How to budget to build a new home

One of the first key steps you need to undertake when building a new home is preparing a budget. How you go about this will depend on your particular situation.

The first way to set your budget is to estimate the maximum you can afford by looking at your current finances, future earnings, borrowing capacity, and more.

Or you may be in a comfortable financial situation where you can identify the attributes of your dream home and then calculate how much it will cost you to build.

Either way, you never want to start a building project without knowing the costs involved.

Should you look at house designs first or buy the land first?

The typical way that most would-be homeowners choose for their new building project is to buy the land first and then choose a building design. Recently, at ZAC Homes we’re seeing more customers looking through our display homes at Marsden Park and Box Hill before they’ve secured a site.

There are no rules that dictate in which order you undertake a home building project, but it can be difficult to make a firm selection until you know the land size, aspect, block slope, and more.

However, by looking at home designs and talking to a builder like ZAC Homes you can identify a preferred design look and inclusion level and receive a price estimate to include in your budget.

Then once you’ve acquired land you can return and determine which homes will fit on your block.

What are the different building options?

Once you’ve determined a rough budget for your build you can start considering your options.

The fastest option for most people is usually a project home, and some people like the ease of this route. You choose the standard home designs you like best, and you make minimal changes to it.

On the other end of the scale is hiring an architect and a builder. This is typically the most expensive option but also usually is the one with the most flexibility to create a unique design.

Ultimately you need to decide on a ballpark cost and identify your requirements. The option you choose will determine how many items you need to include in your budget.

Project home

Project homes are designed to make the building process easier for customers, with a range of off-the-shelf designs. They are generally good value for money but may not suit your block or your lifestyle perfectly.

On the plus side, it is much easier to estimate the budget particularly if you opt for a house and land package where you have just one final price. There will still be other parts of your budget to consider like loan costs, insurance, interest repayments, and items that aren’t included like landscaping.

At ZAC Homes, we call this Fast track where you choose an off-the-plan design, with minimal changes. It’s the fastest path to tender with the quickest turnaround times.

Architect and builder

If you choose to go with an architect and builder, you will have a design that is a one-off that is tailored to suit your site and your brief. This gives you and your family unlimited choice of style or aesthetic expression.

You will also have a home that is designed to optimise your site’s orientation to the sun, capitalise on views and enhance privacy. Architects are also skilled at incorporating specific requirements such as environmentally friendly design. On the flip side, it is the most expensive option, involves a lot more involvement from you and will likely take the longest to complete.

For this option, you’ll need to budget for the architect’s design fees, changes, supervision and more. You’ll also need to include land costs which means the purchase of the land as well as any site preparation costs and demolition. The next step is approvals which has several costs associated and then there are the building costs.

A competent builder should be able to provide a fixed price for your build, so you don’t need to break it down. However, you will also have to factor in landscaping, driveways, paving, outdoor areas, and fencing.

Custom builder

There is, however, a third option which involves hiring a building company like ZAC Homes to create a custom home. In this case, the design and build are part of the same package and handled by an expert team with nearly 30 years’ building experience.

It is a good way to know what the final costs will be from the start while building a new home designed specifically for your site and needs. This method will also save time and money compared to the architect and builder option.

If you’re demolishing your existing home, you’ll also need to include demolition and site preparation costs. For a lot of builders, this process is handled by an external company that you will have to organise. With ZAC Homes though, this process is handled by our specialised team and will be included in the quote.

The custom home option with ZAC Homes gives you the flexibility and uniqueness of an architecturally designed home, with the efficiency and experience if a project home builder.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes

At ZAC Homes you will receive exceptional customer service, and our team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Want more information?

Contact our team using the form or using the details below

Phone: 1300 350 793


Address: Unit 6, 119 Coreen Avenue, Penrith, 2750

Book an appointment online or visit us at our display homes at Box Hill and Marsden Park

We have just started our building journey with ZAC homes. We have chosen to build with ZAC homes as they have allowed flexibility with the design, resulting in a better usage of the living and bedroom spaces. Other companies had a rigid design which would have resulted in variation fees.


…ZAC Homes kept us regularly up to date with the progress of our home and the job was finished on time, which was very important to us. We are one hundred percent happy with our home and can thoroughly recommend ZAC Homes and their crew to anyone contemplating building a home.

Bilynda & Paul Robins

…Firstly I would like to thank the ZAC homes team for the experience that my wife and I have had when making the purchase of an investment property. The professionalism and dedication that was displayed, was by far the best that we have seen or experienced previously.

Bob F.

I can not speak more highly of this local building company. Right from the beginning they have been excellent to deal with…The finishes were very good and any work that I wanted fixed which was minor things was done


Very well managed with no hidden cost or surprises. Workmanship was excellent and very professional


Really pleased with the building process, communication and designs. Would definitely recommend.

Hannah Johnston

The customer service and assistance was superb with quick turn around times and patience with our queries. Everything from initial consultation, to colour selection to hand-over was organised easily and open communication was maintained throughout the process.

Daniel North
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