So here we are, finishing up our house. The appliances were bought, the drywall was being finished, the windows were framed, and thanks to a painting party our trim and walls were painted.
Having that painting party saved us about $5000, and if you don't know how to paint it isn't that big of a deal to learn. If you look up some good tutorials on you tube and practice on some discrete areas, you will get the hang of it in no time. Grab some buddies, order some after painting food, and prepare to save! (I should note that I was busy with other work, so my in-laws, parents, and wife painted most of the house/trim:)
Where did this leave us?
Well at this point we had already spent a significant amount of time and money(10-15k) out of our pocket to make sure our house stayed within the original loan amount. I was not going to go over budget gosh dangit!
So after all this work we realized we were still going to be over budget in the flooring category. Not a problem said my fantastic father. I can help you install the floors.
Carpet? Noooo. Heck no. So we still paid the installers to carpet the 3 bedrooms.
Interlocking engineered hardwood purchased at Lowes. Yes indeedy. My father grabbed his trusty jig saw and table saw while I bought a rubber mallet and the flooring.
The flooring came out to about $700.00, which of course we paid for out of pocket. This saved us about 3k up front on materials. Then we worked on the floor for a couple of days, each evening after we were both off work. This saved labor cost, although I'm not really for sure what the labor cost would have been. Needless to say thank you Pops, you saved me quite a bit and instilled some great knowledge.
We also cut some costs and saved about 2k in our cabinet budget. We still have really nice cabinets done by a wonderful carpenter who I call the wood doctor. Seriously the guy is a genius when it comes to kitchen and bathroom layout. Well worth every penny, we just didn't want a lot of fancy bells and whistles. We are simple folk.
Ah yes. No house would be complete without the man making some sort of major mistake during the building process. I decided that would be our master shower. I thought for some reason that after tackling all of those previous projects I would try my hand at tiling. Let me just say that Mr. Money Mustache makes it look very easy to do. I can take an easy task and turn it into a difficult one. One that ends up costing $6,000. One that should have cost much much less. I'm not going to go into great detail, but lets just say that I called in a pro (although much to late) and will not be tiling anytime soon. I am pleased with the work the pro did, and he did it at a reasonable price and on short notice. Kudos to him, thumbs down to me:(
The sad part is that if I had just called in a professional in the first place, the shower would have cost about 2k less. SUCK!
Then there were various misc expenses like the gas line for about 8k, lights and fans for $600, etc and various other projects we did like hang the shades, fans, fixtures, but I digress... we were finished!!!
So at the end of the day, and house building, we moved in. Since we had very little in the way of possessions it only cost us a moving pizza party and we didn't have to rent or hire any people/equipment. Overall we came in on budget.
Down Payment: $11k
Out of Pocket/Cash Flowed: $15-20k
Total: $ 200,293.00
Whoa. Kind of hard to believe that I spent that much money on a house, now that I see the total. I guess that I could have scrimped on other materials, but ultimatley my wife and I are very happy with the finished product. Do we have granite counter-tops with vaulted ceilings? No. We have a modest 3 bed, 2 bath ranch with plenty of time to make finishing touches.
So we left a few things unfinished to make it under budget and those include....
- Patio, Sidewalk, and Driveway (Sidewalk done by me this past summer, others still to be done)
- Wood Stove (put in by me recently, just in time for winter!)
- Shutters (put on by me this past summer)
- Gutter guards (yet to be done)
- 2 bedrooms left unpainted, but primed (yet to be done)
- One back wall in kitchen left unpainted (yet to be done)
- Basement unfinished (yet to be done)
- Downspouts buried (done by me this past summer)
- Landscaping/planting grass (done by me this past summer)
Things you learn from building a house and staying on budget...
1. You can do things you never thought possible with a good attitude, a little help, and persistence.
2. If you sacrifice in the early times, you will be under control during the tough ones.
3. Sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel and admit you were wrong.
4. Have more saved than you think you need, because you may need more than you thought.
5. YOU CAN COME IN ON BUDGET!!! Don't let anyone tell you it is not possible, you just have to keep a very close eye on the house, hire the right people, and realize that you may not get everything you want right away.