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What is the Cheapest Way to Build a House?

Have you always dreamed of building your dream home but don’t have the funds to hire a home builder to bring your design to life? Well, there are ways that you can reduce your costs and build a home from the ground up if you are willing to sacrifice a few luxuries. Here is a look at the cheapest ways to build a house.

Build it Yourself (or with a Contractor)

The easiest way to reduce your costs as much as possible is to build it yourself. A professional home builder is a business like any other. So, they will charge you a hefty premium on top of the costs of labor and materials to build a home from scratch. To eliminate this margin, you can always build the house yourself, leaving just the cost of materials and maybe a few workers to help you. But this may be challenging if you are not an experienced home builder yourself, in which case you may want to enlist the help of a general contractor. The contractor will also charge you a fee for labor, but it’s often cheaper to go this route than to hire a developer to handle the entire construction.

Create a Strict Budget and Plan

If you aim to keep costs as low as possible, you must have a clear plan and a strict budget. Even more important is that you stick to your roadmap as much as possible throughout the construction process. Building a home from scratch can be challenging, especially if you’re inexperienced. It’s relatively easy to underestimate costs and end up having to spend more on materials and labor than you initially expected. While delays or surprise costs are unavoidable, the closer you stick to your budget, the better off you’ll be. Otherwise, you could get carried away and easily exceed what it would have cost to hire an experienced builder. 

Use Cost Effective Material

Next, you should look into using the most cost-effective materials possible. Cost-effective doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest -remember that you still have to live in the home, so it isn’t necessarily safe or wise to use shoddy materials just to get a price reduction. But there are plenty of high-quality building materials to build a home that won’t break the bank – such as reclaimed materials, prefab panels, bamboo, cob, shipping containers, concrete sheets, and more.

Search for the Cheapest Lot

Another way to reduce your costs is to find raw land at the lowest prices. It doesn’t matter how frugal you are with the building process if the cost of the land takes up half your budget. So before breaking ground, you should carefully plan out the home’s location and make sure you can find a vacant lot that’s affordable. To find the cheapest lot, you may have to make a few sacrifices – as the closer you are to civilization, the more expensive it’s going to be. But also, keep in mind that the farther out in the wilderness you are, the harder it will be to connect to the local utilities and public infrastructure. So, you may have to strike a balance between price and convenience.

Simplify Design Choices

Next, keep your design choices as simple as possible. If you want to keep the building process affordable, you may want to skip the granite countertops or crystal chandeliers. 

Of course, you can always add finishing touches later once the home has been built. But, during the construction phase, you’ll want to keep your overhead as low as possible – which means cutting out any extraneous interior design elements that may eat into your budget. 

Focus on the Essentials

Going along with simplifying design choices, you should also focus on the essentials and invest in quality. For instance, you can easily avoid installing a gas fireplace, but you may want to budget for a quality boiler. While you may be able to cut corners and save costs in the short term, if you don’t pay close attention to the essentials, you may pay for it later. Focus on the most important structures of the home, such as the roof, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, system, etc. Shop around to find the best deal, and be sure that you don’t neglect quality for a lower price, or you may regret it down the road. 

Shape it Like a Box

The most cost-effective home design by far is a simple box shape. While it may not be the most unique or eye-catching – there is a reason why most home designs feature simple squares and rectangles. Most home design elements are structured in these shapes anyway – including doors, windows, carpets, and ceilings. Therefore, using too many triangular or circular elements in the design will require more customization, which means higher costs. So, the more right angles your home design has, the cheaper it will likely be.

Keep the Roof Design Simple

Another pro tip is to keep the roof design as simple as possible. The roof will be one of your highest costs and for a good reason. Without a sturdy roof, your home will be at the mercy of the elements. So, it’s important to invest in a quality roof. However, that doesn’t mean you need a complicated design. A basic gable roof will provide you with all the protection and insulation you need without running up your costs. While multilayered roofs with exotic tile may look nice, they probably aren’t the wisest decision if you want to keep costs low.

Consider Energy Efficient or Off the Grid Home Designs

If you’re looking to cut costs, then energy-efficient or off-the-grid home designs are a possibility. Energy-efficient homes have features that promote sustainable living, such as better insulation or solar panels. These types of homes are not only good for the environment, but they are also quite cost-effective. Off-the-grid homes are a similar type of design that can exist entirely off the grid with no connection to utilities or power. Instead, they rely on alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Energy-efficient and off-the-grid home designs will offer cost savings for your energy bill. They also allow you to venture further into undeveloped areas where land is often cheaper. So, you may consider this type of design if you don’t mind living outside of a traditional neighborhood setting.

Build a Tiny Home

Building a tiny home is another way to go. A tiny home is a particular design that seeks to cut out any inefficiencies and focus only on what is essential. Most tiny homes are less than 500 square feet and are often built on top of a trailer for added mobility. The tiny home movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, with many people seeking to downsize their lifestyle for something simpler and more efficient. Tiny homes certainly aren’t for everyone – especially if you have a large family. But in terms of costs, they are among the cheapest designs available.