Building a Home? Check Out These Tips for Saving Money

by Bob Hummer 11/02/2021

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Building a home is no inexpensive task, but it doesn’t have to cost more than buying a home. In building a home you have many opportunities to save money mainly because you have control over every part of the process, from design to finishing touches. With proper planning and a practical budget, you might save thousands of dollars. Here are the best ways so save when building a home:

Comparison Shop

At the very beginning of your process, you’ll need to choose a builder. Lots of options means lots of different price points. It’s a good idea to do your own research and get estimates from multiple companies before you decide. Consult builder references including past clients and other industry professionals like a real estate agent to learn more about potential hidden fees or customer service issues. Delays, mistakes, schedule mismanagement and other issues can cost you money beyond just the price of the house itself. Learn as much as you can about the contractors your potential builders hire and the overall reputation and client satisfaction for the builder themselves.

Don’t Settle for Standard

Does your builder allow you to substitute in your own non-standard appliance and finish choices? If so, this could be another place to save. Many builders offer different appliance packages at different price points, but sometimes you might find a less expensive option through a suggested third-party vendor. Builders usually get special bulk pricing from their suppliers, but for items that don’t necessarily need to be bought in large amounts (think light or bathroom fixtures) you might get a better deal yourself. Ask your builder what they allow and whether they’re willing to handle the installation for you without extra cost.

Open Up

A house with a smaller footprint will cost less to build, even if it has a second floor. Rather than expanding the home layout in a single story, consider building up instead. The savings here come from the foundation work and roofing materials. Overall, foundation and roofing can make up about half the total cost of the house. If you can reduce that cost while still gaining livable square footage with a second floor, it might be a great option. Take other factors into account like energy efficiency and accessibility and any zoning laws in the area you’re building in. Discuss the possibility with your builder to see if it will work for you.

You can also make a smaller footprint feel larger by opting for an open floor plan. This increases efficiency of the home both in terms of energy and livable space. Multi-functional rooms are a great way to save money compared to adding more rooms to the footprint.


When possible, try to do some work yourself. Anything not included by the builder might add expense even long after the home is finished. Things like small hardware or window blinds are simple and safe enough to install without hiring a professional. You can even install larger appliances yourself — just make sure you abide by the rules of whatever warranty or insurance you got from the builder. Even for the projects you don’t do yourself, you can still have a say in how much it costs by finding the right contractor.

Factoring everything into a budget for a new home can be overwhelming, but planning will help you identify possible ways to save. Every square foot and every hour of hired labor adds up.

About the Author

Bob Hummer

Bob Hummer brings a wealth of experience with him; a practitioner in real estate in Northern Virginia since 1978, a Life Member of both the Million Dollar Sales Club and the Top Producers Club with over 1,500 Satisfied Families and President, Prince William Association of REALTORS in 1991. His experiences range from helping buyers and sellers attain their goals; to renovating historic homes on Capitol Hill; to counseling and assisting homeowners facing the loss of their home due to foreclosure. Since 1996, he has presented his free monthly Home Buyer and Home Seller seminars at the Woodbridge campus of Strayer University. A former "Military Brat" and a retired Air Force Hospital Administrator; Bob has made more than 25 moves during his life and is extremely familiar with all aspects of a family relocating - whether it is across the street or across the nation.