Building a house on a budget involves fully understanding how time is related to money. The more time you spend shopping, and the more of the work you can do yourself, the less it will cost. Creativity is also a ready substitute for money. Many people save money on housing with creative design and use of materials. In general the more time hired workers spend working on your home, the more it will cost. There are several options open to the budget minded, which cut costs based on these principles.
Shells and kits are perhaps the easiest way for building a house on a budget without risking some disaster due to inexperience. It is important however, to do your homework on the kits and shells offered by budget builders. Just because you are saving money, is no reason to compromise on foundations, floor joists, wall studs, rafters or quality roofing. Make sure you get a quality kit or shell, with adequate materials to complete the job correctly.
Unless you are very experienced it is best to either allow the kit or shell dealer to build your home they offer such a service. If not you may want to hire a general contractor. If that is not possible you may be able to employ a capable carpenter and his crew to subcontract. You will also need to hire a licensed electrician, and probably a plumber.
With a shell or shell kit, you are usually responsible for hiring contractors to build a foundation and do the rough plumbing. Then the shell is constructed. The shell includes framing, sheathing, siding, windows, doors and the roof. Sometimes drywall or other interior wall finish is included, but other kits do not provide this. Once the home is complete on the outside, the owners can hang the drywall, install stock cabinetry, put in the flooring, and paint the interior themselves.
Be sure you know exactly what each kit you are comparing includes. It may be that one kit may cost more because it includes something the others don’t. It requires a bit of math to know which kit is actually cheaper, and a bit of knowledge to know which kit is not desirable at any price because of low quality. For more information on home building, please download our free 98 page guide at the top right of this page, and enjoy the rest of the articles on this site.
One way to get a shell is to simply ask your local home builder to complete the shell. This is one of the safest ways to get a shell. Another is to find a shell or kit dealer who installs the shell or kit on your lot. Sometimes kits are simply dropped off on your lot, and then you are responsible for getting it assembled, before it gets water damage.
Some shells are stick built, others are prefabricated in panels. Log kits often include hewn logs ready to put together like a very heavy erector set. This is hard physical labor, but if you are up to the strain it isn’t that complex. You will need a few guys to help you, just because of the weight. You will also need help putting in the roof trusses and that will probably require a crane as well, no matter what type of home you are building. There are insulated concrete panel kits, stick built kits, log kits, log panel homes, structural insulated panel kits, and even Ferro Cement dome kits. It takes quite a bit of research to decide which kit is best for your application, but the savings can be well worth it.
Once you have your shell built, your home is in the dry and you may choose to take your time completing it. With interior finishes one can save a great deal of money by bargain shopping. Use carpet and vinyl flooring remnants and scraps for small rooms, these can be obtained very cheaply. Shop around for inexpensive countertops. Sometimes there are bargains to be had at flea markets and salvage stores, on all sorts of trim and other materials. Use your imagination, and shopping savvy to save on the interior. Building a house from a shell, can be fun and exciting way of building a house on a budget.