That moment has come when you have finally gotten into a situation where you are building your home. It might not necessarily be your dream home (after all, not everyone can afford a castle with a moat or a mansion on the hill), but it doesn’t have to be a financial nightmare either. It’s easy to go over your budget and keep your home in the black if you stick to some basic tips.
A relationship built on compromise
Real estate is all about location, location, location, but it also has a lot to deal with compromise. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are working to build your home, without cutting corners.
- Type of Land: Excavation can be an expense that isn’t all that obvious. Be sure to check if the land can be built on without expenses like leveling or clearing rocks. Other pitfalls to consider will be checking out an area for hazardous materials such as lead, asbestos, or other industrial waste. You will be liable for paying for the inspection and possibly the removal of these materials if you aren’t careful.
- Choose a Contractor wisely: As they say in baseball, never swing at your first pitch. Seek out multiple bids and then make a decision. They might even compete to make it worth your while to choose them.
- Size of House: Do you need a 6,000 square ft. mini-mansion? The going rate for houses is typically by the square foot. The bigger the house, the higher the cost. Also, the cost for upkeep and property taxes are reflected by the size of the house and acreage once the home is built. Ask yourself one important question: is this too much of a house for what I need?
- Reuse & Recycle: Reusing reclaimed parts can help you save money. If you are moving from another house, consider the appliances, fixtures, and landscaping you already own which can be used at the new place without affecting the value of your old home. Thrift stores and second-hand building stores also have a variety of items you can use for your home that is in great, if not brand-new condition!
- Source your own materials: If you have access to materials, why not be your own supplier? Contractors can be persuaded to use the materials you provide. This gives you a chance to check out the best deals, use materials that were given to you by a friend or family member, and keep costs down by controlling the materials and knowing exactly what the cost was.
- Choose a realistic aesthetic: Just because you appreciate the architectural genius of Frank Lloyd Wright, doesn’t mean you can afford to make your house into Fallingwater. Homebuilders have often found themselves in a lot of trouble when they go for expensive details such as authentic Victorian bronze cabinet pulls, or Italian wrought iron gratings. Keep things simple and within your budget and you’ll be happier in the long-run.
- DIY: One of the greatest assets you can put into your home is your own sweat equity. If you are familiar with things like installing your own tile, hardwood floors, or refinishing cabinets, make use of your talents and you’ll save thousands. Even if you aren’t a carpenter or a mason, it is possible to teach yourself some of the basics by watching YouTube videos.
- Long-term benefits only: If your build is good for only a one-off, it’s likely you don’t need it. Disposable decorations and fixtures cost you money that you will just throw into a landfill anyway. Think of the long-term and buy for that.
Budget smarter, not harder
You want to love your house, but you also want to be frugal and not cut corners. Going with cheap, temporary, and frankly ugly building materials isn’t going to cut it in the long term, but you should be aware of quality, workmanship, and opportunities to allow you to save and build the aesthetic you want without breaking the bank. Keep an eye on sales, vet out contractors with friends, online rating systems, and never be afraid to say “No.” By making a budget and sticking with it, you will be on your way to live in a happier home.