7 Most Common Hidden Costs of Building Your Own House in Australia

How much does it cost to construct a new home in Australia? The figures will greatly depend on the type of structure you want to be built and the features and trimmings you want added. The bigger and more luxurious it is, naturally the more expensive. It all comes down to what you want and need, and whether you want to make any compromises or want all of the bells and whistles.

But it is a fact that there are hidden costs that could rack up the project estimate. It will help you to remain an informed consumer and understand these costs to avoid any unwanted surprises. Knowing the actual fees and charges instead of the dreaded “miscellaneous” will help you better appreciate where your money is going.

Here is a checklist of the costs that you need to include in your home building budget so you can properly organise your cash flow.

1. Soil and contour tests

Building companies carry out such tests to check the quality of the soil and the topography of your property. It’s their way of identifying the kind of work involved in levelling the slope if needed and in building a house on a rocky plot.

Understandably, soil classified as poor will make home construction challenging, requiring extra muscles and energy. The same is true with an extremely sloping property, with building plans needed to be adjusted to make your dream home come true. Whatever findings builders obtain will dictate how much extra costs your project will incur.

2. Site costs

Depending on the results of the soil and contour tests, site costs can add up, especially if there are additional features that need to be taken care of pre-construction. These include:

  • Lots of trees needed to be cut off.
  • Need for traffic interruptions or road closure management.
  • Need for retaining walls.
  • The area is prone to bushfires and/or flooding.

This particular hidden cost takes into consideration the overall pros and cons of a site and calculate them into the project estimate accordingly.


If you are constructing a property in New South Wales, the state’s government requires builders to comply with the BASIX (Building Sustainability Index), a set of regulations dedicated to improving the sustainability and eco-friendliness of your house.

So even if you didn’t plan to add a water tank on your property, for example, you would have to throw this into the equation for compliance reasons. If you think about it, though, a green-friendly home will work to your advantage in the future, with lower running costs of your home.

4. Missing essentials

Did you know that flooring and driveway may not be included in a quote? This means that once you have your home built, complete with a driveway and flooring elements, you could be looking at a different amount on the invoice. So make sure to check that flooring and driveway works are included in the breakdown before you sign off the estimate.

5. Add-ons and modifications

One of the reasons that you get an estimate with all the details ironed out is so you can set a budget. However, if you decide halfway through that you want something added, expect the estimated cost to change, along with a few extra costs, such as legal and penalty clauses. It’s only fair considering that the contract has to be adjusted.

7. Land registration

A new, unregistered block of land can incur additional costs. Talk to your building or real estate company to see if the location has already been registered. If not, you can use a titles fee calculator online to have an estimate of the charges or speak to our friends at Titlexchange.

Other fees

Wheelie bins, lender’s mortgage insurance, and interest repayments during construction can also affect the total cost of constructing a house in Australia. This is why there’s no such thing as one size fits all where construction cost is concerned.

But when you know what other things are needed to have your dream home built, you would not have a problem paying them off. It all comes down to knowing hidden costs upfront, making them hidden no more.

Make sure the quote your builder presents is comprehensive. Check it thoroughly and use this guide as a reference to see if some items are missing.

Want to save money early on? Speak to an expert at iBuildNew for free to help you compare all the options so that you get the most for your money. Call us today on 1800 184 284 and speak to our phone consultants or book a call . With years of experience in the building industry, they can answer any questions you might have, including those concerning hidden and upfront construction costs.


Ben is a passionate home renovator who is forever making improvements around the home and garden


iBuildNew is the market leading aggregator dedicated to residential home construction and land development. As an independent platform, iBuildNew helps Australians identify and compare new home designs, house and land packages and land estates. It’s the smart way home buyers, who are considering a new build, can find the ideal options to match their individual needs. Home building is a big decision, we make sure you get it right.

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