How Do I Build a House on a Shoestring Budget?

by Shelley Frost, Demand Media
    The structure of the home is the priority in the beginning.

    The structure of the home is the priority in the beginning.

    Building your home yourself gives you the chance to choose all the design elements, from the ground up. A small budget makes building a home more challenging but not impossible. A little creativity and scaling back some of your dream home plans gets you closer to a new home on a shoestring budget. Knowing exactly the amount of money you have to work with helps you plan out the building project and stay on track with the spending.

    Step 1

    Calculate the amount of cash you have available for building the house. Determine how much you plan to finance. Use this figure to create a budget for the building project.

    Step 2

    Reduce your current living expenses as much as possible. Consider moving to a cheaper home, cutting out extras and purchasing only the necessities. This could free up a little extra money toward your home.

    Step 3

    Play the role of general contractor yourself if you have the time and general knowledge about the process. If you don't have enough free time to oversee the project, you might be better off paying someone to serve as your general contractor.

    Step 4

    Look around for an affordable piece of land for building the home. Consider whether the land already has utilities run to it. It will cost more to prepare the land for building if it does not have utilities .

    Step 5

    Spend the money to get accurate and detailed building plans for the home. Consider scaling back on the size of the home to save money on building costs. You'll also save money on utilities with a smaller home.

    Step 6

    Invest more of your budget on the basic building blocks of the home to save money down the road. Make sure that you get a quality foundation, electrical wiring, plumbing, ductwork, heating and cooling system, roofing and windows because these items are more difficult to update.

    Step 7

    Shop around for all of the materials and services needed to build the home. Negotiate on the costs to get further discounts. Consider clearance appliances, cabinetry and other finishing details in the home.

    Step 8

    Choose basic finishes to save money. Things such as flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, gutters, faucets and countertops can be upgraded in the future if high-end versions aren't an option.

    Step 9

    Paint the interior of the home yourself to cut costs. Handle other finishing details as long as you feel comfortable with them. Consider doing things such as installing tile floors, staining wood finishes, installing appliances and cleaning up after the work is done.

    Step 10

    Landscape the new home with only the basics. Get your lawn going to make the yard more functional and presentable. Add landscaping features such as retaining walls, fences, trees, patios and planting beds in subsequent years when you have the extra money.

    About the Author

    Shelley Frost started writing professionally in 2007. She specializes in parenting and education topics. Frost gained her experience in various positions in the education field, including classroom teaching and tutoring. She holds a BA in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

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