


Costs associated with delays are a great example of hidden costs in building a new home. These can be caused by you through changes and modifications, or by your builder, who may not be prioritising your build over others. Delays may also be completely out of your control or your builder’s control, such as bad weather.

There’s not much you can do about the weather but careful builder selection and having upfront discussions about time, can help avoid these hidden costs of building a house. It’s a good practice to ask your builder about the costs associated with delays, and what is being done to mitigate these.

Happy Home Hunting!

The Ashmont Homes Team

Ashmont Homes is a Sydney based builder, offering competitive new home packages including custom home designs with premium inclusions that come standard. We pride ourselves on offering you honest & real pricing that you can rely on.