Cutting cost Tips for young Home Builder

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  #1  
Old 02-03-05, 03:12 PM
Dana1000
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Cutting cost Tips for young Home Builder

Hello Everybody,

My boyfriend and I have elected to build a home rather than pay some outrageous amount for a townhoue. (we leave in d.c. metro area )
We already have the land and looking for the most ECONOMICAL way to build a 2-story home.
Could you guys share any tips you may have on cutting costs during this process eg. Using pre-cut vinyl, not finishing basement, etc.
Thanks in Advance,
Dana
 
  #2  
Old 02-03-05, 08:43 PM
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Location: santa Rosa, California
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Dana,

The largest expense in constructing any home is in the finish products you choose. For example tile is a very expensive floor and counter top material as opposed to Vinyl for floor and formica for counter tops. If you choose an affordable product such as Milguard for windows rather than a high end brand such as Pozzi, Anderson or Marvin.

In the framing you will need to decide ceiling heights such as a standard 8'-1" ceiling or high ceilings such as 9' or 10' ceilings. If you are going to vault the ceiling or keep it flat. If you want 2x6 exterior wall framing or if 2x4 with r-15 insulation will suffice. If you choose a cut up design with lots of odd angles, steep pitched roofs, or any other oddities that add great character to the house this will also add cost.

For economy sake the more simple the design the more money you can place on the finish.

I would suggest that you start with a wish list of all the features and rooms that you would like. Then set a budget. You will have to prioritize those features and items you want and select those ammenities which are within your budget.

I hope this helps you as you start your new home.

Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
 
  #3  
Old 02-05-05, 08:20 AM
Dana1000
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Great tips Brian!! So keep it simple you say Do you think a builder would be very open to us buying the tubs sinks, etc.
 
  #4  
Old 02-06-05, 02:01 PM
T
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You should be able to work with your builder and shop around for some good deals for fixtures and other items for your home.
 
  #5  
Old 02-10-05, 11:30 AM
tim_gardner
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We are in the finishing stages of building our house. We went over budget $50K on "extras". But there are some ways to save money. Our house is almost 5000 square feet, but even so it is a significant savings when you start adding up $1000 here and there.

Here are a couple things we didn't think about up front where we had to spend extra money. Add them to your budget now, or at least feel comfortable you have considered them.

Flooring - we assumed 3/4" hardwood, he bid carpet, so we paid the difference. Doors - we have 10' ceilings so we used 8' doors (paid extra), and then there's hollow core vs. solid core doors with a price difference. We live in Texas where there are no basements so we have a concrete foundation - in the entry hall and kitchen we stained the concrete and will use it as our finished floor - they score designs and stain different colors (came out beautiful and it's cheaper than other flooring, even tile).

Here's probably the coolest things we saved some money on - sinks. If you look on Ebay and search "vessel sink" there are hundreds of different styles. We bought above counter copper sinks for $100 (my builder wanted $250). We bought the really big glass bowl sinks for the master bath and paid $40 each! They're over $300 at Lowes. Just be careful that the sinks that sit above the surface of the counter tops need taller faucets, or faucets that come out of the wall. The options are endless. We tiled the countertops in the bathrooms instead of granite to save a few bucks. Even the iridescent 1x1 mosaic tiles are cheaper than granite and they look awesome.

I could go on and on about the things we've learned during this process... The more you consider up front, the better prepared you will be for the experience.
 
  #6  
Old 02-11-05, 09:23 AM
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Dana,

As a contractor there are always several items that become allowances rather than bid items. It is in the finish, caroet, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, tile etc... that unless an owner has pre selected those items the only way to give a price is through allowance. My suggestion is to let the contractor know that you will purchase those finish products and have his sub contractors install so that you are only paying the contractor mark up on the labor. The item that is important to remember is that if you want the contractor to be responsible for the items he does have to have his markup as this is the money he makes for the effort of overseeing the work and for his risk if anything goes wrong now or in the future.

I would simply ask him if he is agreeable to these suggestions as I never took offense at my clients trying to save money. I just would not take the liability if I was not paid for the risk and management.

Good luck!


Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
 
  #7  
Old 03-25-05, 12:02 AM
N
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Dana what skills do you have in home building?

I don't know your taste or desires in home design but being your own contractor can save you some money but it's alot of work. Keep the design simple a square box with no fire place is about as cheap as it comes. I live in your area with house prices going nuts I would concentrate on something simple with more square footage than a fancy design with many arches and a complex roof. If your place is nice it doesn't have to be fancy to get top dollar on resell. In ten years people will be glad if they can afford any house in the dc area. Resale won't be a problem. Hvac, electric ,plumbing,painting and drywall work can save you alot of money if you do it yourself. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to do electric but you may need someone to make sure your following code. I would seek out a consultant that will help you over the hurdles and keep you on track. I'll give you an example what I mean. I know how to install water heaters gas,oil, electric but without a license I can't do it legally in washington.dc so what I did was offer my consulting services to people I basically teach them on sight and they do the actual install and I get paid about $25 an hour as opposed to a plumber charging them hundreds for getting the same thing accomplished. Same goes for plumbing and electrical work the home owner can do the work themselves legally I just teach them how and make sure they do the work correctly. I help people get permits and stick to code. People learn alot more by doing than watching it's money well spent. Next time they may not need my services and can tackle it alone. You may want to pick up a current copy of construction estimator I have learned from experience if a contractor sees you want to save some money doing some work yourself they won't help you save a fortune. If they get $12,000 profit from building the whole house usually they will let you do some work but they will still get most of their profit. What I mean is it isn't proportional if they leave you 20% of work to do yourself it doesn't mean you save 20%. You may do 20% of the work and they still get 95% of the profit they would have made had they done it all. I'm not saying all contractors are crooks but they are out to make money not save people money. I would not do the insulation it comes out about the same price to just have someone else do it. Don't be afraid to call in every favor you can get friends and family to help out push it to the limit even if you do owe alot of people favors when the home is completed. Most homes I have fixed up to rent got fixed up that way It took alot of pizza ,beer and favors to get work done. Good luck.
 
  #8  
Old 08-10-06, 07:38 PM
J
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My wife and I recently built our house.. We are 28 and 25 respectively.. We were on a budget as well as young home builders.. Some of the things we did/learned..

We decided to go with a modular house.. Modular's have come a long way in a lot of regards.. The price is usually a less then stick built, but it is buyer beware.. There are some manufactors which do great work, and others make and use crap.. The house specifications should be reviewed thouroughly..

As everyone has said, the extras kill you.. That is absolutly true.. The one rule my wife and I had, was take care of the stuff that is difficult to replace, and worry about the other stuff later...

Example, we upped the square footage now, so we didnt need to deal with it later... Addition additional footprint to the house is a major task and best dealt with in the beginning... To pay for that we sacraficed other things.. Passed on a granite countertop for a nice formica.. Theory being we could easily replace that at the time...

Tile floors in a lot of areas were replaced with high quality laminate which looks 90% like tile until you look closely.. I am not saying do everything on the cheap, just be mindful of what your spending your money on.. If something can wait a little, in exchange for something that would be a real pain in the a** later, then do it..

Another place we saved some money on was landscaping.. While backbreaking we were able to save a ton of money doing it ourselves...


Hope this helps
 
 

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