How to fight rising material costs when building a house



Rising costs of materials, especially lumber, coupled with strong demand for housing, have caused single-family home prices to skyrocket across the country. Homebuyers are limited to ever smaller home inventories resulting in bidding wars and high selling prices. With limited inventory, low interest rates, and COVID-19 influences, many people are considering building homes on their own land.

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Building a house from scratch is a very complex process that has endless benefits when the right approach is taken from the start. Buyers who plan to build a home on their own land can mitigate cost increases by focusing on waste reduction, strategic design, and performing in-depth due diligence in the land before making the purchase. .

Follow best practices to reduce waste and save money.

Smart builders implement a practice called “Pre-recycling,” which is defined as the process of reducing waste by avoiding purchasing items that will generate waste in the first place. Pre-cycling includes:

• Minimize packaging of products, such as plastic, cardboard and paper to reduce waste that ends up in the landfill.

• Ordering bulk materials instead of individual packages

• Give preference to returnable containers and packaging if they are available from the manufacturer

Inevitably, builders will have to go to the landfill. Travel can be reduced and expense eliminated by planning materials before construction and ordering the right quantity. This can reduce the labor and product costs which are acquired by cutting or modifying larger size products. This is especially important for lumber since lumber is an important part of the material that ends up in landfills.

Builders should also consider reselling any unused equipment to the supplier or donating unused items to charities, such as Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, for a tax benefit.

Think strategically when designing the house.

Personalization is one of the biggest advantages of designing a home. However, most buyers focus on the aesthetics of the personalization rather than the savings benefits. When it comes to the overall design, smaller homes are not only cheaper to build, but the long-term costs, including energy bills and maintenance, are cheaper.

Homebuyers also want to think through the use of each room and minimize “ghost spaces” or underutilized spaces, including spaces as large as an attic or as small as a cabinet.

Designs should prioritize aspects of the house that will be difficult or expensive to modify, such as designated rooms or the exterior of the house. DIY projects or small adjustments can be factored into a subsequent budget.

Do your due diligence before buying land.

Just as important as the aesthetics of a land, due diligence provides buyers with information that can have limitations. Due diligence can include information on how the land is zoned, whether or not there are utility connections, deed restrictions and other items that are going to impact the budget.

One of the most important steps homebuyers can take, surveying, is a small investment that provides a wealth of valuable information that will help protect themselves from a much larger future investment.

Kyle Bradstreet is Vice President of Supply Chain at Adair Houses, a leading builder on your land that specializes in high quality custom homes in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona and soon Utah. Bradstreet spent 18 years in the home construction industry, including almost 8 years with Adair.


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