How can you get the best for less when building a new home? Work with a builder who respects your choices and is dedicated to serving you. A cost-conscience builder will provide you with the best materials aligned with your budget and design preferences. He (or she) will watch for waste and excess on your behalf.
Here are several home building options buyers can make to contain cost yet still enjoy a quality, custom-built home.
• Check into the cost of permit and impact fees for new homes in the area. Some towns may have fees as high as $25,000 for a new family home, while the neighboring town’s fees might be under $10,000.
• Choose a lot that does not require blasting or clearing, does not have a high water table, has access to electricity, gas and sewer.
• Because square or nearly square shaped homes have fewer linear feet of exterior walls (and walls are one of the most expensive elements of the home), such homes cost less to build.
• Ranch homes cost more than two-story homes. Multi-story homes may provide the same amount of living space, but with a smaller roof and foundation, the expense is significantly less.
• Consider the length/width of the driveway when you decide whether to locate garage doors on the front or side of a home.
• Remember that smaller houses are more affordable to build and more economical to maintain.
• Minimize hallways and wasted space to create a more efficient floor plan.
• “Open” floor plans live larger and generally cost less – there are fewer walls.
• Even though the initial cost is higher, consider using energy-efficient appliances, heating/cooling systems and windows. But, before purchasing them, calculate the cost/benefit. If you plan to stay in the home for many years, the energy savings from these items will eventually pay for their extra cost – and then some. However, if you plan to move in a couple years, you may not want to opt for all of these products.
• Better insulation is the most cost-effective energy-saving item you can buy.
• If you want a great-looking kitchen on a budget, choose less pricey cabinets and put your money in the trims (crown molding, glass doors, etc.) and countertops. Expensive cabinets with a laminate top will cost more than moderately priced cabinets with a granite top, but the latter will look more expensive.
• Carefully choose your finish carpenter, tile installer and painter. No matter how well your home is built, if the finishes are not done well, your house will look cheap. Don’t let an amateur carpenter hang the cabinets. Be sure your painter sprays the trim.
• Upgrade your moldings. A 3.5-inch casing looks much more expensive than a 2-inch, but the incremental cost is minimal.
• Get that cushy expensive carpet feel with moderately priced carpet and an upgraded pad. Often the better pads far outlive the life of any carpet.
You can contain costs without sacrificing quality. At New American Homes, we do this every day for every homeowner. Visit Newport Cove, our waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes, to see for yourself.