How to Build an Affordable Home with Economic House Plans

How to Build an Affordable Home with Economic House Plans

Home | Blog | How to Build an Affordable Home with Economic House Plans

How to Build an Affordable Home with Economic House Plans

Published at July 25 2024 by

Owning a home is part of the American dream. Many of us want a part of it, and building your own home is a way to make your part of the dream uniquely personal. And when you plan to build what will probably be the largest expense of your life, you need to plan it well. There’s quite a bit to consider when you make that plan, but with foresight, you can affordably build a beautiful new home. You can have that home of your dreams when you plan the details that will make it perfect for you, as well as the details that will allow you to save money up front. The biggest expense in your life doesn’t have to be a foolish one. Indeed, it should make perfect sense.

Planning Your Home-Building Budget

Owning a home is often more cost-effective than renting, but there are other expenses to consider. You may not be paying all the utilities in your rental, and you’re not responsible for all the repairs. Those things will have to play into your monthly budget plan for when you move in. It’s always a good idea to have emergency savings, and you will need some as a homeowner. Owning a home is more cost effective than rentingYou also want to think about the total budget for your build. The amount of house you can afford may not be the amount you reasonably need. It’s a good idea to save the difference, especially if you’re taking out a mortgage. You can never be sure what your economic situation will be in the future, so saving for potential periods of unemployment or for a growing family is wise. If you have more house than you need, you will have to consider the future expense of heating or cooling space you won’t necessarily be using, as well as the expense of building it. If you’re building a bigger house than you currently need because your family is going to grow, that’s a sensible financial decision, but think twice about building a house with spaces you won’t really use. Another good part of this plan is the ability to pay a little extra on your mortgage. If you make the equivalent of one extra mortgage payment throughout the year, you will take time off the length of your mortgage and save a great deal on interest. That’s also something you can stop and add back into your monthly budget, if necessary, should your financial situation change. While it’s important to take your future monthly budget seriously, it’s equally important to plan the budget for the total build wisely. You’ll have many decisions to make. Some of them may seem like minor details, but they all add up. Deciding on a budget — and sticking to it as best you can — can help reduce your stress in the long run. There are many ways to save money.

Ways to Save on the Design

Determine Your Home Size Needs to Save MoneyYou may have been browsing real estate pages and home design sites to help you come up with a vision of what you want your new home to be like, but that isn’t always the best way to come up with a plan. You can get some good ideas on some looks as far as curb appeal or interior design, but the most important thing to consider is the amount of house you need. Do you need a separate playroom for your kids, or will it suffice for them to just have bedrooms? Do you need a separate “man cave" or room to entertain besides your living and dining rooms? Do you need a separate room for your library, or can you strategically place your bookshelves around your living areas? Make a list of the needs and wants for your home. A second bathroom may be nice, but it also may not be a necessity. If you can reasonably fit some of your wants into your budget, add them, but if you can’t, let them go. You may be able to add some of those wants in the future. There are a variety of other ways to save on your design.
  • Keep it small. You can save a lot by building a two-story house rather than a single-story one. The foundation or basement and the roof are two of the more expensive parts of the home to build. The smaller footprint will save you money on the build. If mobility on the stairs isn’t an issue, a two-story home is the way to go.
  • A garage. Decide whether or not you need a garage. If a carport will suffice, there are plans available with one incorporated into the design. If possible, building a garage into the basement will save money, too.
  • Avoid complexity. Simplicity will save you money.
  • Take advantage of an open floor plan. This will reduce the amount of materials needed, saving on costs, even when accounting for supporting second-floor walls. It’s also a staple of modern American design and home entertainment.
  • Centralize plumbing. Your kitchen and bathroom should be close to each other — if not next to each other — to save money on the plumbing subcontract. And a second-floor bathroom should line up above the downstairs bathroom or the kitchen for the same reason. It doesn’t make sense to run expensive copper tubing unnecessary directions.
Keeping your floor plan simple and smart will save you money in the long run, or you can use it to justify adding something to your house or design plans from your list of wants.

Saving on Basic Material Choices

There are some areas of the build you just won’t want to scrimp and save on. You want a solid frame and foundation. You want a roof and siding that will stand up to the weather where you’re going to live, and you want to insulate well to save on your heating and cooling in the long term — as well as on the heating and cooling system. However, there are a variety of ways you can save on materials. You can have your builder use “builder-grade" materials as much as possible. You can strategically make decisions on the grade of materials based on a couple of different factors.How to Save Money on Home Building MaterialsIn an area of the house that may get more use or more visitors — like that open kitchen, dining and living area — you may want to opt for higher-grade, sturdier fixtures. You may be able to hold off on upgraded lighting in bedrooms for a while. You may also be able to make do with some lower-grade features for a while. An upstairs bathroom with some builder-grade fixtures may suffice for function, and a downstairs bathroom that gets more frequent use may need higher-grade materials. You can upgrade the other bathroom down the road. There are some features that just aren’t needs. While crown molding is a great interior design feature, it’s not a necessity. You can skip the travertine tile in the bathroom and go with a great ceramic tile. Indeed, an Earth-friendly linoleum may suffice until you’re ready to upgrade that purely functional upstairs bathroom.

Saving on Upgrades

There will be areas you want to have higher-grade materials and features, and you can still save money. Naturally, you won’t want to go directly to a high-end interior design store, but if you’re in the area, it won’t hurt to stop to compare prices or look for inspiration. Here are some ideas to plan how you shop for upgraded features.
  • Have a plan and a budget. Go over both with your builder and any necessary subcontractors. You want them to know if there’s a special purchase that needs to be made, and they may even be able to guide you somewhere to find the best deal on these items. They may even be able to get a better deal than you can.
  • Shop around. This seems like a rather basic idea, but it can be easy to forget when you fall in love with that one beautiful vanity, kitchen sink or whichever piece you’re looking for. Remember where you saw it and how much it costs. Write that down. Keep lists and compare. You may find a better deal at a big-box home improvement store or online.
  • Keep your focus. When you’re shopping around, it’s easy to be distracted by all the great items a store may have, and you may see a higher-end item you didn’t originally want to upgrade. This will be tempting, but it’s important to your budget — and possibly your peace of mind — to stick to that plan.
  • Do work yourself, if you can. If you aren’t experienced with a variety of tools, this probably isn’t a good idea, but if you know your way around power tools, this can save you money on hanging cabinets in your kitchen, tiling your bathroom or whatever your skill set will allow.

Upgrades You Can Put Off

Upgrade Your Home Later to Save MoneyWhile it may be convenient to get everything done at once — and you probably won’t be up for any major projects for a long time after your home is complete —some upgrades can wait a while. As always, it’s important to plan for these projects. You need to know where you can economize in the original build, and you also need to have a plan to save for these future upgrades. You should also prioritize these projects. A simple way to start is to skip the hardware for your kitchen cabinets. It’s easy to open them by pulling on the edge. Individual pieces may be inexpensive, but in a full kitchen, this can multiply into the hundreds of dollars. It’s a simple compromise to wait a while and buy a set of pulls you really like, rather than a set you can merely afford in the beginning. That crown molding you had your heart set on, but it wasn’t a need? This is another feature that can be added down the road, and it’s something you can probably do yourself, if you’re handy enough. The upstairs bathroom you chose to outfit for functionality can be upgraded in the future to meet your tastes, as well. You can add new hardware or pull up linoleum flooring to add higher-quality tiles. You may even be able to upgrade some of the features of that bathroom for less than it would have been to upgrade it from the beginning, depending on your patience and ability to find sales. Save simple details for the future, and add flair to your interior design with smaller projects over time.

Curb Appeal

How your house looks from the street will be a point of pride, and possibly add to the resale value if you decide to sell. You may not have a strikingly impressive roofline, but that doesn’t mean your home won’t be attractive. A nice set of steps or small porch can make your home look inviting, and a great-looking front door can be a bold way to add to your home’s appeal. A pleasing contrast between your siding and the trim adds to it, and decorative shutters can be an attractive addition as well. You can also add shutters as a future project to save in the short term. Simple landscaping can make your house the envy of the neighborhood, and you can do much of it on your own. It’s easy to plant some shrubs and perennials to add color, and a well-placed tree will give you shade in the years to come. A nice lawn adds a lot to your home’s curb appeal, too.

Tiny Houses

Build a Tiny House on a BudgetIf you’re interested in saving a lot of money on your new home, and you have a minimalist streak, you can build a tiny house. You’ll save a great deal on materials and labor, but you may have to make some tough choices when it comes to your possessions. Storage space can be very limited. At Nelson Design Group, we have designs for many little houses. If one meets your needs, you can save a lot without sacrificing any of your design wants.

What Are Your Plans?

If you’re planning to build a home, we have hundreds of plans available for immediate purchase, and we can customize your chosen house plan for a reasonable rate. If you like one of our plans, we can help make it the plan to your dream home. We have a variety of designs for affordable homes. Will one of them be your dream home? You have a vision of what it’s going to look like. Find a design that meets your wants, then plan to make it your own.