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5 lessons you can expect to learn when building a custom home

From finding the perfect block of land and choosing a custom home builder you can trust to settling on a particular design, it’s safe to say a lot of time, research and effort goes into building your first home.

For many of us, building a custom home is a dream. However, as with any significant undertaking, it’s not without its challenges. To help you prepare for the journey ahead, Daniel Mazzei shares five important lessons he’s learned along the way.


From the planning stages to construction and final fit-out, building a custom home could take anywhere between six and 12 months.

1.  Prepare for a long process

While building your first home is certainly exciting, it’s a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Every home design is unique, with the complexity and size of each project contributing to how long it will take to build.

From the planning stages to construction and final fit-out, building a custom home could take anywhere between six and 12 months – sometimes more – before you can move in. Just remember, you’ll have to continue renting or staying somewhere for the duration of the build. While it may take a while to cross the finish line, think of the process as part of the adventure.

2.  Relationships matter

Working with a custom home builder is a unique and personalised experience. More often than not, you’ll be working in close proximity with them, collaborating in meetings, making decisions over the phone, and receiving regular advice and updates. With this in mind, it’s important to build a strong connection with your builder and, like any healthy relationship, have open lines of communication.

While you should always look for a builder with the right experience and credentials, you should also choose one that you instantly like, respect and trust. Don’t forget that building your first home is a big deal, so it’s worth knowing you’re in safe and personable hands.



It’s wise to have an emergency fund for any unforeseen expenses, as well as seeking financial advice from an accountant.

3.  It’s never too early to save

For many of us, building a custom home is one of life’s greatest financial investments. That’s why the earlier you start saving and planning, the closer you’ll be to achieving your dream. How much you need to save depends on the construction and design of your home, as well as progress payments, legal fees, rates and taxes, land costs, and more.

Sticking to your budget is one of the most important things to do. While a reputable custom home builder will be open and honest about what you can and can’t afford, it’s wise to have an emergency fund for any unforeseen expenses, as well as seeking financial advice from an accountant. The bottom line? The more you have saved, the less stressful the process will be.

4.  You need a strong support system

Building and designing your own home takes a whole lot of time and patience. There will hours upon hours of researching, planning, thinking, and meetings. And if you’re working 9-5 throughout the week, or juggling kids and a part-time job, it can be easy to let weekends slip away as you focus on the project. Building a home can be emotionally tough, and you’ll need all the support you can get.

That’s why it’s crucial to find ways to balance the time and money you spend on your home with your family, friends, and career. While neither your social and family life, nor your custom home, should be neglected, you will have to be much more organised about how you delegate your free time. One of the best ways to make this easier is to choose a builder you not only trust but one that will also make things easier for you.

5.  Acceptance is key

Once your custom home build is over and you’re ready to move in, it will finally be time to start living your life. While the vision you had for your home might be perfectly realised, there could be a few things that didn’t turn out as planned. Maybe the light switches are a little low, or the bathroom tiles aren’t exactly what you envisioned? The thing is, it’s important not to strive for absolute perfection. Excellence, on the other hand, is easier to attain.

Overall, you need to ask yourself if it was worth it. More often than not, if you’re working with a good home builder, the answer will be “yes”. The truth is, designing a home built around your unique tastes and needs will always carry an element of risk – but that’s part of the adventure. While there are many lessons to learn, the fact that you’ve actually done it is a triumph in itself, and over time, any ‘blemishes’ will become easier to accept.

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Veda Dante

Veda Dante is an accomplished journalist, consultant and content creator who has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about everything from tourism, hospitality and health to architecture, pools and luxury goods. When she’s not producing copy for clients, this self-confessed word nerd is usually writing and photographing the Byron Bay region for her blog

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.