Save $35K: Build Your House with Those Simple Tricks

My husband and I met about 6 years ago. We spent the first year together building our future house. We built it ourselves and subcontracted what we couldn’t do. The choices we made were ours. Still, we were young and we surely did make some small mistakes. Although I’m quite satisfied with the results and wouldn’t sell it just yet, I know for a fact that I’d save more money if we were to rebuild a new one.

Carefully Choose your Neighborhood

My sister is living in a peaceful area where all houses are surrounded by plenty of trees on lands 25k square feet or more. I’d literally die to have such a land! However, it is impossible for us, as my husband has to stay close to the city for his work. On top of living in this little piece of heaven, she has the luck to be able to save money on her landscape layout. She never grew real grass so she hasn’t needed to treat it as well. Her driveway is not paved and she arranged the flower border in front of the house with her husband. They worked hard to make it very charming and visibly appealing, but they didn’t have to put thousands of money into their land.

Clean landscapes, ornamental flowers, green treated grass, nicely paved driveways, etc. characterize the neighborhood where we live. Of course, we did all this. We had to in this neighborhood. On top of that, our land was not equal so we had to have someone upgrade it with costs totaling $30k.

If I were to rebuild, I’d choose a different neighborhood where less is more and would save at least $10k!!

Waiting Might Be a Bad Idea

As I mentioned, we were young and didn’t have that much money. There are some things we decided to wait for in order to have a lower mortgage now. One example is the air conditioner. I wasn’t sure we truly needed it as I prefer having the windows open. Since our house is a two stairs one (plus basement), it gets very humid during summer in the upstairs rooms. After one year in the house, we admitted we couldn’t stand it anymore. Window air conditioner were just not enough to keep bedrooms comfortable. We surely regretted our choice when we spent over $6k (with a discount because we knew the guy) to get it installed. Since they had to open some walls, by drilling in the bricks to get in the roof, installation costs were higher than if we had done it while the house was being built.

If I were to rebuild, I’d save an extra $2k to get the air conditioner installed.

The Simpler the Better!

I could describe the design of my house as traditional/rustic. It comes with big rooftops, architectural details, curved windows, etc.

When compared to simpler houses relatives got built, I paid an extra $10k just for the roof trusts!

Even the interior reflects it. There is not a room that is perfectly rectangular or square. There’s always a detail making it good-looking but also more expensive to produce.

Such details in rooms also result in extra time to cut and install materials.

If I had plain rectangular rooms, I’d save an extra $5k!

I must admit I like decorating and living in a nice place. No wonder that I followed the architectural inspiration of the house in other choices, such as wooden interior doors and a curved wooden stairs with carved and sculpted details. This might not be an obligation, but it really is in style with the whole house.

If I were to rebuild, I’d save an extra $4k by choosing simpler stairs and plain white OSB interior doors.

In order to respect our house’s style, we finished up the basement – hmm, not quite finish yet, but almost… can’t wait to get over it! It has moldings on the walls and details on the basement’s columns. Again, this was our choice, but I think I’d make it different if I were to start over. It looks nice, but I’m not sure it’s worth the investment.

A simpler basement would save me $4-5k more!

The last points all refer to our house’s plan. Choosing a different drawing would have helped them all. Another example is the storage units all over the house. Despite the fact that our house is large enough for us, we are lacking closets in many places, such as on the ground floor and the upstairs bathroom. Bedrooms wardrobes don’t seem enough too. I did manage to add some more, but it demanded some work that we had to pay for. I got our walk-in organized to compensate our storage problem in the bathroom, and I also had someone build some cabinets in the kitchen’s roof in-between.

Choosing a design with more integrated storage would cost $2k less!

Basically, 3 main points add up to the grand total of $37k in savings!!

  • Choose your Neighborhood According to Your Needs and Its Must-have that can Impact on Your Budget
  • Take Time to Calculate the Consequences of Waiting to Get Something Installed Once the Construction is Done
  • Compare the Costs of Different Architecture/Design Before Making Your Final Plan Choice

All that being said, I like my house and feel deeply attached to it. I can’t truly regret these choices, but I would certainly make different ones if I had to start again. Maybe $37k over a whole house seem low, but it results in almost 2 years more on our mortgage! Think about it! 😉

What about you? What how would you choose your house differently?

Image credit: House Drawing, Suburbs, Dining area from my own library, Simple stairs, Built-in Bathroom Storage

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