There are many ways to save, when building a new home, and costs associated with construction need not cripple your finances for the next 30 years. Most first time home buyers are shortsighted on costs, thinking only of the amount they have to spend. No matter how much or how little you qualify for, the fact is that your home will continue to either cost you money or pay you back for the rest of your life. Here are some tips to help you save on the long term cost of your home. I will start with the most significant costs first.
Building a New Home and Costs Tip #1: No 30 year loans go with a 15 year loan!
The concept of taking out a 30 year or 40 year loan is frightening to most people, and it should be. Interest on a 30 year loan, can nearly double the effective cost of your home. These long term loans are designed for maximum bank profits. Choosing a shorter term loan is the easiest way to save money when buying a home. A 15 year loan insures your family’s financial security in just 15 years. It pays off the home fast, so you don’t have to pay all that interest. A 30 year loan is designed to make you pay a lot more.
Smaller homes are not only less expensive to purchase, they are less expensive to heat and cool. The perfect modern home is between 750 and 1250 square feet. Building a larger home is wasteful, and will increase your utility bills for the life of your home.
Insulation absolutely pays for itself, and very quickly. Within 8 years maximum insulation will pay for itself. Use either six inches of sprayed in closed cell insulation, or 5 to 6 inches of polyurethane inside an insulated concrete panel. Radiant barrier attic insulation will also reduce your air conditioning costs.
Concrete insulated panels seem expensive at first glance but when you consider that they replace studs, siding, drywall, and the best insulation on the market, they are quite inexpensive. The energy savings involved in thickly insulated concrete panels are optimal as well to save even more money of the life of your home. They are also extremely durable, and will last at least 250 years.
To reduce the price even further, use six inch polyurethane panels covered with steel wire mesh and sprayed with shotcrete instead of Concrete Insulated Panels. This building technique gives the same benefits as insulated panels at a fraction of the cost. Maintenance on insulated concrete is almost non existent. By using colored dyes in the shotcrete, painting will never be necessary, on the interior or the exterior.
If you build a small, energy efficient home, solar panels can free you from electric bills forever, or even result in monthly checks from the electric company. Creating a self sustaining, off the grid structure is absolutely priceless, as well. Solar panels make your home self sufficient, and this will be increasingly important, as utility costs rise in the future.
While many people are deciding between various upgrades, this is merely a distraction from the real issues of home ownership. Some upgrades, such as those related to energy efficiency are crucial, and of course you should consider upgrades that are important to your lifestyle, but upgrades do little toward sustainability, or the real value of your home in most cases. A notable exception is hardwood floors, which increase the durability of your home. Be sure that you are getting traditional hardwood floors and not some thin laminate over ply-wood.
While it seems that a fireplace would defray the cost of heating, unless they are well designed, and modernized they allow more heat to escape than they replace. A simple solution is a woodstove fireplace insert or other efficient wood stove. Another solution is a fireplace design that incorporates air space behind the fire box, and fans behind panels in the openings which blow heat from directly behind the firebox. A fireplace constructed in this way puts out a lot more heat than a traditional fireplace.
Saving money on long term expenses is the best way to cut costs. When building a home, responsible home buyers think beyond the standard procedure of upgrades and expensive cabinets. Using your budget to build an efficient home that supports itself is much more important. For more information about building a new home and costs, please download our 98 page book, and read the many articles on this site that mention costs.