9 Ways to Save Money When Building Your Dream House.

Everybody hopes to build a dream house in their lifetime. Without proper planning and consultation,building a house can be a horrendous experience. There are many factors to consider before and during the process of building your own home. Following the steps below, will help you save money.

1.Plan your budget.

This is the most important factor, it determines the kind of lifestyle you want, the location to buy land, the type of house to build.What size of rooms you want? How much are you willing to spend on building the house? Where will you get the money?How to save money?

Don’t start to build a house that will stall midway,due to lack of proper financial planning.

 2. Your Choice of Land.

Different location have different rules for construction, some are regulated by the local authorities,there is also zoning of areas to serve specific roles e.g industrial zones, residential zones, commercial zones, single dwellings,multi-dwelllings, some have controlled designs(bungalows only or maisonette only).

Type of ground also varies, is it a swampy or black cotton ground?Will you save money because,the ground is naturally able to support the building, or you must do special foundation for it, which definitely may be expensive to build on?

As we covered earlier in this blog on step by step building…its important to keenly scrutinize the land you are buying. There is a lot of fraud in land transactions. Use reputable land experts, to help you check the historical use of the land. Go over the transaction details line by line.

3.Visit homes/Check online for samples.

Many people are not able to visualize size or arrangement of rooms on a paper unless they see one physically. With many new developments coming up everyday, you can visit several homes to get a feel and be able to understand room sizes, window sizes, wall finishes and many more ideas, which can be implemented or modified to suit your life style. Lack of clear vision of size of rooms, can lead to a very big design that can poke holes into your pocket, or very small rooms that are not functional.

4. Seek expert advice.

There are several professionals involve in building a house. Use skilled and experienced consultants who can help you make your dream house to become a reality. This should be done within your budget expectations.

  • Architect: He should be able to visualize your dreams and put them on paper. He should give you both a beautiful house that is functional. It’s always cheaper to make changes on the drawings than to make changes when construction is under way.
  • Structural engineer: He should be skilled and give you drawings that have  been checked and stamped by a registered engineer. The structural safety of the house is paramount. He should be deeply involved in all structural areas, foundation, slab, beams, columns and the roof.
  • Services Engineers: They aid in designs of electrical, plumbing and drainage of the house. They should supervise the electrical, plumbing and drainage work.
  • Quantity Surveyor/Estimators: I can’t stress enough! Before breaking ground make sure you have the estimates for building the house. It should be done in stages, foundation stage, walling above slab, roofing stage etc. You must have the estimates before starting construction. Go through the estimates item by item and understand it completely. With estimates, you will know whether you have a design that fits your budget.

You must appoint one of the consultants, usually the architect to act as your project manager, and to supervise the contractor.

5.Hire The Right Builder.

How should you go about choosing a contractor? Building a house is an expensive venture, so u must choose a contractor who is as committed to realize your dreams as you.

The right contractor should be qualified and experienced in his line of trade. Wrong choice of a builder can cost money and  time, so you better be very careful. Before you hire a contractor, get a  list of reference and ask to see some of the work he  has done. Talk to his previous clients to know his weakness and strengths. Areas to check are honesty, competence, is he wasteful with materials? Can he meet deadlines?

Is he a good communicator, can you communicate easily with him at anytime during the construction period?Your friends or relatives who have built their homes can refer to you the contractors they used.The contractor should be   registered with relevant local authority.

6.Shop and Compare Contractors’ rates.

To save money,don’t settle for the first quote given to you; you should get as many quotes as possible, that way you will be  in good position to negotiate for a fair rate. Some times there may be up to four times difference in rates.NB as you compare the rates remember that the lowest rate may not be the best choice, you may end up with cheap substandard job. You have to balance between reasonable costs and best quality job.

Even for materials do the same. Shop and compare prices of the materials. You may get one hardware charging cement fairly but expensive in steel reinforcements.

 7.Secure your agreement.

In construction industry you have to be very careful. At every stage there is risk of loosing money to unscrupulous people posing as experts, builders or suppliers. Before hiring a builder or a consultant, please get everything in writing. If it’s the architect designing the house, have a formal agreement, showing exactly what he should produce at the end of the contract and what will be the payment agreed upon.

Never pay everything at once, breakdown the payment in to suitable installments. There has should be a down payment, payment during and after completion of the task. We have seen  many cases of people disappearing after being paid full amount before starting work.

8.Give  Labor only Contract.

Though very hectic and time-consuming, you can save money by sourcing and buying materials on your own and give the contractor labor based contract only. The contractor will still be required to help you decide on the quality and quantity of   materials to buy. The materials should be delivered on time, otherwise, the contractor may have idle workers on site and he may charge you for idle hours. So advance planning is very important. The client has to be ahead of the builder as far as procurement of materials is concerned. When you are buying materials you must consider the points below

  • Check contractor for wastage of materials.
  • You must secure the materials on site both night and day.
  • You must quantify materials delivered to site.

9. Stay focused and organized.

Make sure the construction is going on as outlined in the programme.Have a record of all transactions done since commencement of the project.There should be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly meetings with all consultants and the contractor.Communication between the client, builder and consultants should be open and clear. All instructions should be communicated on time.Team work, cooperation should be encouraged among all the players in the project.You are sure to save money with when you implement the points above.

 

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  4. Wambui

    At some point I should probably write about my experience when I build my own house – which is now near completion. I think a lot of people will benefit from my experience. What I want to say is that I agree on your last point about labor only contract, source for your own materials – the ‘fundi’ will advise but ultimately you do the ordering/buying, and only let him buy for you the little items if they run short of, like nails :). I found this approach the best because 1) you get the best quality 2) you build a rapport with a supplier and they give a good discount 3) the ‘fundi’ is not so involved to minimize chances of him getting lower quality materials or even robbing you. I have a good ‘fundi’ and he has been very keen on keeping wastage to a minimum, for example, he told me I should not under estimate how expensive nails are when you are building a house [especially the roof and ceiling!] you can find yourself spending thousands on them because your workers keep nicking a few every time, so he has to count them – his workers hate him for it, but they now know they cannot take anything away from site. Good advice by the way – still relevant 2yrs later!

    1. oriyo victor (Post author)

      Hi Wambui.
      Thanks for visiting the blog.Thank you also for your insight as a developer who is keen to see that she is not short change.Keep it up.
      Regards.
      Victor.

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