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Do you remember the first time you drew a house?
Most likely, it consisted of the basics: a triangular roof, a square wall, a small window, and a door. Maybe you even added a tree and some flowers beside it.
As we grew older, we added more details to it, like a separate garage, a swimming pool, and a deck for barbeque parties and watching the fireworks every Fourth of July.
But when we became full-fledged adults, we realized that having our own homes is not as easy as it sounds. We find out the hard way that unless you have a sizeable inheritance somewhere, you will need a lot of hard work to get enough money for it.
Since you are here, you are likely interested in building a new home and want to know some tips on how you can possibly save on costs. Or, you want to have a clue on the total costs for it to see how much overtime you need to do to fund it.
If you keep reading, we will show you not just all of that but also the quickest way for you to find a construction contractor to help bring the home you have just been envisioning to life.
And if this is your first time to get a house constructed, we will also tell you all the basics you need to know before you start looking for a contractor and easily getting free new home construction quotes.
Steps in Building a New Home
What is the number one mistake to avoid when it comes to home construction? Rushing.
We all can’t wait to finally take the first step inside our new home, so a lot of us end up taking shortcuts before construction starts. But most of the time, it backfires and results in costly mistakes.
When it comes to a home construction project, having no concrete plans in store before breaking ground is a terrible idea. You must make sure that everything has been completely planned out before the builder starts working; if not, you need to stock up on Tylenol and Advil for all the headaches you will be experiencing.
Constructing a new home starts with these necessary steps:
- Selecting an architect and interior designer – you may already have an idea in your head, but an architect will help you not just with the design aspects but also on the vitals, such as layouts of utility lines and your plumbing system.
Not all architects can work on all the design aspects of your home, so you may also have to find a separate interior designer for it. This is crucial, and the search for it can takes weeks. Take time not only to look at their portfolio for design concerns but also the services they offer that fit your budget.
- Conceptualizing the design – no, that drawing you did decades ago will not work. There must be proper schematic designs, and only licensed contractors are qualified to create them.
This stage covers not only the creation of such designs but also revisions you may want to have. Also, estimated costs will often be included in the proposed designs. Expect to take as long as a week or even months for larger projects.
- Finding a contractor – you can start your search for a contractor once you and your architect have come up with the final schematic design for your home. Choose a contractor who can do the job properly and help you cut costs without compromising quality.
One of the best ways to screen them is to ask them for estimates of the project based on your schematic design. Do note that setting up an interview with a contractor can take weeks and getting quotes from them normally takes longer.
- Starting to shop around for materials – you can start looking around hardware and home improvement stores even before finalizing your schematic design; you can even get design inspirations through it. Doing so can also help in making closer or more accurate estimates for the project.
- Securing permits – before your contractor can start working on your property, getting the necessary paperwork is a must. The waiting time for this will depend on your state and how large your project will be; it can be as fast as just a day or take as long as a few years. You must also pay fees to secure them, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- Creating a contract with your chosen contractor – once the permits are secured and you have decided on what materials to use, your contractor can give you the final pricing for the entire project and then create a contract once everything has been ironed out. Feel free to negotiate with them until you both agree on the terms.
All these steps are important if you want to avoid hiccups that will delay your home construction project, or even stop it altogether.
Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home
Some mistakes can be ignored, but not those involving home construction; even the smallest blunders can greatly affect the entire project during the construction phase. Or worse, it may compromise your home and make it unlivable in just a short time after you finally get to move in.
If you want to avoid these scenarios, you must avoid making these common mistakes that a lot of homeowners do when it comes to home construction projects:
- No fixed budget – a lot of unfinished homes are the result of not having enough money to fund the remaining parts of the project, because the homeowners did not set a budget that they can stick with
- Not anticipating delays –late deliveries and other setbacks throughout the construction are common and your project timeframe must include allowances for it
- Relying only on DIY – to save, many homeowners just decide to do everything themselves. Not only is this very time consuming, it will likely lead to more expenses on your part in the end.
- Lack of contract – when hiring the services of a professional, always sign a contract first to have proof of your agreement if things go south and when the results are not what you agreed on
- Changing plans while construction is ongoing – if you decide to make revisions once construction is already underway, prepare to spend a lot not just on new materials but also the changes needed on the already existing structures
- Not having your home meet the requirements to be Energy Star certified – those that have Energy Star certifications are known to save energy by as much as 30%, and this helps you cut costs on your monthly bills. Also, some states offer financial perks for energy-efficient homes.
- Poor use of space – a maximized floor space doesn’t mean having very large bedrooms but no storage area. It means spaces are properly utilized to be livable and functional to meet your needs.
- HVAC system is not enough – using insufficient systems will not only not warm or cool your home properly but it may also result in poor air quality, mold growth, and excessive moisture
- Improper rooms – you don’t have to get twenty rooms if you think you are not going to use all of them, even with guests. You should also be strategic when it comes to the number and placement of your rooms; if you want the best sleep, make sure bedrooms are in the quietest area of your home.
- Not future-proofing – your home should be suitable for your needs not just this week but for years to come, even if you plan to eventually sell it.
- Going beyond your budget – make sure that you still have enough money left to fund the rest of the construction before you buy that whirlpool tub you keep looking at
- Focusing on impressing others, not your needs – as much as you want to leave your guests in awe of your home, prioritize what your household needs. Don’t allot a room for a library just because your mother-in-law said so, even if there is no bookworm in your household.
- Relying on the contractor – you should make all the major decisions and just consult your contractor and architect, not let them handle everything and agree to all they tell you
- Not utilizing natural light – you don’t want a home that requires you to switch on your lights even during the day because it is just too dark inside. Maximize natural light to also save on your electrical bills once you move in.
- Skimping on materials – all the support structures are tailor fit to your home, so don’t ask your contractor to lessen their use of bars, or use substandard materials, just to cut costs
The construction phase is admittedly a stressful time for a homeowner. And if you commit these mistakes, you might find your home as a constant source of discomfort, not a sanctuary.
All that wasted money on unused areas of your home and wondering if it is going to hold up during a storm is going to be one of your constant thoughts.
Factors Affecting How Much It Costs to Build a House
Although the cost of labor and materials take up the huge bulk of your budget when it comes to home construction, your expenses do not stop there. There are also other factors that may influence the final cost of building your new home.
Familiarize yourself with these major factors to avoid spending beyond your budget:
- Total size – bigger homes may turn out to have a lower cost per square foot, but you generally still spend more for them in total compared to small homes.
- Ground preparation – to make sure your foundation and other support structures of your home will hold up well, the ground they will be installed in has to be properly prepared first. Unless you are building a house in a developed land, it means doing clearing and excavation work first.
- Location – some states have higher construction costs than others. The Northeast and West regions have higher rates compared to Midwest and South regions, and their costs per square foot have significant differences.
- House shape – each corner of your home adds up to the total cost of the construction. You may want to rethink all those corners if you want to lessen your costs
- Total stories or floor level – the more floors you have, the more you have to pay not just for its actual construction but also in the design phase because these pros also have to make separate designs for each level
- Choice of roof – the price of a roof is affected not just by your chosen roofing material but also the type of roof; some types are harder for a roofing contractor to work on and results in increased labor rates, and some materials can get quite expensive
- Other features – such as an above-ground pool, deck with an outdoor kitchen, or any other similar spaces
- Chosen finishing or fixtures – keep in mind your remaining budget when selecting your tiles, wallpaper, paint color, and other finishes and fixtures, as their costs tend to quickly accumulate without your notice. Ask the pros for cheaper alternatives; they are knowledgeable in that aspect.
- Home appliances – each home appliance can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars. You can always postpone buying top-of-the-line models to lessen your current expenses.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?
Now that you are aware of the many factors involved that can cause your expenses to go out-of-hand, it helps to get an idea on the ballpark figures on how much your budget should be before starting on your home construction.
If you are planning to have a home similar in style to those in your neighborhood, you can get an idea on how much you may spend on yours by comparing the prices of newly-built homes up for sale. Subtract the lot price to get the price of the house, and then divide it by the square footage to get its cost per square foot.
On average, a new home construction in a conventional style costs $291,000 and has a typical cost per square foot of $150. It usually ranges from $147,000 to $437,000, but you can get a home constructed for as little as $12,000 to as high as $750,000.
But if you want a custom home, you will need a bigger budget for it. Because of the wide variety of options, the price range is a lot bigger and more difficult to estimate. To build one, you should have a budget between $350,000 to as much as $1.5 Million, and the cost per square foot for a custom home will range from $100 to $400.
To help you out, here is a breakdown of the basics needed to build a home and their price range:
- Site Work – $10,000 to $25,000
- Covers local permits, impact fees, and other legal requirements, inspections, connecting to the local power, water, and sewer lines, and architect and engineer fees.
- Foundation – $4,000 to $40,000
- Involves clearing plants and other debris, site grading, topsoil removal, and creation of foundations and their installation and backfill. If excavation is required, it will greatly increase the cost, especially if heavy equipment and bulldozers are needed
- Framing – $1,500 to $50,000
- Will depend on how large your entire home is going to be and your choice of framing material. It also includes roofing framing and other similar wood or metal work.
- Exterior Finishing – $30,000 to $60,000
- Includes exterior walls, windows, doors, siding or claddings, and roofing. A lot of materials are used at this stage, and the cost is largely dictated by the type of materials used.
- Installation of Major Systems – $30,000 to $50,000
- Only covers the setup and installation of HVAC, plumbing, and electrical lines, not the appliances and fixtures that can connect to it.
- Interior Finishing – $60,000 up
- Takes up the most of your budget, since it covers fixtures, flooring, cabinets, countertops, installation of drywall, painting, appliances, insulation, and interior trims, among others
- Final Construction Details – $10,000 to $17,000
Your construction budget should always include extra funds to avoid suddenly running out of money because you had to pay for something unexpected. Ideally, you should add as much as 5% of your total budget for your emergency fund to cover these scenarios.
How to Save Money When Building a House
A new home construction is going to be a very expensive project. But, it should not hinder you from getting that house with a picket fence you always wanted.
You don’t have to save a million dollars first before finally deciding to build your dream home; you can start anytime, even with a limited budget.
There are so many ways for you to cut costs on a home construction project, and here are some of the best ways to do so:
- Research is essential – check out open houses, browse through books and magazines, and look around different neighborhoods to know what exactly you want your home to look like and what you want to see inside it.
- Finalize the important details ahead of time – don’t wait until your contractor starts working on the finishes before deciding that a marble countertop works best for your kitchen, or that you prefer wooden floorboards over carpet. Decide on the essentials even before construction starts. You can even start buying materials and furniture ahead of time, as prices tend to go up every now and then.
- Secure a lot with the help of alerts – lot prices tend to go up and are difficult to come by, but also include properties that are foreclosed or owned by banks in your search; they are cheaper and more widely available. And to make your search easier, subscribe to alerts that will notify you when properties in your choice of neighborhoods are up for sale.
- Find out the cost of living in your chosen neighborhood – aside from construction costs, you will also have to deal with living expenses afterwards. If you can’t afford the cost of living in your first choice of neighborhood, you are better off finding a property with lower daily expenses.
- Choose the right builder – contractors will vary not just with their rates and other fees but also in the services they offer. Find one that will help create a house within your budget, offer you great value for every dollar paid, and listen to your wants and offer suggestions based on them. Don’t give your builder complete control over the project; speak out when needed, as the result may turn out differently from what you wanted if you just say yes to everything.
- Check mortgage rates and home loan options – if paying for everything in cash is not possible for you, loans are the way to go. Different loans have different mortgage rates and terms, so make sure to compare possible construction loans you can avail of. Never settle for the first one you see, but go with the one that will not put too much burden on you financially.
- Use your builder’s discounts and compare – builders can get discounts at any time. Check with your builder if there are materials and others items you are eyeing that they can get at discounted prices. Don’t forget to check various ways to get discounts; you may even get to save more through them compared to the builder’s discounts.
- Look for cheaper alternatives and check out the discounts section – as much as you want to get that chandelier that you can barely afford, find something similar instead on stores that offer cheaper prices, or in discount stores themselves. Also, don’t forget to ask stores for their discounted stocks, remnants, and closeouts up for sale; they have heavily discounted prices.
- Outsource to family and friends – if they can help you out with your home construction project, do not hesitate to ask them for lower rates. And if it is possible, you can even cut costs by doing some of the work yourself; just ask your builder first before doing so.
- Take advantage of discounts and free stuff – all those boxes that are not being used by your friends and family will come in handy once you start moving in to your new home. And instead of hiring movers, you can promise them free pizza in exchange for their help. Also, get discount cards and sign up for their rewards programs – they will be a big help to you.
These are guaranteed to help you save up to thousands of dollars in the total cost, and there are also other ways for you to do so that are not in the list.
While you should go for the cheaper route, you also need to splurge on those that will affect your home and your comfort inside the home. Spending wisely does not necessarily mean always going for the lowest priced items. It means knowing when to save and when to splurge on the essentials.
Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
There’s nothing like the rush of finally seeing your dream home starting to come to life, and your chosen builder will play a huge role in making that happen.
Finding the ideal contractor is not going to be easy. Sure, there are plenty out there but the worst decision you can make is immediately signing a contract with the first one you see; it is not just the materials you want for your home that you should make comparisons, but even with the pros.
We understand that construction projects are going to be time-consuming, so you want to speed up the process whenever possible. Fortunately, there is a shortcut when it comes to finding a contractor to help build your new home.
How does a free, no-obligation service that allows you to get quotes from up to four different contractors, all without leaving your home, sound to you?
Interested? Here is what you should do: fill out our online form, and… that’s it.
It’s really that simple and will only take minutes!
Afterwards, wait for interested contractors to contact you with their free quotes. And because they are aware of their competition, expect to get competitive quotes from them. They know that the best way to attract potential clients is by offering tempting quotes and other services, and that is what they will entice you with.
You can then select one from them, or even none at all if all their offers are not what you are looking for.
You’re not losing anything when you use our service; in fact, you will even gain a lot from it!
So, try it out today and let’s start building your new home asap!