In spite of the gloom surrounding the real estate landscape, there is a bright side for investors in the home building construction industry, and homeowners who are considering building their own new custom homes. Due to the economic downturn, cost of building materials has fallen dramatically, but the good news is that the rate of decline is gradually slowing down.


Home designCredit: ePlans

For example, as of the end of 2008, timber for house framing fell to its lowest price in 4 years, down by a remarkable 55% since its highest point in 2004. Producers of drywall producers reported a 7% further decline in their material cost since last year, from prices that were already at a historical low, and the cost of labour has declined.


By the end of 2008, single family homes had fallen below the previous historical low in 1991, and this now means custom home builders and building contractors are thirsty for new projects. And to cap it all, prices of land or plots have fallen by more than 20% in the last two years in many regions of the country. So considering the fact that a substantial chunk of new home construction costs goes toward purchasing the land, affordable and sometimes cheap land is one of the best reasons to get going, and commence a home building project.


Furthermore, the building contractors, labourers and project managers working at the moment are seasoned professionals looking desperately for jobs, and who are probably more qualified than the average labourer found just a few years ago anyway.


How to Cut Building Costs

Buy your own custom home plans from online stock plan retailers, and build it yourself by being your own general contractor/project manager.


Buying custom home plans online 

House Drawing Plan(50797)Credit: houseplans

Buying custom home plans online offers significant savings over hiring an architect to produce building plans drawn from scratch. An architect’s fee may cost as much as 20% of the total value of the new home, that's tens of thousands of dollars that can be spent on other useful things such as upgrades, square footage, additional space, custom finishes, or money that can stay in your pocket.


Whether searching for, or buying new home plans, you will notice that their design portfolio is filled with styles ranging from the simple house design, to luxury dream home designs in every classic or contemporary architectural style you can think of. Styles range from the Colonial style home designs, to the Country cottage, A-frame homes and Mediterranean architectural designs. There is always a dream home design for every aspiring homeowner/builder.


Build your own home.

If you have some experience in home construction, and can devote some time to the project as to a part-time job, you may consider being your own general contractor. As a general contractor you will have the opportunity to keep the project on schedule and on budget. Tasks you need to implement will include:

  • Interviewing subcontractors
  • Hiring the work crews
  • Shopping for building materials
  • Acquiring the necessary permits
  • Visiting the site regularly once construction commences

You should look into enforcing a good level of craftsmanship that is up to code and to your own personal standards. So, if you have the know-how, or if you are willing to learn from a building consultant, acting as your own general contractor should save you as much as 25% of the whole construction cost.


Taking the First Steps

Knowing when the conditions are right to build a new home will help prompt you to go out to market, online and offline. And having the knowledge of what to do once you're there, will ensure you'll be in control of what is an undisputedly complicated, but exciting venture.


There are aspects of building a custom home that's clearly different from buying an already constructed (pre-built) home. For example, nobody will tell you how much you have to pay to build a new home. So, you can only determine the home construction estimate, either by talking with builders in your locality, or by using an online cost-to-build calculating tool that's available from where you buy your house designs and floor plans.


The main objective is to prepare a budget for the house building project, which essentially means starting to make decisions about the home on issues bordering on:

  • Size of home
  • Location of plot of land
  • Quality of materials to be used
  • Labour workforce
  • Amenities required

This is also the time to consider closing in on the decision about the builder who will build the house using your custom home plans. It's good to seek out referrals and note their qualifications as well as their building bids, after which they can be narrowed down to three builders.


The Cost-to-Build Calculating Tool

The cost-to-build calculating tool is useful for researching and calculating the material and labour costs to be incurred for the home construction works, based on any of the chosen custom home plans. But unlike generic calculators based on national averages, the costing tool returns a figure that is zip code specific to the location or region where the home will be built.


By choosing to buy home plans online, most reputable retailers plan will give buyers access to this very handy and versatile building cost estimating tool.


 Is Now Really a Good Time To Build a Home?

Yes, if you have the resources. More than ever, building a new home may never be this cheap again. Because let's face it, the real estate market has taken a bad hit in the last few years, and many have had to sell off plots or parcels of their land to survive the harsh economic downturn.


Home plans can be purchased at a fraction of an architects fees, land is cheaper to buy, be it finished lots or raw land, and estimating is a breeze, so yes, it is a good time to take that plunge, buy your custom home plans from online retailers, and proceed with building the dream home design of your choice.