Here are 15 tips that may help keep your building budget within reason, without compromising on the home you want. See below! And when you’re done reading through the tips, you may be interested in browsing our collection of Affordable House Plans.
1. Buy a large lot with a friend or family member that can be split into two smaller lots. Some of the most appealing properties may be much larger than what you want or can afford, yet the seller may not be willing to break up a large parcel. So if you can share the cost with someone else (preferably someone you don’t mind having as a neighbor), you may be able to pick up a great building site for a reasonable price.
2. Consider a so-called problem lot — a hillside, narrow, or in-fill property. Generally, these types of lots are not as desirable as others, so they don’t sell as quickly and often go for a much lower price. With the right plan and a capable contractor, however, a potentially difficult lot might be perfect for your new home. Check out our house plans for sloped lots and narrow lots.
3. Choose a canal or bay lot instead of ocean or lakefront property if you must have a waterfront site. These choices are usually less expensive but still water accessible. Plus, they provide great protection against inclement weather. Browse our collection of coastal home plans or lakefront house plans (which don’t necessarily have to be built next to an “ocean” or “lake!”).
4. Buy low-maintenance building materials — vinyl or cementitious siding and metal roofing, for example. Even if they are somewhat more expensive at installation, they will pay for themselves in the long run as you won’t have to repair, replace, or repaint.
5. Collect salvaged materials from demolition sites. Old barnwood, used bricks, and distinctive wood doors add inexpensive character to a home without exorbitant cost. Many times you can have the materials at no cost, as long as you’re willing to haul them away. Just be sure to check first with the owner of the building being demolished.
6. Splurge only on those things you truly cannot live without. However, don’t skimp on structu