Building Inexpensive Homes
To get high end finishes you want now but cannot afford, just phase them in over time. Plan your ideal finishes but break the work (and expense) down into stages. You can finish a kitchen without cabinet knobs and pulls and install them next year, or paint the countertop backsplashes and tile it later.
Despite over 30 years of home building experience, there is one home I have never built, and that’s a home with an unlimited budget. Every project has price constraints, but even a tight budget does not necessarily mean you must sacrifice the elements that will turn an affordable house into your dream home. To help you save money without compromising too much, I have compiled a list of the top ten things you can do to build an affordable home on any budget:
1. Build a two-story: The two most expensive parts of any house are the foundation and the roof. When you build two stories, you can double the floor area while halving the costly square footage of the foundation and the roof.
2. Think inside the box: The least expensive homes are simple rectangles and squares. You can add curb appeal with great colors and a few attractive architectural flourishes, such as great front porch.
3. Keep the roof simple: Complex roof lines not only add significant cost, but the risk of future leaks. A simple, not too steep roof will protect your investment over time.
4. Centralize the plumbing: Make sure to plan your heavy plumbing areas, including kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms in close proximity to each other, reducing the cost of running costly plumbing pipes all over the house.
5. Spend more on insulation: A well sealed and insulated house will not only save energy in the long run, it will save you money today by reducing the amount you must spend on larger heating and air-conditioning equipment.
6. Mix and match: Don’t limit your appliance and fixture choices to one brand. It’s perfectly okay to combine brands to buy best-deal appliances and fixtures. I recommend stainless-steel finishes, which mirror surrounding colors.
7. Upgrade later: If you’re going to cheap out, go cheap only on easy to replace items, such as surface mount light fixtures and vanity faucets, but never on built-ins, such as the tub and shower valve, and recessed lights.
8. Phase the finishes: To get high-end finishes you want now but cannot afford, just phase them in over time. Plan your ideal finishes but break the work (and expense) down into stages. You can finish a kitchen without cabinet knobs and pulls and install them next year, or paint the countertop backsplashes and tile it later.