There is no doubt that the current housing market isn’t at its best, but with a few choice decisions you could still manage to get the most out of your money. In a difficult economy, finding a plot of land and starting from scratch can be the most exciting, and cheapest option. It’s worth remembering that if you build your own house it can be designed entirely by you.
- Buy a problem lot
A ‘problem lot’ is one that’s located on a hillside or any location where something is not ideal. These plots of land can come very cheap, and with the correct design and skilled workmen they can become some of the most beautiful homes one could hope to live in.
- Don’t overbuild
This will depend on the location of your potential home, but you could have to design your house in a way that won’t cause it to stand out too much from the rest of your neighbourhood. Don’t go overboard with your design ideas, because there is a fine line between a pretty house and an eyesore to the rest of your neighbours.
- Build whatever you can yourself
If you have the capabilities and free time to do any aspect of the building process yourself, then there’s no point in paying builders to do it for you. Builders can receive a handsome pay check, so you can save in labour costs by doing some DIY. Be careful to do proper research beforehand, however, as some DIY jobs are not as easy as you might think.
- Go green
The costs for energy saving appliances and renewable energy devices like solar panels may not be cheap, but it shouldn’t take long for them to pay for themselves. Having a house with a minimal carbon footprint can save you a significant amount on your energy bill every month. If you have a secure income, payday lenders like Wonga could cover costs for green appliances and installations.
- Don’t rush
Rushing what is such an important thing can have disastrous consequences, so be very careful not to make any decisions without thinking about them beforehand. If you treat your house like your own child when it’s being built, it should look fantastic when it’s finished. Make sure to not go with the first people you speak to about the project. Get a number of quotes from different construction companies to see what the price averages out at, and then work from there. The first quote you receive may seem like a good deal, but it’s likely that the others to ask for much less. Don’t just apply this to the actual building process, as mortgage quotes and renovation loans could be different at every bank.
- Find your own materials
Taking time to look for the ideal fitting to be installed into your house can be much cheaper if you find them all yourself, instead of letting the builders sort it for you. Spending an afternoon in kitchen showrooms is usually very beneficial and can save you a lot of money if deals are taken advantage of.
- Build during the off-season
Money can also be saved by choosing to build your house in the off-season, where builders are not as high in demand and therefore charge cheaper rates and have more time to spend on your project. Winter can be a good time to build, with roofs sometimes costing 10% less if built in the colder months.
- Stay organised
The most important point I can think of is to stay organised. By keeping on top of costs, the roles of the builders, timescales, etc. you can end up saving a lot of money. For example, knowing where work is happening on a specific day and preparing it for the builders can lead to more work getting done than otherwise would have. Keeping detailed records of what has been spent and what is left to spend can help prevent overspending, and a daily chat with whoever is in charge of the building can be used to ask important questions and resolve any issues.
James Randall is a finance expert specialising in property who spends his free time writing for some reputable websites and magazines