There are many variables in creating a sample home budget. Common home features vary by geographic location based on climate and geographical differences, and prices vary according to the local economy as well. The cost of labor is a major factor as well. It is much more expensive to build a home in California than it is to build a home in Alabama. Different states vary greatly based on the overall economy of the area, the requirements of the climate, and local building codes and requirements.
The best way to consider a budget is to list the things it includes, and then look at places to save.
Before we go any further, you might also be interested in the following article: Custom Home Building Budget.
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Utilities to be attached to the house
Water: Well and septic or water and sewer Decided by Location No Choice
Electric service set up Price Pre Determined
Possible need for Gas or oil service set up more costly to use
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Fees
House plans and/or architect fees using a Pre-existing plan, can save money
Permits and Building Department fees usually about $300 – $600
Architect fees to draw up custom plans can be very costly. Over $10,000 is not unusual. Some home builders have house plans already which they simply adapt a little to fit your needs. This saves on architect fees. It is best to settle on a contractor before contacting an architect, even if you want a completely custom home. They can often get the job done cheaper. It is also cheaper to just adapt an existing plan which is very similar to your design. Your building contractor or home builder may be able to located plans that would suffice for this without paying an architect.
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Land preparation and Concrete
• Site Access, driveway and possible culvert – Possible to economize with gravel drive
• Excavation, grading and clearing of land Necessary
• Foundation or Slab Foundation is worth extra cost
• Other concrete for sidewalks, patios and etc Unnecessary – or could be done later
Land preparation and foundation can be very expensive. Home buyers may cut costs by avoiding or postponing projects not related to the house itself, such as sidewalks and etc. The foundation will probably cost between $10,000 and 30,000 depending on the size, and overall sight preparation could be guessed at $3,000 – $8,000. Even though foundations are more costly than a slab initially, the foundation will provide a more durable and lasting home.
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Materials
Frame Lumber for walls, trusses, rafters, sill plate and joists – Never try to economize on any of this, unless you prefer alternative green materials, such as insulated concrete panels. Otherwise go for heavy lumber regardless of cost.
• Plywood sheeting – Go for at least ¾ inch plywood for all applications, and heavier for subfloor.
• Lumber for decking and porches – Possibly save decking for a do it yourself project.
• Roofing materials – Go for the longest life asphalt shingles.
• Windows and/or skylights – triple glazed for energy efficiency. If necessary choose fewer windows, but don’t scrimp on quality.
• Doors and Garage door – Possible savings on quality for non exterior doors, and consider if you need a garage.
• Exterior siding and trim – Varies considerably – vinyl siding is cheaper than stone for example. However quality differences should be considered.
• Gutters and downspouts – small expense, and probably worth it, but not vitally necessary
• Fireplace and stove insert – There are pros and cons to installing a fire place but one of the cons is the expense. It’s more economical not to have one, and unless they are specially designed with blowers, and a well designed damper and flue, they do not offer any energy savings.
• Plumbing and fixtures – Hire a licensed plumber to install all fixtures. Save by using PEX pipe. It’s cheap, flexible, durable and easy to install. It is much more resilient than PVC or copper, and may even outlast galvanized. If not, it’s so much easier to fix or replace.
• Electrical wiring and trim – Use a licensed electrician, and make sure he uses wiring that meets or exceeds code requirements. Do not try to save money on quality, and trying to save with fewer outlets is something you’ll regret later.
• Insulation products – Use only the best and the highest R factor available
• Drywall – There is no way to save on drywall, unless you are able to do this yourself. Families with skills of this kind often have the contractor stop at this point and finish the rest themselves, either before or after dry wall. A dry wall job can cost from $5000 to $20,000 depending on square footage and labor costs. Drywall is not costly. It costs about
• Paint and wallpaper – Most people are perfectly competent to do their own paint and wallpaper, however depending on your contractor or home builder, the savings may not be substantial if you elect to do that yourself, ask how much you’d save if you do the interior paint and wall paper, or if you are up to it, the exterior painting. If your home’s exterior and interior must both be painted, it could cost up to $30,000.
• Cabinets and Counters – There is a wide range of prices involved in countertops and cabinets. Quality does show, and is usually but not always related to price. Look for a good deal on quality cabinets. Shop around or ask for more options if what your contractor offers seems too pricy for the quality. It’s also possible to install stock cabinets yourself. Countertops can vary from $10 per square foot up to $80 per square foot, and perhaps even higher. Real stone such as marble or granite cost more. Formica is about $25 per square foot. Laminates including pre formed laminates are the cheapest.
• Floor coverings – Price, quality and longevity are strongly related in floor coverings, however if you are running short on money, this is one place you can save without compromising on the structure. Prices per square foot are simple to find.
• Appliances – Energy efficiency is well worth the price
• Site clean up – minimal charge
• Landscaping – Some families choose a do it yourself option for at least part of this work.
You can discover average prices of materials by shopping at your local home improvement stores. Discovering local average costs in your area can help you estimate the cost of materials used in building your home, however sometimes building contractors have suppliers who sell them materials for lower prices.
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Labor
Corresponding labor for each of the above work can be a very high percentage of the cost of your home. It is absolutely essential, to get the highly skilled labor done correctly, which means you must hire licensed electricians and plumbers, a brick mason to create the foundation, and skilled rough carpenters to frame the house. Still there may be some parts of the job your family members could do to save money on labor. Some people choose to handle things like dry wall, paint, wall paper and even cabinet installation themselves. However if you are not skilled your lack of experience might show. Deciding to do a certain task rather than pay labor might seem like a good idea, but unless you are sure you can handle it, leave it to the experts. If you do have skills and talents in the area though, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone else to do it.
Sample Home Building Budget Considerations: Savings
In a recent poll of the American Institute of Architecture, 58,000 members were polled on various aspects of home building. Only 500 cited affordable housing as a priority. Home builders and contractors do realize that affordable housing is necessary to make sales. They are pressured to under bid, and cut corners where they can.
Unfortunately these pressures occasionally cause them to compromise on structure, simply because it doesn’t show, like expensive floor coverings. They may suggest things like building on a slab rather than a foundation, which they know is not practical over the long haul but will save you several thousand on the up front cost. A few disreputable contractors have been caught doing crazy things like build homes out of 2” x 2” lumber! The homes were in a state of impending collapse, and are not even safe to live in. Most contractors and home builders know better, but corner cutting does happen so conduct your own frequent inspections of the building site to make sure that your home doesn’t have any of these obvious code violations.
The best advice is to never compromise on structure. Foundations, floors walls and roofing are not open for any sort of cost cutting activities. Likewise electrical and plumbing absolutely must be done correctly by licensed professionals. The rest of your house can take form in whatever way you prefer, and you can feel free to cut corners on any other part which is not important to you. Creating a sample home building budget is mostly about deciding what aspects of your home are most important to you, and saving money on the rest.
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