The Top Financial Benefits of being an Owner Builder

The Hidden Treasures of Owner Building in Queensland: A Financial Odyssey

Imagine constructing your dream house without being at the mercy of hefty builder margins. Picture gaining a deeper and more personal connection to the very walls that will echo with laughter, tears, and all the moments that comprise a life. In the Australian state of Queensland, this vision isn’t just a romantic reverie; it’s a real possibility. This thought leadership piece explores the financial odyssey of owner building in Queensland, unearthing savings that could revolutionize the way we think about building a home.

The Path Less Costly: Understanding Owner Building

First, let’s demystify owner building. Owner building is the act of managing your own home construction or renovation. By acting as your own project manager, you can save significantly on builder margins and labor costs, but it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the legal responsibilities and industry regulations, particularly in Queensland, where owner builders must adhere to stringent guidelines.

Breaking Down the Savings: An Owner Builder’s Economic Edge

When you step into the role of owner builder, you sidestep the builder’s margin at every juncture. From raw materials and tradie fees to administrative costs and project management, each saving becomes a testament to your fiscal prudence. Furthermore, owner builders in Queensland could be saving up to 20% of the total build cost, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

But it’s not just about the immediate costs. Owner builders can potentially boost their savings in the long run, too:

Capital Gains Tax Benefits

Australian tax laws consider the “base cost” of a property for Capital Gains Tax as the valuation upon completion of construction. Meaning, if the raw cost of construction is $200,000 for example, and the land cost was $200,000, the total cost is $400,000. However, the valuation may come in at $600,000. Let’s assume for argument sake that you then sell your home 3 years later, for $700,000. Your capital gain is only $100,000 as far as the ATO is concerned. So, assuming you pay 50% of the capital gain and your tax rate is 30%, your CGT is 30% of $100,000, as opposed to 30% of $300,000. So your CGT is only $30,000, rather than $100,000.

Project Management Savings

As the owner builder, we assume that you will be the project manager. With labour costs skyrocketing in Australia post-covid, project management costs have blown out to record highs, with project management fees likely to be $125-$175 per hour in residential construction. If we assume 100-200 hours of management per home, you stepping into the role of PM could save you from $12,500 to $35,000.

Stamp Duty Savings

As an owner builder, we naturally assume that you purchase land only, as opposed to house and land. Stamp duty is based on the initial purchase, not the final valuation of the house and land. If we take the above example, stamp duty on a $200,000 block is $5,425. Th stamp duty on the final retail value of the house and land, however, would have been $12,850. This represents additional savings of $7,425. By overseeing their own builds, owner builders can reduce the amount they pay in stamp duty, which in Queensland can be a significant percentage of the property’s purchase price. This results in immediate savings upon completing their home. Another way of looking at this saving, is that is represents the creation of additional instant equity in your home. This equity can be used to refinance and purchase additional property.

Competitive Bidding

Owner builders have the unique opportunity to negotiate directly with subcontractors and suppliers, often achieving better prices than those offered to builders. This competitive edge could significantly affect the bottom line of your project’s overall expenses.

Treading Cautiously in the Landscape of Labor

While the savings can be alluring, stepping into the shoes of an owner builder is not without its challenges. Among them is the need for an in-depth understanding of construction fundamentals, as well as compliance and legal obligations. Preparation and resourcefulness are key; it’s not a task to be taken lightly, but the rewards can be more than worth the toil.

The Builder’s Righteous Path: Starting Your Owner Building Journey

Becoming an owner builder in Queensland is a five-step process:

  1. Meeting eligibility criteria
  2. Applying for and obtaining a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) owner-builder permit
  3. Understanding and following legislative requirements for construction projects
  4. Managing your project diligently, ensuring quality assurance and compliance at every stage
  5. Enjoying your new home, built with your sweat and ingenuity


The financial advantages of owner building in Queensland are vast and, in many ways, still untapped by the broader population. The ability to control costs, optimise tax benefits, and take the reins as project manager, is a trifecta rarely found in the world of residential construction. This mode of building does require a substantial amount of time, effort, and learning, but for those willing to chart their own course, the savings are not just numbers on a balance sheet; they represent the intellectual and emotional freedom that comes with creating one’s own sanctuary. In a world where the rising cost of living is a pervasive concern, owner building stands out as a beacon of fiscal responsibility married to creative fulfilment.

For the savvy Queenslander seeking to design their future, owner building is not just an option—it’s a thoroughly modern approach to financial prudence and personal fulfilment. With careful consideration and a dash of daring, the title of owner builder could be the first step on a new homebuilding legacy, one founded on independence and adorned with the unmistakable mark of personal vision.

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