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Things you can do later?

Posted by TammyTE (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 16, 12 at 0:16

What are some things that can be done later that would save a bit of money when building? I'm thinking things we could possibly do ourselves...being realistic in that it can't be anything too important to function because it wouldn't get done for a while. ;-) Something we could maybe do using money from a tax return.

I know there are some things we must have to meet the regulations of having a mortgage. Does anyone know if that varies lender to lender or if there is a basic list somewhere? We might have the option of taking out a farm loan and alleviate that problem altogether but it would be at a slightly higher interest rate, which we would rather not do.

One thing I wish we had more money for is wider trim. So now I am wondering if we would be better off not doing any trim right now and doing it later. Thoughts on this? Would that be a terrible idea? Would it make it harder to deal with flooring/door installs and such? Hmmm Maybe I should ask the builder what the difference in cost would be for wider trim. If only just in the main living areas of the house.

Sorry for getting sidetracked. So any suggestions on things we could do later?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Things you can do later?

Our bank would not let us not do trim since we thought the same thing- we would just put it in later. But the bank said no. It has to be done for the house to considered "complete".

We designed our build where we put a lot of money into the shell/siding/window detail and then we are doing an ikea kitchen and laminate floors. We have a one year old and a almost three year old. So none of that stuff is going to stay "nice" anyway. So I figure when they are older, we will want to update anyway and at that time we will put in a nicer kitchen and real hardwoods.

What about things you do yourselves? You would have to be good at it but my husband is doing the tiliing in the bathrooms. Granted he is good at it and his job is flexible- he only works 8 days a month- so he has the time to do it. But it will save us a TON of money for him to do that work.

Our budget is lower too at just over 300K and I think we are building a pretty nice house for that price (2400 square feet, hardi shingles over the whole house, trimmed out windows...etc). To make a smaller budget work- you have to skimp somewhere, just make sure your are not skimping on things that will be very hard to change later, like your shell.


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RE: Things you can do later?

Ughhhh! I just posted about doing lighting later. It would help my budget significantly. I also am weighing some of my trim upgrades ugh!!!!!!!!!!!

But even super high end builds like Holly from thingsthatinspire have to put off her dream chandelier because of budget and Suzanne Kasler is her designer! She just has a light bulb in her dining room ceiling. Makes me feel better.


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RE: Things you can do later?

Well, I thought I posted a reply but apparently not.

Lighting! That's a good one. :)

Dh is very handy with plumbing, electrical and such. Not so much on finish work. ;-) We've never done tile ourselves. Actually, we've never had tile! I am seriously considering a tile backsplash in the kitchen though. Dreaming....


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RE: Things you can do later?

We waited to get our gas logs until after...we just had the gas piped in to the fireplace. I also used up my lighting budget on just a few fixtures that I adored, so the lighting in the children's baths, laundry, closets...were Home Depot. I might change them at some point or I might not.


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RE: Things you can do later?

Definitely do not plan to do trim later. This will impact doors, windows, switches, etc. Do the cost comparison - $2500 for standard trim vs. $3500 for upgraded. I would find that extra $1,000 somewhere.

We are in the process of getting a mortgage with an ag lender in the Midwest. The mortgage will be sold on the secondary market and we locked in at 2.5% for 15 years. Just a shocker to us considering our first house was 13% in 1980. Yeah, we were stupid, young and in love. What's 13% interest? No big deal. ha ha ha

1) flooring - lower grade carpet in bedroom or vinyl in bathrooms, mudroom, laundry

2) lighting - many of my lights come from Lowes because the budget burst mid-build. We selected the "forever" lighting in the kitchen, living room, foyer and master suite.

3) entry door hardware - This can be a budget breaker. We chose a standard handleset that should last quite awhile, but will be easily replaced in the future

4) doorbell - Another run of the mill door bell for us. Not what we wanted, but a cost savings. We had the builder wire for two - one on the main floor and the 2nd in the lower level. Both are painted the same color as the walls and blend in.

5) Landscaping - I say this as I look at dirt, dirt and more dirt. We are DIY all the way on landscaping. No budget this year and with the drought it is not ideal for planting. Our acre lot will be completed in 3-5 annual phases.

6) bathroom hardware - I am not a fan of towel bars and chose hooks in the guest bathrooms (we have two guest suites for our married with families adult kids).

7) kitchen hardware - I purchased higher end pulls and knobs for the kitchen. There are lots of cabinets in the kitchen. I also have knobs from Lowes and they are equally as good if not better. Much less expensive, too. A knob, is a knob, is a knob.

Overall, the bones of the house should not be replacement products. Best of luck!


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RE: Things you can do later?

Our builder suggested that if we needed more space to hold off on the following:
Paint
crown molding
exterior patio pour or consider brick or stone vs. stamped/colored. Also, screening in the patio later.
Finishing laundry room-white box with store bought shelves in the interim.
On the exterior he said he could check with the local code to see if we could wait on things like outdoor ceiling fans and indoor. He was unsure about passing with just junction boxes wired and ready/capped, but with so many fixtures it's a possibility as these are inexpensive to pick up later and install.
Good Luck with your decisions:)

I'm going ahead with the total build once we agree on the layout but if costs continue to rise we may have to consider these.


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RE: Things you can do later?

These are what we did:
- only have grills on the windows on the front of the house. We can add later if we choose to.
- laminate floors in bathrooms
- scrapping built ins and fireplace in the lower level and doing later.


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RE: Things you can do later?

I forgot to mention exterior stonework on foundation. Our builder said it would be the same price with the build or later for us. Our addition is not visable to anyone since we are set back in the woods on our lot so this won't affect anyone other than friends and family:)


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RE: Things you can do later?

A bank is going to insist on a house that is ready for resale - that's what they do if you default - they don't want to own your house.


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RE: Things you can do later?

Good post! We are trying to think of ways to trim the budget but don't want to skimp on the bones of the house.

We are probably going to:

- cheap counter-tops instead of granite
- cheap carpet on the 2nd floor
- I am running the Cat6 and alarm wiring
- I am going to see what kind of savings I can get by doing my own landscaping (save on labor).

I want to ask about how we can get credit for items that we purchase as oppose to using the builders vendors.

I am just trying to wrap my brain around this right now. I like the idea about the unfinished laundry room.

All of this so we can have 10 foot ceilings, vinyl windows, 3 car garage :)


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RE: Things you can do later?

Thank you all!

So about $1000 more for trim upgrade? I'll of course double check that number with our builder but that just might be worth it to me in the long run. :)

Good ideas on lighting in main areas and then doing the kids rooms and such later. We could totally do that.

You all will probably not like this one but....I don't plan to do much (if any) landscaping. I'm sure something will be done at some point but in my current season of life it's not my priority. So big savings there!

Oooh 3 car garage. That would be heavenly. :) We need at least one bay for all the bikes and riding toys. LOL

Great ideas everyone!


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RE: Things you can do later?

We were in the same position you were in. Our main dilema was to go with nice finishes or go with the structure and square footage. We chose square footage since that would be the most expensive to and honestly probaly wouldnt get added later. Our intial plan was 3BR/3BA & 2 car garage and we added a 4th bedroom and an additional garage as well. Since we chose to put our money in the structure, other areas settled for builer grade. It really comes down to is the upgrade worth the time and hassle to do later on and is it feasible to do it later on? We love diy so alot of things we chose to wait on.

1. Builder grade carpet and laminate floors in kitchen, mudroom and bathrooms (we will do our own tile)

2. Pre-wired ceiling for ceiling fans in pretty much all rooms and pre-wired for pendants as well (we added those once we moved in)

3. We had builder pre-wire for an alarm and structured wiring panel. We will add our own alarm later and having all low voltage home run to a central closet makes things alot easier. I ran my own low voltage wiring (cat5e, Quad RG6 & speaker wire & some alarm wiring). I ran wire for whole house audio(6 zones, 6 sub zones), 5.1 surround sound in bonus room and great room, door bell cameras at the front/rear doors and cameras on the corners of the house. This allowed me to save thousands of dollars. If your builder won't let you run low voltage wiring I would at least have them run you wiring chases from the basement to 1st floor or 1st floor to 2nd floor so that you can run wires later.

4. Builer upcharge for plantation shutters was crazy for us so we didn't have any window treatments done. We are adding plantation shutters currently

5. We did have builder add granite as it was only $1,500(nothing exotic, just NVG) and not worth the expense or trouble of adding later. Things like tiled backsplash or led undercabinet lights we will add later.

Thats just a small list but as you can see just depends on what you can/are willing to do later. On your original question of trim, I am the diy'er but I would just pay the upcharge and be done with it.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our home sell/build blog


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RE: Things you can do later?

xclusive - thank you!

Great ideas about wiring ahead of time for lots of things.

We were already planning to do vinyl plank flooring but maybe a lower grade vinyl would save quite a bit. I'll have to check.

This has been so helpful!

I'm really hoping we will end up with wider trim in the budget. Gotta see what dh thinks. :)


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RE: Things you can do later?

i agree about doing the trim now as it will impact so many things that won't be easy to change later.

we are not putting proper light fixtures in the dining room, guest bedroom, part of the basement, and laundry room now because we can't afford to buy what we want at the moment and it's fine for me to just have a bulb or something simple for the time being.

have you looked for remnants for countertops? many of the stone yards around here sell remnants that are large enough for small vanities and they're a fraction of the cost. i plan to do this for one of our bathrooms. also, check craigslist and the like because there are people who buy these items and can't afford to do the remodel they planned on. home depot and lowes have clearance tile items all the time in our area. i tiled part of our current basement myself with tile from their clearance stack and saved a ton of money and the tile was rather decent actually.

check local builders auctions--we have some in ohio where you can get tubs, jacuzzis, pedestal sinks, etc. for very cheaply. also, i've heard of some people having good luck with habitat restore locations.

good luck.


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