Whether you’re planning a remodel or building a new home, setting a budget is essential and exhausting. It is always a financial balancing act: where should you splurge and where should you save? Chances are, you’ll have to cut costs on some things to make room in the budget for necessities. You may be tempted by extravagant features and other high-end customizations, but these temptations are exactly what cause home building or renovation projects to go over budget.

Value engineering, or the process of saving in some areas to spend more in others, is the best way to respect and stick to your budget. You can cut costs without cutting corners as long as you know how to move budgeted amounts from one category to another.

Here are three things you should and should not cut costs on during your home remodel or build.

3 Things You Should Never Cut Costs On


It’s important to work with a home builder who is licensed, experienced, and highly-rated. Skimping on labor and hiring the less reputable, unlicensed, lowest-bid builder is not a good idea. You could run into unpermitted projects, inconsistency, communication issues, or just poor workmanship.

Ask around, check references, view previous projects, and interview builders before you choose the right team for the job. Professional builders can help the build go smoothly and seamlessly, can purchase supplies for you at a discount, and help value engineer your project to get the most for your money.

Tip: If you choose a local contractor, you’ll also save energy and money, as they will have less travel time.

Insulation, Windows, and Doors

Repurposed-doorSplurge on more permanent parts of your build like insulation, windows, and doors. These are the features that will keep your home safe, secure, and structurally sound. Proper insulation, high-quality energy-efficient windows and doors can recoup upfront costs pretty quickly, as they help you save on heating and cooling costs year-round and can even qualify for tax credits and rebates. If the time ever comes to sell, high-quality windows also offer one of the highest returns on investment.

Tip: Splurge on Energy Star–rated products, as they often qualify for tax credits and rebates.

Low-Maintenance Structural Materials

Cheap building materials are never a good options, as you typically get what you pay for. If you skimp on structural materials, you will end up with cracked walls, leaks, and other damages pretty quickly. Even if materials are slightly more expensive at installation, low-maintenance structural materials will practically pay for themselves in the long run, as you will eliminate the need for repair or replacement. You’ll feel safe and secure knowing the structure of your home is sturdy and you’ll have peace of mind knowing there is little to no maintenance involved.

Tip: It’s always worth asking your builder if the materials you are looking for are available as remnants. Salvaged materials can not only save you money, but also add character to your home!


3 Things to Save On


Overly-customized designs cost more in time, materials, and labor. Most home building companies have stock designs and floor plans that they have years of experience with. These will help your project run smoothly, saving you loads in time and money. Extravagant floor plans may be tempting, but you must balance the benefits of the design with the costs of creating it. When it comes down to it, simple stock layouts are often more practical and can be customized to fit your needs.

Tip: Ask your contractor whether stock designs are available for customization. Two birds with one stone!

Finishes & Fixtures

The most logical things to cut costs on are things that can be easily replaced or changed. When you’re struggling with a tight budget, save on minute details like finishes and fixtures. Often time, you can find a less expensive version of something that looks similar.

Tip: Opt for hardware, faucets, light fixtures, cabinets, etc. from your local hardware or home improvement store. You can always upgrade later on when your budget allows for it.

Function > Space

When it comes down to it, opt for functionality over space. It’s basic math: generally, the bigger the home you build, the higher the cost. Instead of size, focus more on functionality. Rather than building the biggest home in the neighborhood, build the most efficient. Discuss with your contractor different ways you can make rooms multifunctional to eliminate any wasted space and unnecessary additions.

Kitchen-Island2Tip: Open floor plans typically are the most efficient use of space. For example, a kitchen that opens up to a living room can be used as a dining space, a work space, or a family living space.

Nobody wants to pay more than necessary when building or renovating a home. By value engineering to learn exactly where to save and where to splurge, you will be able to build the home you want without compromising your budget.

Contact Sandy Spring Builders if you’re ready to get started. We’ll work with you every step of the way to respect and stick to the budget you can afford.