Building a Home on a Budget

A checklist and a calculator

By the time people get around to building a custom home, they’ve usually lived in enough places to know what they want in a house and what they definitely do not want. They also usually know what they’re willing to pay to make those desires a reality. It’s so hard, though, isn’t it? We want it all when it comes to our custom home – the pool and the four-car garage and our cake to eat too. And then…reality raises his hand and reminds us that we don’t have money for everything. Tough decisions are made, some negotiations among members of our household take place, and we arrive at an appropriate desires-to-budget balance. But what if we could the cost down below the budget through some strategies? Even more, what if we could stay on the budget but increase the number of boxes on the dream checklist we could check? Maybe we really can have some cake and eat it too. Building a home on a budget is something Babb Custom Homes knows plenty about. We help homeowners arrive at a perfect home plan that fits their needs and as many wants as possible, while also staying within reasonable bounds with costs.

Ways to Stick to a Budget

Tip # 1 You Can Up Instead of Out

Expanding the footprint of your home is tempting. Rooms are easier to access for individuals with limited mobility. No bulking staircases eating up your square footage. But adding floors instead of expanding the footprint saves on materials such as rock, roofing, and the increasingly expensive concrete, and labor costs for excavation, footings, and concrete work, among others. It’s also favorable for some people to have the bedrooms out of eyeshot of the common areas like living rooms and kitchens. 

Tip # 2 Keep It Simple 

Complex roofing configurations increase labor and material costs. The same goes with a floor plan. From the excavation all the way to the gutters, simple is cheaper because it takes fewer hours from the construction crew. Fewer hours translates to lower costs.  Gables, bay windows, complex floor plans – all of these and more increase those construction costs. If you want to save money but worry that it is too plain, look into nicer exterior finishes and landscaping. Dress it up with dynamic exterior design.

Tip # 3 Choose Your Lot Wisely

If you’re building a home on a budget, think through what sort of lot you want in regards to development. Some lots are ready made for access to utilities. Water, Gas, and Electricity are already trenched and run in many subdivisions or developments. Tying in to those ready-made utilities is easy. If you are building on an undeveloped property – one requiring rock blasting, tree removal, and significant excavation – getting the plot ready for the build will take extra time and money. In the construction world, time is money. 

Tip #4 Get your home plans finished quickly

Since your plans have to be submitted for approval, you are at the mercy of the permit issuers to build your home. Delays from unapproved permits can cost thousands of dollars. The same goes with changes made to the home plan. If you change your mind about the footprint or any other major elements, you will likely delay the construction, driving up the costs. So, discuss these things with your custom home builder and submit the plans exactly as you want them to be and don’t change them if you’re building a home on a budget. 

Tip # 5 Use an Experienced Contractor

Some people put more thought into picking the right photographer for Prom photos than they do home builders. Be sure to pick a builder that is experienced, because experience can save you money. There are so many details and snags that arise with most builds. An experienced contractor knows how to avoid those pitfalls and what to do if they occur. The experienced custom home builder also has relationships with suppliers and can often get better prices or better materials.

Tip# 6 Resource to Get Creative

If you are building a house on a budget, be proactive and research and ask questions of knowledgeable people, like your custom builder, for ways to save money. If you express what your goals are and what your limitations are, many people can help. Interior designers are an excellent resource for example. At Babb Custom Homes, we have in-house interior design and a lot of experience at saving people money. Just be assertive and talk to people. If all else fails, just ask your Aunt Janice. She knows everything. 

Babb Custom Homes wants to be your builder. We help homeowners develop and realize their dreams, bringing many years of successful practice at saving people money while still building beautiful, well designed and constructed homes. Contact us with interest or questions and let us earn your business!