What Should I Avoid When Building My Home on a Budget?
A common misconception is that saving money on a home build simply involves buying cheap materials and DIYing it all. But just because it’s called a “budget build”, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the critical aspects of your property. In reality, it takes meticulous planning and a whole lot of forward-thinking.
To ensure that your project goes smoothly, we’ve put together a few things not to do when building a home on a budget:
Not having a Solid Plan in Place
We know you can’t wait to jump into your build, but don’t make the mistake of rushing your project! Spend as many months as you need to plan what your home will look like, reviewing (and re-reviewing!) details such as the number of rooms, materials, layout, and more. Don’t forget that changes made on paper or 3D models won’t cost much, but ones made mid-build can completely throw you off your budget!
It pays to partner with a company that can provide a detailed visualization of your architectural plans. This will help you picture yourself in your future space, spot potential issues early on, and edit your plans with ease. Trust us—the more time you spend planning, the less likely you’ll be to make changes mid-build, and the lower your costs will be.
Choosing the Cheapest Contractor You Find
Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of choosing the cheapest contractor they can find, thinking that it’s a great way to cut costs. Don’t do this. Contractors who offer unbelievably low rates will often cut corners by using low-quality materials and working with inexperienced labor. This results in poor workmanship, which will likely cost more to fix.
Be sure to only work with the best in the business. While it may cost more, it will be worth it as they’ll work around your budget, make sure your home is built to last, and meet your expectations.
Skimping on Materials
Saving is important, but don’t hold onto your money too tightly, particularly when it comes to construction materials. Skimping on critical parts of your construction (e.g. floors, roof, and plumbing) may seem like a smart, cost-saving measure, but it will only lead to more expensive home repairs in the next couple of years.
Think about it this way—if you choose cheap materials that you’ll have to replace every couple of years, will your savings really be that significant? It would be better to choose your base materials not based on their price tag, but on their longevity. It may cost more upfront, but it’ll be a worthwhile investment.
Going Over Your Budget
When it comes to building a home, don’t forget that your budget isn’t a guideline, but a rule you should strictly follow. If you’ve budgeted $280,000 to build your humble home, don’t spend any more than that, even if it’s only a couple hundred dollars. Spending a bit more here and there may seem inconsequential, but take it from us—once you overspend in one area, you will be tempted to overspend in other areas.
Let’s say you’ve set aside $1,500 for tiles, but you find the tiles of your dreams, so you decide to spend $500 more, bringing your tile budget to $2,000. Now that you’ve gone over budget with your tiles, you may think, “Might as well upgrade my wall materials, too.” As you can see, this mindset can easily lead to a cycle of overspending.
To avoid blowing your budget, make sure to communicate the changes you want to make with your contractor. They can help you carry out those changes while working around the restrictions you’ve set.
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DIYing things you shouldn’t DIY
You may want to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) route to cut costs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But only do this if you’re 100% confident that you can do it correctly, or if the tasks are fairly simple, such as painting the walls and caulking the windows.
However, for the tasks that you have no experience with, leave them to the experts. Otherwise, you may spend more money down the line. For example, if you were to install a toilet yourself and it ends up leaking, the cost to repair the leak could exceed what you would’ve paid a plumber.
Not Checking in with Your Contractor
You aren’t on a home improvement show, so don’t expect your home to be built without your input. Even if you can count on your contractor to get the job done, it’s still crucial to maintain constant communication with them.
Plan visits to your property to ensure that the build is proceeding as planned (but don’t linger—no contractor wants to deal with a micro-manager!). This will provide you with the opportunity to make any modifications while there’s still time. The last thing you’d want is to end up with a home that you regret.
Building a Home for its Future Buyers
Even if you plan to sell your home in a few years, your design decisions shouldn’t be based on how sellable it will be. Building a home with its future buyers in mind will only lead to dissatisfaction, and soon, you will want to remodel it—this can be as costly as building a new home.
Remind yourself that you’re building your home—the place where you’ll be spending most of your time—so make sure it thrills you every time you think about it! Create a space that’s a true reflection of your tastes, incorporating features that suit your lifestyle and amenities that meet your day-to-day needs.
Ultimately, building a budget home involves more than cutting corners where you can. It necessitates sticking to a plan, maintaining communication, and overall, making sure you’re satisfied with the results.
As you build your home, be sure to avoid these seven common mistakes that could put your budget at risk. This way, you can end your build with money left to cover the costs of what comes afterward: home maintenance!