Building a Home: Where to Save. Where to Splurge.

Posted by Jessica Akright on Jan 13, 2017 14:00:00 PM

Topic: ALL

Newly finished kitchen

Depending on your overall budget, there are many ways to save money when building a home, but also some splurges worth the extra investment.

Where to Save:

  • Woodwork − Relatively inexpensive woods, like pine and poplar, can be painted trendy white, or stained to look like much more expensive woods. In low-traffic areas, it is hard to tell the difference whether it’s for baseboards, door trim or chair rails. And if you appreciate that white woodwork goes well with any wall paint color, processed wood trim, like MDF, is less expensive, already primed and ready to paint.

  • Tile – Opt for ceramic tile in bathrooms, kitchens and around fireplaces, which is less expensive than other tile options, widely available, and comes in a variety of colors.

  • Light Fixtures - Select just a few high-end, eye-catching fixtures for main areas in your home, but opt for basic fixtures elsewhere. You can always change them out later as you come across good deals.

  • Cabinetry − Select midrange cabinetry instead of top-of-the-line. Self-closing doors and roll-out shelves are nice but may not be necessary for day-to-day life. Think realistically about how you’ll use your kitchen and spend your money there.

  • Carpet – A comfortable carpet can be more economical than a more expensive floor covering.

  • Paint − Color is the least expensive way to add interest to the exterior or interior, especially with unique painting techniques. And, if you can wield a brush, doing much of the interior painting yourself will save you a bundle.

  • Buy Local − Getting material from local sources, such as fireplace or exterior stones from a local quarry, may be easier on your budget, more interesting and environmentally friendly.

  • Freestanding storage – Individual decorative shelf and storage pieces can add interest to a room and may be less expensive than built-ins.

  • Basements – Postpone finishing your basement or rec room until more critical needs are taken care of. Finishing it yourself is likely to be less expensive than having your builder complete it.

  • Landscaping – A little sod around the entrances is helpful when first moving in, but more extensive landscaping (lawn sodding or seeding, planting trees, creating planting beds and gardens) can always be done later and on your own if you have even a little bit of a green thumb.

Where to Splurge:

  • Energy-efficient windows – You’ll save on heating and cooling costs year-round, and quickly recoup upfront costs. High-quality windows offer 80% or more return on investment. As an added bonus, Energy Star–rated products may qualify for tax credits and rebates.

  • Ceilings − Consider a 10-foot or higher ceiling. In smaller rooms, it can really improve the sense of more space.

  • Heated Bathroom Floors – If you can swing the cost, radiant heating systems can warm a room via hot water or electrical wires installed beneath a finished ceramic tile, concrete, or wood floor.

  • Holiday Lighting – If holiday decorating is your thing, rather than piecing together your electric cords and hoping for nearby outlets, consider having multiple outdoor outlets and/or permanent lighting installed during the build.

  • Walk-in Shower − It may cost a bit more up front, but extends the time you will be able to stay in your home as you age and find it harder to get in and out of bathtubs.

  • Media Room − Media rooms serve many purposes in a home including as a gathering place for family and friends.

  • Home Security – It just makes a lot of sense today to protect your home and possessions with a security system that includes sensors at doors and windows, motion detectors, exterior cameras and lights and a control panel for arming and disarming various parts of your security system.

  • Bigger garage – you may not have 3 or 4 cars, but when you go to sell, possible buyers might be looking for this increasingly popular feature. Plus, it will provide you with more storage now.

  • Carpeting – Opt for moderately priced carpeting, but spend a little more on a very good carpet pad. Even the most expensive carpet will feel cheap without a good pad underneath.

Download our comprehensive financing and building guide full of tips and information to help you get started.