Cut Costs, Not Corners - Save Money Before You Build

When your building a home, you wan to complete each step of construction with as little wasted cost as possible. Many people building a new home mistakenly believe that they can cut corners with regard to construction quality in order to save money. The result can be a disaster. Follow these tips for help on saving money while maintaining quality and style.


Open wood rails frame a setting with warmth without cutting off sight lines. A kitchen inhabits a defined space, but remains open to the breakfast nook and dining room. A pair of corner windows reach toward the ceiling and drench this guest room with light. Note the lowered sills, which allow an extra measure of radiance.

Master Bedroom

Dolling up standard fixtures can save you money in your master suite. There are scores of books that go into great detail on how to save money during the building process. You can use recycled building materials, inexpensive finish appointments, and energy-efficient appliances.

Brad Johnson, president of the Minnesota Society of the American Institute of Building Design, says that careful attention to the design aspects of a pre-drawn home plan can save you some green after you first break ground.

"Pay attention to the exterior first," he advises. "Strictly speaking, you should cut corners here. Choose a home plan without unnecessary jogs and angles, which add to your cost." There are very good designs on the market that have eliminated extraneous corners. Because these homes have simplified truss and framing systems, they save you money from the start.

Floor Plans

Examine the floor plan. When it comes to the interior, there are myriad ways to keep your cash in your pocket. For ceiling heights, truss systems can create panned (tray) ceilings, giving the effect of higher ceilings without building higher walls. If you love volume ceilings, look for 2-story or at least consistent ceilings, rather than staggered heights throughout a floor. "If you minimize the hoops your contractor must jump through, you'll pay less," says Johnson.

Keep an eye out for floor plans that use dead space smartly. Common solutions to this problem are niches, alcoves, and storage spaces like cabinets and closets.

Look for unobtrusive half-walls, which create interior vistas without adding extra framing costs. Generously spaced wood rails on staircases exude open-armed warmth. Speaking of staircases, it's best to keep them as straight as possible. Straight-run stairs are easier to build than double-backs and curved stairs. In the kitchen, island cabinets open the room and connect it to adjoining areas.

Plumbing and Electricity

In addition to eye appeal, don't forget what can't be seen. Start with plumbing. Does the plan you're considering allow for plumbing runs to be shared; that is, are bathrooms situated back-to-back? It will save you money both up-front and for future maintenance costs.

With proper placement and types of windows, you'll be surprised how small areas and dark spaces can come to life. Look for taller, single-unit windows that reach for the ceiling while the sill remains at the same distance to the floor.

You've heard enough about saving money after you've moved into your new home. It's time to save money before you build. Your contractor will thank you, and so will your pocketbook.

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