Expenses You Should Budget for When Buying a Brand New House

buying a brand new house

When you look at the design plans for a new house and speak to the sales person about price, availability and timeframe you may begin to get quite excited. But before you make any decisions you should go home and crunch the numbers. As you review all of the costs that the sales person discussed with you remember to include the additional expenses that come with buying a brand new house, to see if you can truly afford this new house.

Additional Expenses You Should Include in Your Budget When Buying a Brand New House


One of the first things that I notice when I drive into a brand new subdivision is the lack of trees. Anything that may have been growing there over the years while the land was bare has been ripped out to make room for new houses and new streets.  As each new house is built the builder may or may not include some landscaping in the front and the back of the house.

This is something that you need to consider if you choose to buy a brand new house. Will any landscaping be included in your purchase price? If not, consider what you will want to do. Will you lay new sod and plant some trees? Will you build a deck or add a rock garden?

And last but not least, will you build, or hire someone, to build a fence?

When we purchased our last new house in 2005 the only outdoor things that were included in the purchase price was a deck off the back of the house, and a very young tree that was meant to be planted on the front lawn. We had to pay for everything else.

Our back yard was huge and it backed on to 6 other neighbour’s yards. In the Spring of 2006 we spoke with each of them about the cost of building a wooden fence and about doing all of the labour ourselves. Only 3 of the neighbours helped build the fence but they all contributed to the cost. Our portion came to just under $4,000.

In 2007 we had a professional landscape designer draw up design plans for our backyard. We wanted trees, plants, hardscaping, mulch and some sod. Her design was gorgeous. The cost wasn’t. The cost to buy all of the necessary products and have professionals do the installation came to a grand total of $40,000.

I was shocked. The most expensive part of her design plan was the trees and the hardscaping.

new house construction


Many homes in Canada are built with a basement. While some builders will professionally finish the basement as they finish the rest of the house, most will not. Finishing the basement so that it matches the rest of the house is usually an upgrade. A person can pay the builder to do the additional work, or they can wait until they move in and then decide what to do with it.

Our house had a beautiful walkout basement with large windows. A bathroom was roughed in as well as an area for a wet bar, if we had wanted one.

The cost to develop the basement with a professional contractor would have been approximately $15,000.

Monitored Alarm System

While I understand the importance of having a monitored alarm system in the house, I actually really hate them. I once owned a townhouse by myself and the alarm went off one night at midnight. The siren was so loud and I was quite frightened. Come to find out that the sensor on the patio door somehow melted from the hot summer days we had that year and it caused a slight shift in the doors which triggered the alarm.

As our new home was built the wiring for an alarm system was included. As much as I disliked the idea, we signed up with a monitored alarm company. The cost was $39 a month for 3 years.


Your new house may include an attached garage or it may include a detached garage.

But what if it only includes space on your property for you to build your own garage? That can happen.

If your new house does not include a garage and you really want to build one, you will need to include that in your budget.

The cost to build a garage varies greatly. It depends on the size, the products you use, and if you build it yourself, or hire someone to build it. It could be anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 to build a garage on your property.  

Garage Door Opener

Even if your new house includes a garage chances are good that if you want a remote garage door opener you will have to buy it yourself and pay to have it professionally installed.

window coverings

Interior Decorating

Another expense to factor into the cost of buying a brand new home is furniture and window coverings.  The amount of new furniture that you will need will of course depend on where you are moving from.

If you are moving out of your parent’s house, you will probably need a lot of furniture. If you are moving from a house of a similar size to your new house, you may only need a few items.

Make a list of the items that you will need to buy and do a search online for prices so that you can add those amounts into your budget.

As well, one thing that you will definitely need is new window coverings.

The price of window coverings varies greatly and there are quite a few different products to choose from. You could go with wood blinds, draperies, shutters, honeycomb shades, and so on.

You also have the option of buying and installing the window coverings yourself or hiring a professional.

The overall cost for window coverings could be anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000, or more, depending on the style you choose, and how many windows you have.

One thing to keep in mind is that the width of the window is what increases the cost of the window coverings, so if you choose a new house with large wide windows you can expect to pay a lot for window coverings.

When it comes to buying a house you may be the type of person that always looks for a brand new house or you may be the type of person that stays away from brand new houses. Quite often a person will say that they will steer clear of brand new houses particularly because of all of the additional costs that are mentioned above.


    • Savvy Scot

      Savvy Scot 10/09/2012 3:54 a.m. #

      15K to develop a basement? Woaahh! I would do it myself I think :D

    • Michelle

      Michelle 10/09/2012 6:25 a.m. #

      I like both new and older houses. I think older houses have charm.

    • Debt and the Girl

      Debt and the Girl 10/09/2012 9:50 a.m. #

      Amen, sister. I love posts that actually give you an idea of how expensive it can be to own a home. I think that too many people are in love with owning a home without actually thinking about the costs associated with it. Then thats when disaster strikes and people learn the hard way. Experience is the best teacher.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 10/09/2012 4:27 p.m. #

      @Debt and the Girl - You are so right! We fell in love with the design of the home and the large back yard and didn't even take into account how much all this all the stuff would cost. Lesson learned! Fortunately when we sold it in 2009 we made quite a bit of money, so the costs were more than covered, but still...

    • Catherine

      Catherine 10/09/2012 5:30 p.m. #

      The other thing to consider is builder upgrades..most people aren't happy with builder basics and want the granite etc...Having bought and renovated a house our next (and forever)home will probably be built but not in a 'cookie cutter subdivision'. We'll most likely buy land and build w/ a contractor and put our own sweat equity in it-I'd never pay someone to finish a basement and don't want the restrictions of using the sub contractors the planner is using in the cookie cutter sub divisions. Friends of ours just bought a house in a new development and ended up paying over 50k in upgrades when all was said and done- these upgrades one could have done for well under 25k had they not used their planner.

    • Holly@ClubThrifty

      Holly@ClubThrifty 10/10/2012 8:07 a.m. #

      We have never bought a new house before but these are great tips. Moving is expensive anyways. I had never thought about landscaping- that is a great point!

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 10/10/2012 1:15 p.m. #

      @Catherine - I forgot to include the builder upgrades. We did upgrade to granite and stainless steel appliances as well as tile floors. Now a days all of those items are included and no longer considered upgrades by many of the builders in our province.

      Like you, we too would like our next home to be on a larger parcel of land with a custom builder.

    • CanadianBudgetBinder

      CanadianBudgetBinder 10/11/2012 8:28 p.m. #

      I am not a fan of new homes in a new neighbourhood as I find it to be too clinical. I prefer the neighbourhoods that are established and still you need all of the above that you mentioned. I think many people tend to forget the 'extra expenses" involved with purchasing a home. I don't think I'd pay 40k for landscaping or 15k to finish my basement let alone have someone install a garage door opener lol. What I will pay for is tradesmen who need to do the work because I am not qualified and can cost me more in the long run if I muck it up. I also prefer a basement that is unfinished. We looked at so many homes and I could point out so many problems where I would have to rip stuff out. There is a point where we have to say.. if we don't know what we are doing.. pay a professional. Great post.. is that your house that you sold in the pictures.

    • Kim@Eyesonthedollar

      Kim@Eyesonthedollar 10/11/2012 9:37 p.m. #

      We built a house 8 years ago and I agree with all your points. Luckily, my husband did landscaping in college and was able to do that part for us, but we did have to buy a lawn mower and tools, plus trees and plants. Also, we had to purchase appliances. I don't have regrets, but if we ever move, I'd buy a house that already had all that.

    • CF

      CF 10/12/2012 12:18 p.m. #

      I don't know if Brian and I would ever buy a house, perhaps a townhouse one day, but we don't need a lot of space.

      However, I think that finishing a basement is a great home project that you could do yourselves rather than contracting it. Things like laying down a floor or finishing a wall are not as hard as it could seem. When I was a teenager, I helped my dad finish our basement by putting up walls, flooring and drywall/painting... it's not terribly difficult.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 10/12/2012 12:31 p.m. #

      @CanadianBudgetBinder - Yes those are pictures of the house we sold.

      @CF - I agree that doing a basement on your own isn't hard, but it would take a lot of time. We did discuss doing the framing and drywall ourselves. All we ended up doing was laying DRICore subfloor tiles to keep the basement warmer. Then we added nice area rugs as well.

    • American Debt Project

      American Debt Project 10/15/2012 10:04 a.m. #

      Yes on the lack of landscaping! And even when you buy an existing home the landscaping update can make a huge change in the feel of the home. I have yet to buy a place but I want to do everything myself since I am surrounded by talented people who do all this stuff for a living, but I have a feeling it's going to be different when it's my own place!!

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