Is building your dream home the answer to your housing question?
You’ve read the reports, you’ve seen the prices go up, you’ve winced and despaired as the dream of buying your own home gets dragged further away from you — further than it was last year and the year before that. As the disillusionment starts to creep in and you’re one step closer to giving up, a sudden idea pops into your head: “What if I just built a house? Surely it can’t be more expensive than just buying one at this point.”
The short answer is “Maybe, but please get some experts on your side.”
The long answer?
It Costs How Much?
In more than half of the cases, it’s going to be more expensive to build. This isn’t a judgment call on any building skills you may or may not have. This is a reality of how high the prices of building supplies have hiked over the past few years.
There must always be balance. Statistics show that while the number of people looking to buy houses has gone up, and the price of said homes has gone up, the number of building permits being grabbed has almost equivalently gone down. Why? It’s gotten more expensive to build.
This is a problem. This is also one of the reasons why the price of houses has skyrocketed. Suppose fewer houses are being built, which puts more value on the houses that are up for grabs. It all comes full circle.
Who’s Gonna Help You Build It?
Here in America, labor as a concept is going through a bit of a shift. When the COVID pandemic first hit, there was a brief moment when everything seemed to be on pause while businesses decided what in the world they were going to do now that people were staying home. They quickly decided on a solution: stay the course. Save for some mask mandates and new hand sanitizers, not a lot changed for the employees and their working life to counterbalance the fact that any one of them at any time could catch a deadly virus.
This one act has spawned many of the reasons why America is currently facing one of the biggest labor shortages in its history. For one, employees are quitting in droves because if they’re going to expose themselves to a pandemic ravaging the earth constantly, they’d rather be paid more than minimum wage for the privilege. Another cause is that many people who stayed at work during the pandemic are now facing long-term illness, disability, or have died from COVID.
All of this is to say that builders are also feeling this shift in the paradigm. The labor shortage has greatly reduced the efficiency of the supply chain, the thing that gets the builders the supplies that have gone way up in price.
That’s why houses aren’t getting built at nearly the rate they have been before.
So How Do I Build A House?
None of this is to say that you can’t or shouldn’t build a house. Just be aware of the current home-building landscape and all the jagged edges.
But if you are serious about getting the deed done, hope is not yet lost. After all, if you’re going to build a house, waiting for the price to drop is inadvisable. So you might as well get on that train while it’s moving.
Here’s the bottom line: it is not a smart move to do this all by yourself. As we said, the landscape here is pretty rocky, and it’s only getting increasingly worse as time goes on. So make sure that you’ve got people who know what they’re doing on your side. Look for references for dependable builders who will be honest with you about the final price of building your home.
Here’s another pro-tip: find land now. Unfortunately, most plots of land available for house construction have been swiped up, and a good amount of the stuff that is up for grabs is in areas that one might not want to set up a permanent, dream home residence. However, if you consult a planner, you may buy land that will be part of a growing city in five or ten years. So if you plan on building a home to set down roots in and stay in for a while, you can benefit from urban sprawl.
One more thing: scope small. Spare any expenses that are not necessary, work with a small budget, maximize the space. This probably isn’t the thing you’d want to hear going into designing and creating the palace of your dreams, but even if the housing market wasn’t as crazy as it is, it’s still words of wisdom. If you’re the creative type, you’ll understand. Constraints are the soil of creativity, and you might find that it helps get things moving better than staring at a blank sheet of paper with all the possibilities of the world in your mind.