First-time home builders often have misperceptions about how to budget for the project. The cost of the lot and the home are not the only expenses to be considered. Fixed municipal costs such as sidewalks and driveways play a significant role in adding to a home-building project’s bottom line, and the property will require at least some degree of landscaping to meet municipal ordinances (or at least appease the neighbors). Here are three primary areas to consider when developing a budget or working within an existing budget.
1. Structural Integrity
The strength of the home and its ability to withstand harsh winters should be of utmost importance. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose materials that will provide a firm and lasting foundation. This includes everything from exterior walls and roofing materials to insulation and windows. Don’t skimp on your budget here. If budget cuts are necessary, we recommend making them in areas that won’t compromise the structural integrity of your home. Reduce the number of trees planned for your backyard, or change the type of interior tile or countertop styles.
2. Architectural Considerations
Decisions regarding interior and exterior design and construction can dramatically increase (or decrease) costs. For example, what kind of outdoor finishes would you like? If stone or brick proves too costly, consider using siding, stucco, or a mixture of materials. Some floor tiles cost $3 per square foot while others run $10 per square foot; wood flooring, countertops and window treatments also come in a range of price options. What about wall finishes and paint, insulation types, appliance choices, doors and cabinets, locks and other security measures, and exterior considerations such as a deck, paving and landscaping? Do you really need to spend $30,000 on a retaining wall that has nothing to do with the house and only serves an aesthetic purpose?
3. Fixed Costs
All new homes come with fixed costs in which square footage, structural integrity and architectural choices are irrelevant. These include sewer and water service, sidewalks and driveways, landscaping requirements, taxes and insurance, utilities, and maintenance and repair. Granted, maintenance and repair costs might be low initially, because everything will be new. But depending on the area in which you build, the final cost for a home with less square footage could be more than a larger one in a neighboring community.
Confused? That’s not our goal. In fact, representatives from Brown Wegher will sit down with you to help match your dream home with your real budget. We won’t build you a $500,000 home if doing so is fiscally irresponsible. We’ll help you navigate all of the potential costs and lay out all of the options to help you make the most informed buying decisions about one of life’s most important choices.