I just got my newest issue of SmartMoney magazine and there was an article that caught my attention. The article talks about some of the common shortcuts that some homebuilders are taking in order to cut costs. Interestingly, from what I have noticed so far, our builder has impressed me in the other direction. As we have been watching it all come together, there have been a few times when I was pleasantly surprised to see their thoroughness in an area and the quality of items used was a bit better than I had expected. That’s not to say they haven’t made some changes to save a few bucks, but I have seen any that were used to our detriment.
10 common cutbacks builders are using
17-foot Double Garage
The recommended width is 20 feet, but some builders knock it down to 17 feet. Apparently the builder can save as much as $8500 by doing this.
Textured walls and ceilings
A textured wall takes less labor to create than a smooth wall. But later on for the homeowner matching the texture will probably be difficult.
Reduced Central Air
Most homeowners probably won’t know until after they have moved in if the AC system is too weak for the house.
Missing water valves
This one is pretty desperate. The valves cost about $35 dollars each and some builders aren’t using any shut-off valves in the plumbing. I am not sure how this isn’t a code violation, but it just seems pretty silly to me.
24 inch stud intervals
Apparently you can frame the walls with 24 inches between the studs rather than the more common 16 inches and not lose any structural integrity. This seems like a good idea and would probably knock thousands off the cost of a home.
Architects probably hate this idea, but builders save money by having all the plumbing stuff as close to each other as possible.
I didn’t realize that windows that don’t open are that much cheaper. But the article says that builders can save as much as $200 per window.
I guess there are parts of the world where this could work but with the 5+ inches of rain we have gotten the last week, I don’t think I would be too excited about that.
Squeezing the lots
There is a builder in Florida that squeezes 20 foot-wide dwellings onto lots that are 27 feet wide. I have always wanted to run and jump from roof to roof like chase scenes in the movies.
Some builders save by, “narrowing the driveway from two car widths to one as it approaches the curb.” This just sounds so crazy to me, I think I can picture it, but it looks weird in my head. If anyone has a picture of what this looks like, please let me know – I am curious.
What else have you noticed?
I am going to do a little inspecting around the house this weekend, now that I am armed with a little more knowledge. Do you know of any other cutbacks builders are making to save a few bucks?
Photo by: Stangls