We are looking into building a 2000 sq. ft. house for the best price possible. Which style house is cheapest to build? We see a lot of colonials in the area, but I like anything more modern with V's or triangular points...Any suggestions?
Depending on where you're building, the covenants and building codes may restrict your options for the style in which you can build, but in general,traditional styles like Craftsman and Ranch are pretty affordable both in terms of construction costs and the purchase of the plans/blueprints... Be sure you do ALL of your homework before you make a decision-the devil is often in the details- your costs for the structure might be listed as approximately $30,000, but then there's the site preparation,the wiring, the plumbing, the fixtures, the flooring, the permits and inspection fees, the well and septic system, and on and on until, before you know it, your costs have quadrupled or worse.
Posts: 2388 | Location: Western United States | Registered: 06-03-02
I like the Cape Cod and Saltbox style. The important thing about keeping building costs down is the KISS formula -- Keep it simple, stupid!
(Nothing personal. It's just a saying.)
Rule #1: Check your local bylaws. A friend of mine had to take off a little guest room he built over his garage. Expensive waste!
Rule #2. Have a simple design. Avoid 'pointy things' on your roof. Gables and skylights are tricky to build well, so they make your construction labor costs balloon, and there are problems -- leaks, particularly -- that follow as the night follows the day.
Idea #3. Consider a crawl space instead of a full basement.
Idea #4. Don't skimp on insulation or double-paned windows. It will save money later on - a lot. Windows.
Idea #5. A 2-storey (or even a 1 1/2 storey) house is cheaper to build than a bungalow.
(Edited later in view of MrsS's excellent (as usual) post:
Usually erecting a house to "lockup" stage costs about 1/3 of the total cost of an average 'stick' house -- frame structure. "Lockup" is sub-floor, roof, walls, doors and windows. After that comes wiring, plumbing, insulation, drywall, ceiling, painting and flooring, and built-in storage (kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms).
You need professionals to build to 'lockup', but you can do a lot of the other stuff yourself. Here we are even allowed to do our own wiring -- but it must be inspected before we can turn the power on. The one not to do yourself is plumbing, imo.
If you do your own insulation, be sure to get a good 'handyman' book to guide you. A lot of people make the mistake of putting the vapor barrier on the wrong side of the insulation, with nasty and expensive consequences.
And drywall takes a lot of skill. If you decide to DIY, don't use gypsum board. Use something with a texture -- it's more forgiving.
Posts: 6962 | Location: British Columbia, Canada | Registered: 06-11-02
Craftsman (as a style offered) can be hugely expensive if you decide to go with maple or hickory instead of pine for trim.
The material makes the difference - pine is cheap, pine is abundant - hardwoods take much longer to replace and are more expensive. Go to your nearest home store and price lumber and lumber replacements (man made wood) You will note that oak is more expensive than popular, popular is more expensive than pine, all wood (real wood) is more expensive than press board.
If you are planning on painting trim then use the press board. If you are planning on stain then use a wood - the catch is that stained wood is much more expensive than painted press wood.
Usually the biggest expense is kitchen cabinetry or any built in cabinetry, even the cheap press board, plastic covered stuff they pass off as good cabinetry is expensive. If you (not the contractor) shops around there are clearance times where the store is replacing its stock and must get rid of old stock. Carpeting, flooring, cabinetry, pluming hardware (Sinks, faucets, even toilets) come on clearance and you can get some real bargains.
Other considerations would be the placement of the bath, laundry room and the kitchen. If those three rooms are in a single block with a common T of wall where all the plumbing runs from sinks, machines, tubs, toilet you spend far less money than running pluming from one end of the house to the other to the garage. Further distance in plumbing can affect the bills after the build. If you have your water rooms spread out there is a far greater expense in hot water and the water bill since the longer the pipe the longer you have to run water to get hot water. If you have all water using rooms in a tight cluster hot water runs only a short distance to all faucets - no waiting 5 minutes as dollars go down the drain waiting for water that is hot enough to shower in.
Construction costs not only cover materials it also covers labor. There are a lot of things the average person can do on a construction site them self thus they do not have to pay the labor costs.
Painting - anybody can weld a paint brush. Site clean up - every day an extra 1/2 to full hour of labor is spent on picking up scraps of pipe, wood, sweeping, tossing trash in the debris box. This you figure you are being charged $25 or more dollars an hour that extra half hour of labor can add up.
$12.50 a day comes to $62.50 for a five day week that translates into $250.00 per month per laborer doing that clean up work.
Depending on your skill and or ability/willingness to learn new things you can hang dry wall (not have to tape it off and plaster it, just hang it), lay most floorings (carpet, interlocking floating laminate systems, lay linoleum tile, laying vinyl) each can take a fairly large chunk out of the end price you pay. In many places the home owner can pull or run wiring - meaning that a certified electrician is not needed to run the romex through the holes in the wall - or hang the boxes. A certified electrician is needed to hook that wire up to the breaker panel, to install switches and outlets but as for the running of the wire in the open frame work (before dry wall is hung) it is something the owner can do. When you consider how much an electrician or team of electricians charge per hour and when you consider how long it can take to pull wire throughout a house you can save a lot of money there. Again different areas have different laws. And many electricians in areas that allow it will give you a crash course in pulling wire.
Even who you hire to do the contract work can have a huge impact on the end price you pay. Contracting and construction is competitive take advantage of that and get a lot of estimates. Many contractors do work with the owner - will tell the owner what the owner can do themselves according to local codes in order to not have to pay for the labor costs. Many builders will allow you to furnish materials (like carpet, cabinets) and will install them.
Today with the wide range of products on the market style doesn't play too big a roll. Unless you do want Venetian marble, or want ebony and teak trims.
Posts: 4146 | Location: Neither here nor there | Registered: 06-03-02