Blog Series: Building A Home ~ Saving As You Build

Once you've decided to go ahead on the build, secured a plot of land, and put your money down to start the process, THEN what? 

Well, in today's market it's likely you sold your home BEFORE starting the build. If you had a home to sell. This is what we did. Luckily, the home we had been living in for the previous 5 years we got for a steal (it was a foreclosure) and we made a tidy little sum on it when we sold. 

This allowed us to purchase our land outright, which helped save us in the long run.

Here are some helpful tips on SELLING your current home to maximize profit: 

1. DECLUTTER. No one wants to walk through a house on an open-house cluttered with all your stuff. Decluttering is also good for selling off unneeded items. Allow people to see how spacious your home is and highlight that it has no storage issues.

2. STAGE. Remove personal photos, clean from top to bottom. Rid the house of any smells, stains, or anything that is likely to turn buyers off. 

3. HELP PROMOTE. Don't rely on just the listing to promote your home. Make your own ad and sprinkle it all over social media to reach the most potential buyers.

4. REMEMBER, IT'S A SELLERS MARKET RIGHT NOW. Inventory is so low that you can command top dollar for your house. So negotiate wisely.


Once you've sold your home (and given the market right now this process could go lightening fast, so hold on to your hats)'ll have to figure out your next move. 

I would HIGHLY suggest that this next move of "home while new home is being built" is at least a CONSIDERATION before you close on your old home and you're standing next to a truck full of belongings wondering "what now"?  Right now is the time you need to be AHEAD of the game. PREplan.

There are several options available for folks who are in the building process and need a place to go. 

This was the option we went with, so I'll cover it first. My in-laws, because they're a nice mix of awesome and obviously stark-raving mad, offered to have my husband and I AND our three kids live with them while we built. What we hoped would only be a 5-6 month process turned into a year. A year in their basement.  
To go with this option, make sure your relationship with that family is strong enough to withstand close quarters. You WILL get on one another's nerves. Trust me. 
Sometimes the family will offer rent-free living and sometimes they may ask for financial chipping in. Either way, it's wonderfully helpful and generous if this is an option. 

Some hotels offers extended stay options. This would probably work well for folks who don't have any kids. I couldn't fathom what it would be like to be in a hotel room with three kids for a year. No thank you.

If you can find an apartment willing to lease month-to-month, this would be ideal. We looked at possible apartments at the beginning of our process. I couldn't find any that would accept month-to-month that were in a semi-decent area for my kids. So, we abandoned that idea pretty quickly. 

This has worked for several people I know. If you have friends that are snowbirds (in Wisconsin, a snowbird is someone who lives in Florida or Arizona or somewhere warm half the year) you may be able to use their summer home as a "house sitting" situation. They get the peace-of-mind that someone is caring for their home and you get an inexpensive option

Whatever your temporary housing decision may be, make sure it doesn't completely destroy your budget. If you need to get storage for your items, try to declutter to the point where all items can fit into one storage facility, not multiple. Our storage is $165 a month and I'm REALLY looking forward to kicking that bill to the curb, for reals.


Once you are settled into your temporary digs, spend the time as the build is happening taking advantage of money-saving opportunities for things you know you are going to need. 

Since we were able to save so much by not having a mortgage while we built, we were able to put even MORE down on the house + purchase the majority of the furnishings we needed for the home. Cash only, of course. 

Also, it may sound like complete overkill, but keep meticulous records. Every email with the builder or vendors, every meeting with your bank, any piece of paper.  I put together a building binder and organized and re-organized it as we went along. Being UBER-organized WILL save you money, trust me. No build goes perfectly. You have to act a bit as your own construction manager or general contractor sometimes to make sure the plan is being followed and there aren't unnecessary funds being allocated or change orders happening that you don't understand. 

The closer you get to the end, you'll be saving more receipts for light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, etc.  Always keep your allowances in mind. I kind of made it a game. How UNDER could I get? :) 

As you meet with vendors, like the flooring folks or the masons, always ask to see a variety of items in a variety of budgets. Just because something is a "budget" option doesn't make it BAD or "cheap" looking. 

For example, we were allowed "X" amount of dollars for stone (our subdivision specifies there has to be a certain percentage of stone on the home). I went to the mason and the stone that was picked out as "standard" from the builder wasn't my taste. At all. I wanted old-school brick. So, I asked if they had any old-school brick that looked a bit vintagey and not only DID they, but it was a lot cheaper than the pre-selected stuff. 



Once the papers are signed and holes are dug, your job is NOT over. Keeping close tabs and good notes on the whole process will save you not only money but tons of aggravation.