If budget is an issue, search for less-costly-to-build homes

While no one but a builder in your area can give you a reasonable estimate of overall cost to build, if you’re on a tight budget, it is best to focus on homes that are generally less expensive to construct. The first thing to look at is the outline of the house, which you can see when looking at the simplified floor plans.

To keep costs low, your best bet is to select a house whose exterior is either a square or a rectangle. These homes only have four corners to construct. Any time you vary from this outline, you’re adding corners, and therefore extra construction costs. Of course it is the ins-and-outs of the footprint that can give the house a unique look and feel – inside and out – and they help expand views. But fortunately, a really well thought out and designed house with a rectangular footprint need not be at all boring.

After the home’s footprint, the next thing to look at is the roof. Not surprisingly, a simple crossing roof, in a single direction, is the least expensive to construct. Adding a crossing gable doesn’t add much to the costs, and it has several advantages: it can have a strong impact on the exterior appearance of the house; create an interesting variance in the ceilings; and add extra living space on the upper level at a very low cost. This is also true of shed dormers, where the living space (with sufficient ceiling height) can be expanded fairly inexpensively.

Then you should look at the elevations (on our site you can see all four sides, but this is not common) to see the number and sizes of the windows. Once again, it’s a trade-off between something most people want – abundant natural light and views – and what they can afford.

But the biggest savings come from a home that was designed efficiently. No wasted space means less square footage, which translates directly to lower building costs. One more thing on this subject. Most folks have a strong opinion about which parts of the house are the most important. These are often the kitchen and master suite, but every family is different. So they will often splurge in these rooms while minimizing costs in other parts of the house.

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We highly recommend that you click on two boxes – the number of bedrooms you know you need, and one less bedroom. For example, if you need 4 bedrooms, click on the boxes next to 4 and next to 3. Otherwise you will not see homes where existing rooms on the lower, main, or upper levels might work perfectly well as a bedroom instead of as an office, study, etc.