How to Save Money When Building a House

When it comes to building a new custom or semi-custom home, striking a balance between saving money and not skimping on quality can seem tough. But budgets are extremely important! That’s why the team here at New Era Homes put this guide together to help you cut costs where you can when building a new home.

6 Ways to Save Money During your Custom Home Build

1. Decide on a budget before starting

This step might sound painfully obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people and families go into the home-building process with just a vague notion of how much money they’re willing to spend! Sit down with all the decision-makers (preferably including the builders, contractors, suppliers, et al.) to figure out what your maximum budget is, how much you expect to be spending on what, and where there might be wiggle room.

With a solidified budget in mind, you can make more informed decisions on the rest of the money-saving steps.

2. Plan your home with a size you can afford

The size of a home is the one thing that most strongly correlates with price: the more square feet your custom home has, the more (on average) it will cost. At the earliest stages of planning, you’ll either choose a pre-designed floor plan from your builder or work to develop a fully custom floor plan.

If you’re trying to save money, this is the best time to do it. It might hurt to give up that extra bedroom, bigger master bedroom, or home office, but it’ll knock a significant chunk of change off your final price!

3. Choose the right pricing model

The second biggest factor in determining the price of a new home (behind square footage) is the build’s pricing model. Most custom home building companies will use a cost-plus pricing model.  This means the builder will automatically add a margin of 10-15% on top of the cost of all labor and materials used in building your home. The builder has no incentive to limit your spending as they make more with every dollar you spend.

Here at New Era Homes, every one of our homes is built with our Uncommon Standards, no matter the square-foot pricing. We have five pricing categories designed to fit a wide range of budgets and needs.

4. Don’t pay for things you don’t want or need

As tempting as it is to go all out with features, bells, and whistles, it’s a quick way to drive up the price of your custom home. It’s important to agree on what to prioritize with the person you’re building your home with. Maybe you’re dead-set on having under-cabinet kitchen lighting, but you’re fine with standard carpets. Or maybe you need triple pane windows for good insulation against cold winters and hot summers, but you’re not interested in a smart thermostat.

That’s the great thing about a custom or semi-custom home: you only have to pay for the features or package that you want!

5. Pay for quality now to save in the long-term

Technically, this tip isn’t going to save you money during your build; in fact, it’s going to cost you more. The idea here is that paying for high-quality materials, fixtures, and accessories will save you from having to replace them in a few years.

If you have enough capital saved up now for the custom home build, you should prioritize paying for quality. You’ll thank yourself years down the line when your food disposal, appliances, and lighting fixtures are still working and you don’t have to buy new ones!

6. “DIY” if you can

Talk with your builder about what can be left for you to “DIY” in the finishing stages of building your custom home. Some of the tasks you might be able to do yourself (depending on what comes standard from your custom home builder) include:

  • Buying paint from a hardware store and painting the walls and trim
  • Installing kitchen or bathroom cabinets
  • Bathroom mirrors, window screens, and other relatively simple installs

If this sounds daunting, don’t bother with it! Not everybody has the desire to do it themselves, and there are plenty of other ways to save money when building a custom home.

No matter what your budget is, make your custom home yours

The joy and excitement of a new home is even greater when you get to make it exactly what you want it to be. Sometimes you may have to compromise between details, add-ons, quality, and your budget, but hopefully our guide on how to save money when building a custom home has helped you with some useful ideas!

And, if you’re looking to build a custom home in central Oregon, give us a ring! New Era Homes builds every one of our homes with Uncommon Standards. No matter what your budget is, you’ll get every one of our 176 Uncommon Standards, from upgraded fixtures and appliances to robust HVAC systems.