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Custom House Plans
Saving on Your Building Budget
Once you have made the decision to build a new home, the need to spend money wisely and look for the best values becomes increasingly important. No new homeowner wants to spend more than necessary when building a house. Building experts are not the only people that know how to save money on residential construction - you can too! Some of the decisions you make before and during construction will save on your pocket book. Look for efficiency, quality and value when making money-spending decisions. In the meantime, consider these budget friendly tips. You are sure to save money along the way from choosing your lot to moving into your new home.
Selecting a Lot
- Consider buying a less desirable lot. Typically, narrow or corner lots, in-fill property and rocky land are less appealing than other lots and do not sell quickly. It is likely that these types of lots will sell for a much lower price than the "flawless" lots. With an experienced builder and a suitable home plan, a potential "problem site" may work well for you.
- Perhaps you have found the lot you have been dreaming of, but it is much larger than you need or can afford. Consider purchasing the lot with a family member or friend. Split the lot into two smaller sites. Now you have a win-win situation. You just bought the perfect lot for a good price, and you already know your neighbors!
- Maybe you have always wanted to live on a golf course. Ask yourself, "Is it necessary that the back deck overlooks a fairway or green?" While it may provide you with a spectacular view, consider a lot where the golf course is visible from a side yard instead. Or maybe living on a street that passes by a golf course would be suitable. Either of these choices can still provide the same type of atmosphere without paying top dollar for a prime lot on the golf course.
- In a similar manner, you have always dreamed of living on the water, but lakefront or oceanfront property is far too expensive for your budget. Consider property on a bay or canal. Your home site will still be water accessible, but at a fraction of the price.
- If you plan to build in a neighborhood or subdivision, inquire about annual subdivision fees. If you choose an area that requires annual fees, find out what privileges you receive and consider whether or not it is a fair price. If it is not in your budget to pay a yearly fee in the years to come, look for a neighborhood in the surrounding areas that does not have these fees. It may not offer all of the same privileges, but maybe you can do without them.
- Choose a lot that is the most prepared for building without going over budget. Lots that require clearing, grading or other physical changes will add time to the building schedule and unexpected costs to the budget. The less work you have to do to prepare your building site, the more money you will keep in your pocket.
For additional information, please read Selecting a Home Site, Selecting a Neighborhood and Is This the Right Neighborhood and Community for You?.
Choosing a Home Plan
- You may think the only way to build your dream home is to have an architect design a custom house plan with all the features you desire. Consider buying a stock house plan. These plans are designed with today's most sought-after features, most likely the same things you are looking for in your new home. Stock plans offer an incredible value at a reasonably low price. Search our house plans to find one suitable for your needs. (See Everything You Need to Know About Stock Plans and Custom Home Plans Verses Stock House Plans.)
- Consider the type of space you want in your home. If plenty of living space is what you need, you may choose a two-story house plan over a ranch house plan. Choosing to build up instead of out will save a fair amount of money due to less foundation and roofing materials. (See Building Up Verses Building Out.) Or, it may be practical to build on a basement foundation and finish rooms on the lower level instead of adding width or depth to a single story home incurring more material costs. (See Beneficial Basements.)
- Maybe you are looking for additional storage space. Is it necessary to have extra closets and storage areas in you home or will an unfinished basement or attic be sufficient? Perhaps the bonus room over the garage is not practical for you. You will save time and money by choosing not to finish the space and create an inexpensive storage area instead.
Choosing Building Materials
- When it comes time to get bids on building materials, treat buying them the same as you would if buying a new car. You would not buy a car from one dealership if you knew the dealership down the road offered a better deal. Shop for competitive prices. Take a materials list to several different lumberyards in your area and ask for bids. Review the bids and identify the one offering the best value. Be sure they reflect comparable quantities and brands of materials.
- Consider using reusable materials when possible. Visit and search demolition sites and remodeling jobs for materials that may work for your new home. Often, light fixtures, unique windows and doors, old wood, and used stone and bricks can be salvaged from buildings being renovated or torn down. Sometimes even cabinets, appliances and furniture can be taken and reused at little or no cost to you, as long as the original owner is willing to give up the materials. You are not just limited to searching residential demolition sites. Consider hotels, churches and apartment complexes.
- Search lumberyards and other material suppliers for items that are being closed out or marked as clearance items. You may be able to find a great deal on kitchen cabinets that are being phased out and replaced with a newer model. You may be able to find a small remnant of carpet on a roll marked down to clearance price. Guess what? It might be just the right size for the office!
- Think about the materials going into your home that need to last a long time - cabinets, counter tops, vinyl siding, windows and decking, for example. (See Countertop Choices.) Select materials that are sturdy, durable, low maintenance and come with warranties. It is important that these materials are of high quality and will hold up over time. They may be a bit expensive when building, but over time, you will consider them "money savers," because you will not need to repair or replace them. Warranties are beneficial if something need to be repaired or replaced.
Building Your Home
- Select a builder or contractor you work well with. You will spend countless hours communicating your thoughts and ideas to your builder. It is important that you understand each other. It will save time and money in the long run if you only have to explain your ideas one time. (See Choosing a Contractor.)
- Make decisions about what you want for your new home before construction begins. Be specific about features, materials, brands, styles, etc. Follow through with the materials you selected and the decisions you made about the home. Making changes in material choices or to the floor plan once construction begins can be very costly and cause major setbacks in the building schedule.
- Consider your builder's thoughts and opinions. You may know exactly what you want, and have your own ideas of how to get it done when it comes to finishing your dream home. However, sometimes builders and contractors have suggestions to make simple improvements to your home. Residential building is their area of expertise. Listen carefully to what they suggest or explain and consider whether or not it is to your advantage to follow their advice.
- Roll up your sleeves! If you have the skills to complete any of the tasks involved in building your home, do them yourself. If you are an electrician, install light fixtures and outlets yourself. Can you lay carpet or install windows and doors? Any task you do yourself will undoubtedly save you money in labor costs.
- Perhaps you have plans to finish your basement in the future. It is wise to rough in the plumbing during construction. You will not have the hassle, mess, and expenses of tearing out concrete and connecting to waterlines at a later date.
- Make frequent visits to the job site. Walk through your home on a regular basis by yourself and with your builder paying close attention to structure, craftsmanship, materials and finished detail. Ask questions you may have and discuss elements of concern. If anything needs to be changed, corrected or adjusted, it is easier and less expensive to make changes as soon as you notice them instead of waiting until construction completed.
- Review your budget frequently. Be sure to stay as close to you budget as possible. Make exceptions when you need to, but do not over spend if it does not seem practical.
- Start packing well in advance of your move-in date. Pack items that you will not need until after you are settled in your new home such as knick-knacks, books, extra linens and blankets and out of season clothes. Plan to pack a couple of boxes everyday. Packing in advance will leave plenty of time for more important things the week of the move-in and save money on moving expenses.
- Think about breakable and fragile items. Instead of spending money on packing materials to cushion them, consider using household items such as towels and blankets to cushion and protect them in boxes. This means there are less linens to pack later.
- Just as you shopped around for building materials, shop around for a moving company. Get bids from various companies and compare prices and what they offer or provide. Be sure the company you choose is available on your move-in date.
For additional information, please read Planning Your Move.
Saving money while building a new home is important. While these money saving tips may help reduce your budget, keep an open mind and be creative. You never know what other "money savers" will come your way.
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