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20 Common Kit Home Mistakes To Avoid

Kit homes are a great alternative for owner builders. While they used to all look the same, kit homes now come in a huge range of designs and have many flexible options.

A kit home can cost you up to 40% less than building a conventional home, but if you’re doing it yourself, there are some pitfalls that you need to watch out for.

You can save a lot of money and wasted time just by avoiding these 20 common mistakes:

  • Don’t just plonk your kit home down on your block (position it to take advantage of views, privacy, summer and winter temperatures etc).
  • Don’t try to pour your cement all at once to save money (unless you have the manpower to complete the job before the cement ‘goes off’).
  • If you are using trades people, make sure you schedule them realistically (i.e. ensure all plumbing, insulation and electrical work is done before the dry waller arrives).
  • Don’t finalise your design and budget until you know the site requirements (i.e. earthworks required, accessibility of essential services etc).
  • Don’t try to do everything yourself (jobs like roof tiling, dry walling and slab laying should be done by a professional, unless you have plenty of experience).
  • Make sure you know the rules before you break them (i.e. an alternative triangular window still requires conventional flashing).
  • Don’t go too big just because you can (30,000 square feet without any design features is just a big box).
  • Don’t skimp on wall frame props during roofing (the walls will not remain plumb).
  • Don’t make your design so unique that it would not be appealing to others and thus harder to sell in the future.
  • Don’t forget to apply glue to floor sheeting or it will squeak.
  • Make sure you seek professional advice when needed (a few dollars now could save you big bucks later on).
  • Don’t set yourself unrealistic deadlines at the expense of your health and family life.
  • Don’t guess. Use bids from subcontractors to determine hours needed for any given task.
  • When comparing kit homes, don’t just focus on price, look at the number of standard inclusions (they account for the differences).
  • You get what you pay for. If you are using contractors, don’t just opt for the lowest bid. Find out the reason it is cheaper than the others.
  • Don’t forget to replumb the door jams or the doors won’t hang properly.
  • If you make a mistake, don’t be too embarrassed to seek help to fix it.
  • Allocate a percentage of your budget for landscaping. It is not an expense, it’s an investment.
  • Don’t cut corners on fixtures and fittings (the whole point of designing your own kit home is to have the things you want).
  • Choose a design that takes your lifestyle into consideration (i.e. need for privacy, room for entertaining, space for family growth etc).

This list is not definitive, but it does cover many of the common mistakes made by owner builders. And you will make mistakes, of that there is no doubt.

The secret is to limit them by approaching everything in a professional manner, using trades people when required, and not being afraid to ask for advice when you need it.

Budget and schedule realistically and be honest about what you are capable of doing, and your building experience will be a positive and rewarding one and your kit home will be the home you always dreamed of owning.