Build Your Own House

Cutting Construction Costs

Summary: The best time and place to save construction costs on a new home is when you are selecting a new home plan. The size of the new home, shape of the new home, roof style and roof pitch are major areas of new home design that affect new construction costs.

Your first chance to save a lot of money is now, when you are selecting the plans for your home. Think about the following issues.

▪ Do you need that many square feet? Every reduction you can make in square footage will cut construction costs.
▪ One story or two? It’s cheaper to build the same number of square feet of house in a two-story house vs. a one story house. 
▪ What is the shape of the perimeter or foundation of the house? A simple rectangle is the cheapest to build. Curves, extra corners, and extensions in the floor plan will all increase costs.
▪ What style is the roof? The least expensive roof is the common gable roof. Dormers and multiple gables make the roof more difficult to build and therefore more costly.
▪ How’s your timing? If you’re building when there’s a lull in construction (such as in winter), chances are you’ll get your money’s worth — and maybe a bit more.

Make Changes Early

Try to make all changes in the house plans before you start construction.

You need not have the plans redrawn for minor changes such as moving, adding, or deleting a window or door, but you should if you move walls or change roof lines and roof pitches. Once construction starts changes are expensive, so make your decisions on paper (blueprints) and live with them or expect high cost overruns.

Pay strict attention to what is in the floor plans. Picture yourself walking through the house from room to room. If you are unsure as to whether a room is large enough, find a room of about the same size in another house, and compare.

This is a good time to mention the only two tools you’ll need as a general contractor: a 25-foot tape measure and a cell phone.
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