How much? This is easily the most frequent question we have been asked and is the most difficult to answer for a couple of reasons.
- It's none of your damn business! Well, OK maybe I am overreacting here but I have been amazed at how often complete strangers have asked us how much we have spent on our home. At first this was incredibly confronting! I've calmed down a bit on this now and am happy to give this information to genuine owner builders like yourself but I suspect that most of the early queries were from nosy neighbours just looking for gossip on the newcomers.
- All houses are different and all owner builders are different so in effect the question is the 'how long is a piece of string' classic. However, I will try to answer in more detail below.
So how did this stack up compared to how much we expected to spend? Oh, man, we blew our budget BIG TIME. I thought we could do it for $120,000 and Greg was even more optimistic (he is still recovering from the shock!). If you are a fan of Grand Designs, you will know that hardly anyone estimates the cost of their build accurately - we are all in a bubble of denial at the start no matter how 'realistic' you think you are being!
There weren't any major budget-busting building shocks either. It was just that things all cost slightly more than we thought. Building materials did go through a bit of a price hike during the process (especially copper pipe). The big ticket expenses were definitely trades (electrician, plumber, stairs joiner, waterproofer). But also, little things really added up too. For example, I think we spent nearly $1500 on screws and nails.
Plenty of people consider owner building as a way to build cheaply but our experience taught me that the real value in doing it yourself is having a better house for the same money.