Buying a home is a significant investment, and when you’re considering the undertaking of having a new house built, it’s essential to know where you can cut corners to save money and which areas of the home-building process require a higher budget.
With the cost of home-building materials constantly in flux, many home buyers seek more affordable options to build their dream homes. Building new homes with optimized floor plans offers a budget-friendly option for buyers seeking cost-effective ways to build a new house.
This article will explain the difference between several common types of new builds, which of these homes is the most affordable, and how you can build a new home cheaply.
Understanding the Difference Between Site built Homes and Modular Homes
Site built and modular homes aren’t that different. Each building type uses new materials to follow blueprints and construct new homes. However, the primary difference between these two home-building methods lies in where the house is constructed.
Site built homes are constructed entirely onsite using materials explicitly ordered for that build. A wooden frame is constructed using raw materials, and the rest of the house is built around that frame.
On the other hand, a modular home is built primarily offsite and brought to a construction site to be assembled. In the case of modular homes, companies typically offer standard layouts and floor plans that home buyers can modify.
Once the prospective homeowner has decided upon a layout and the finishes they’re interested in, the modular home-building company will construct the home in their factory using materials bought in bulk. Before the house is fully built, it’s taken in pieces to the home site, where construction is completed.
Site built homes (often called stick-built homes) are generally significantly more expensive than modular homes, primarily because of the material waste associated with the building project. In fact, site built homes cost an average of 10 to 20 percent more to build than modular homes.
Because modular home builds use materials bought in large quantities and the home-building company can keep any leftover material, the home buyer doesn’t need to assume these overhead costs.
Understanding the Difference Between Spec Homes, Semi-custom Homes, and Custom Homes
To further understand how you can save money during the planning stage of your new build, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of home-building services.
Typically companies will offer three service types from which you can choose, with varying levels of control and price points. Explore these options below.
Spec homes are the least expensive option when purchasing a new build and come with the least customization. However, when you purchase a spec home, you are typically subject to the floor plan and finishes that the home-building company chooses.
One of the significant downsides of choosing a spec home is that you won’t be able to modify it to a great extent, so you will need to select a floor plan that meets your needs and budget and work with the aesthetic style that the builder selects.
However, spec homes also come with significant benefits to prospective home buyers. Firstly, the lack of customization means a lower price tag. You won’t need to pay for things like labor to draft new blueprints, time to have meetings regarding design choices, expenses for premium finishes, etc.
In addition to offering you the ability to build a home on a budget, spec homes also don’t usually take as long to build. Because home-building companies use floor plans and materials they already have, building a spec home is significantly less time-consuming than building a custom or semi-custom home.
If spec homes represent one end of the spectrum regarding time, customization, and budget, custom homes are on the opposite end. When you purchase a custom home, you have the ability to customize virtually every aspect of the home itself.
Everything from the floor plan to the paint colors is within your control. You will typically work with a contractor, interior designer, and other team members to ensure your dream can be turned into a reality.
Although custom homes provide significantly more customization than spec homes, you will need to pay for this privilege. Both your timeline and budget will be highly inflated if you build a custom home, as you may need to allocate more funds and extend your timeline to accommodate factors like permitting, ordering and receiving premium materials, drafting new floor plans, etc.
A custom home is an excellent option for individuals who aren’t rushing to move into their new home and can spend more money on a new build or adjust their budget as needed.
On the aforementioned spectrum, semi-custom homes fall somewhere between spec homes and semi-custom homes. With a semi-custom home, you can use the floor plan and other pre-made decisions available in spec homes and modify them to meet your needs.
The amount of customization available may depend on a variety of factors, but semi-custom homes allow the home buyer to decide on elements of the home-building process, including:
- Paint colors
- Light fixtures
- Plumbing fixtures
- Flooring materials
- Material finishes
- Potentially minor changes to the floor plan
A semi-custom home will cost more than a spec home because you will likely spend money on premium materials that would otherwise not be used in your home build and labor to ensure these customizations are implemented.
In addition, a semi-custom build will take longer than a spec home build because the builder cannot use the prefabricated floor plans and materials that are standardly used in spec homes.
How To Get a Newly Built Home on a Budget
Purchasing a new build can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to ensure your newly built home can meet your needs and budget.
Whether you are interested in a site built home or a modular home, the trick is to work with a homebuilding company that offers a multitude of floor plans with a wide selection of options that can fit your needs. Then, once you’ve selected a floor plan—don’t veer too far from the original plan. This is the best way to keep costs down for your new home build.
As you are looking for a homebuilding company to take on your project, keep the following things in mind as you review their floor plan options.
Consider What Floor Plan You Want
Firstly, select a home-building company with pre-set floor plans to meet your needs.
For example, if you’re a retired couple, you’ll likely need a single-story house or at least a house with a full bathroom on the main floor. If these are your needs, you’ll want to avoid companies specializing in multiple-story builds. Similarly, if you’re a couple with teenage children, you may want a house with bedrooms on separate floors to help ensure everyone has ample personal space.
Whatever your needs are, find a floor plan that closely meets those needs. Your budget will skyrocket if you make significant changes to the layout of a pre-designed house, so make sure you select a home that doesn’t require substantial modification.
Set a Clear Budget
If money were no consequence, there would be little reason to build anything but a custom home. But this isn’t the reality for most people, and fortunately, it’s become more accessible than ever to build your dream home without the need to design it from scratch.
Set an honest budget that reflects how much you can afford to spend on your new home. Then, work with a home-building company that offers homes within your price range, and select a floor plan that falls enough under budget for you to make slight customizations to things like light fixtures and finishes that will help turn your house into your dream home.
Be Realistic About Your Timeline
Understand that customization means not only more money but more time. So if you’re working within a stringent timeline, prepare for the possibility that you may have to give up the dream of making certain modifications.
Conversely, prepare for your move-in time to be pushed back if you make any changes to the existing floor plan, but be patient and accept that this is a small price to pay for building your dream home, which you can enjoy for years to come.
Century Homes, for example, offers a massive selection of floor plans to choose from which have been optimized over years of experience and a true understanding of customers needs at different times in their lives. The team at Century Homebuilders can discuss your needs and provide an estimated cost and estimated timeline based on your needs and modification requirements to their existing floor plans.
Four Considerations When Choosing a Floor Plan
Selecting a floor plan that meets your needs is the number one budget-conscious choice you can make when building a new home. Changing the pre-existing floor plan will cost money, so avoiding this as much as possible is essential to keep the costs of building your new home low.
Below is a list of considerations you should keep in mind as you choose a floor plan to ensure you select one that will meet your needs.
1. Make Sure You Select a Floor Plan That’s the Right Size
Size is one of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a floor plan. You want to ensure you’re selecting a home that can comfortably fit your family and any guests you may have stay long-term.
One thousand square feet per person is the recommended average when purchasing a home, so your home size may vary based on the size of your family.
Although a young couple who shares a bedroom might be able to get away with sharing a smaller space, a family of five will likely appreciate having enough room to spread out. Consider your needs, and select a floor plan that is big enough for you to be comfortable and for your family to grow if you have plans to have children.
However, remember that the bigger the floor plan, the more expensive the house. Select a floor plan that offers enough space to live comfortably while staying within budget.
2. Make Sure You Select a Floor Plan With Enough Bedrooms
Like the size of your future home, selecting a floor plan with an appropriate number of bedrooms is essential. It’s typical for each person living in the home to have their own bedroom, so if you’re a couple with two young kids, a four-bedroom house will likely feel just right.
However, you should consider other factors. You may want to select a floor plan with five bedrooms if you commonly host guests from out of town.
Similarly, selecting a floor plan with designated office spaces may be beneficial if anyone in your family works from home.
3. Make Sure You Select a Floor Plan With Enough Bathrooms
Although families can make do with one bathroom, you may be significantly more comfortable with at least two full baths. In addition to ensuring the floor plan has enough bathrooms, you should pay attention to where these bathrooms are located in the house.
Is there a full bathroom on the ground floor for your elderly parents to use when they stay? Is there a bathroom conveniently located in or near your guest bedroom? Does the primary bedroom have a private bath?
Consider how many bathrooms you’d like and where you’d like them to be located when selecting a floor plan.
4. Make Sure You Select a Floor Plan With Enough Storage
Although closets may not be the first thing on your mind when selecting a floor plan, storage is essential to having a functional house. Consider all storage types and choose a floor plan that meets your needs.
If you have a large family and you’re really into camping, you may benefit from choosing a floor plan with a garage or basement for additional storage. If cooking is a big part of your life, selecting a house with a large kitchen and plenty of cupboards is essential.
The amount and location of storage will change based on your personal needs, but it’s critical to consider where you can keep your belongings to avoid clutter in your future home.
Build Your Dream Home on a Budget With Century Homes
With dozens of floor plans to choose from, you can find a home that meets your needs without requiring significant modifications. Work with our expert team to discuss your needs and we’ll explain how it is possible to build a house cheap and fast. Get in touch with us today!