I have for a long time steered people away from focusing on Stock Plans as a way to save cost of significance when building a home. But I am changing my mind. It is not so much about the idea that that stock 28×48 house plan is less expensive then the custom design 28×48 ranch plan. The truth is they likely cost the same. But it is about a mind set.
Over the last few years we have seen a number of factors increase the cost of construction of any home. Building code changes, land cost escalation, the increases in minimum wages pushing wages up for skilled labor as well as the ever increasing cost of insurances and workman’s comp all impact the cost of building a home.
What does that have to do with custom versus stock models, well, nothing. But 5 years ago if a customer walked through my door with a $200,000 budget we had a lot of options we could provide them and stay in that number. Today, there is almost no way to get to that number. And if we can get there is requires a lot of restraint.
I have had a number of projects blow up in the last 2 years because we failed to stay focused on where we started. People who came to me with a limited budget and our first pass at it was under budget and made it look like it could happen. But flexibility is the devils playground. a few design tweaks, a couple of upgrade, all hard thought out and committed to. Little by little we creep the cost over the target while at the same time feeling each change is more necessary then ever before. Next thing we know our $198,000 target has crept up and up and now the house we love, the house we desperately need it to be, is at $220,000 and just out of reach.
It is always unfortunate to me when that happens, a customer who just is desperate for a house of their own, one simple and new, not needing years of upgrades and changes, one that is solid and efficient becomes out of reach for the need of a bigger closet and better interior doors, and laminate flooring and a porch on the front etc. These items that were not even part of the discussion to begin with become critical.
So if you know going in that the budget is tight, select a stock plan that was designed to be an affordable build, limit yourself to “standard” options, and get a great house you can live in today. Upgrades can always be done later when money allows. Keep it simple, make it easy and have a home of your own