First home blog: hide and cost seek

By Steph Nash

Building your first home is an exciting but overwhelming experience. Confusing terms and definitions, budgeting, and home loans can be confronting for anyone who has never looked at property before, and most of it probably won’t make sense.

At the age of 23, building my own home is something I’m already thinking about for my future self. I can say for sure that the process can be daunting, but preparing and being aware of all the hidden costs can help any first home builder feel more at ease with the big life decisions they are about to make.

In this blog series, I will be writing about my journey to building my first home with LandGipps. Today I will explain some of those tricky terms you will come across when planning your first build, as well as some costs you might not expect. You can read more about me and my first home journey by clicking here.


Soil and surveying tests

Because you can’t build anything on soil which won’t support it, soil quality is the first thing a builder will check. The tests can cost between $1,000 and $2,000, however when you purchase land with LandGipps the soil tests and surveying have already been done. It saves money and gives you the confidence to kick start the planning phase.


Site costs

It’s not uncommon for site costs to increase rapidly due to the removal of trees and the expense of connecting water, gas, electricity, telephone lines, and sewerage. If you have a soil and survey test done with LandGipps, the builder can provide you with fixed price site costs prior to purchasing so there are no nasty surprises.


Floor coverings

Floors might be essential, but not all building quotes include floor coverings. I know you don’t want to live on a raw concrete slab, so start researching early on to find the best affordable flooring, such as tiles, floorboards, and carpets, to suit your budget and lifestyle.



Landscaping includes everything from your garden to your driveways. These are the things many people think they can live without for the first few months. If you do leave landscaping for later you will soon be battling dirt everywhere in your house, you might have to use the back door for six to 12 months, and the only thing that will resemble grass will be the left over carpet you use to walk across the back yard because you’re sick of having dirty foot prints everywhere in your brand new home. LandGipps can help you stay within your budget to ensure you have full access to your home without any inconveniences.


Plan variations

Changing your plans mid-way through a build can lead to unwanted expenses. Changing the contract will bring legal costs, extra materials always cost more, trade costs will increase, and you will have to pay for new engineering and drafting of approval. There is no rush when it comes to planning your first home. It’s going to be the biggest life changing thing you do, and LandGipps understands that. They are here to hold your hand and watch over the planning and building phase with you to ensure you get it right first time.


Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)

If you live in an area which is very bushy, close to a national park, or near other high bushfire risk areas, then your land may have a BAL rating. This means your plans may need to be changed to ensure your home is as safe as possible during a bushfire. LandGipps knows the Gippsland area extremely well, and if your land might have a bushfire rating they will tell you on your first site visit.


Wheelie bins

You may need to purchase your own recycling and garbage bins from your local council due to there not being a prior occupant of the land. LandGipps can help you get in contact with your council because they know your bins will be the last thing on your mind during the building and moving process.



Always double check your quotes when it comes to fencing. Some building companies may choose to include the cost in their quote, while others leave it out to make their costs seem more pleasing. Some builders will only include half the cost of fencing because, in most cases, neighbours share the cost of fencing on a 50/50 basis.


Old or expired quotes

Quotes are usually valid for anywhere between 24 hours and 30 days, so take the time to make sure you have current prices and product listings and that no deals or special offers have expired. LandGipps has great partnerships with many local builders and suppliers who can help reference quotes and seek advice.


Insurance policies

Insurance policies for home owners are based on your land and area in which you live. If you live in a potential flooding zone your insurance premium will sky rocket no matter what the odds of a flood actually are. LandGipps will inform you in great detail about the land you’re interested in from the start so you know exactly what you’re getting into from day one.


So no matter what age you are when you decide to build your first home, LandGipps’ caring and friendly staff know how daunting it can be. They will be by your side for every step of the process, from looking at land and plans, to signing contracts and overseeing construction, so that afterwards you will come home to your brand new place and be in awe of what you achieved.

You can read more about me and my first home journey by clicking here.