A Bigger Bang for Your Buck: How to Get the Most for your Money without Sacrificing Quality – Homes Under $300,000

Home | A Bigger Bang for Your Buck: How to Get the Most for your Money without Sacrificing Quality – Homes Under $300,000

By Julia Reinert, writer for New Homes & Ideas


No matter your price point, building your new home should be exciting!  I remember looking through magazines and the almighty Pinterest, dreaming and designing the look of every room in my soon-to-be new home.  When it came time to visit my builder’s design center, I knew exactly what I wanted.  There was just one problem that my husband kept reminding me of: we had a budget.  How was I going to get the home I had always dreamed of but keep it affordable for our family?

Here are some tips on how you can achieve your goal of a well-built, beautiful home all the while staying within your very important budget.

Photo courtesy of True Homes

New Home Construction vs. Resale

Choosing to build or buy a brand new home is already putting you on the fast track to getting the most bang for your buck.  While there are a lot of advantages to purchasing a resale (location, established and mature neighborhoods, etc.), a new home will allow you to make sure that your structural and aesthetic choices are going to last you longer and that you will have less chance of repair in the near future.  Warranties on your foundation and appliances will also give you peace of mind.  Additionally, energy-efficiency standards and technological products are improving every year, helping you to save money on your monthly utility bills.

Stuff vs. Square Footage

Once you have set your budget, discuss and decide what is most important to you.  Are you looking for more space?  If so, maybe those custom built-ins or that state-of-the-art shower head can wait until after closing.  However, if you are at a place in your life where you would like to right-size, you may be able to splurge a little more on some of the “extras.”

“[From the beginning], our sales team determines which is more important: ‘stuff’ or ‘square footage’ when going through the sales process,” says Damion Grant, managing partner-sales for True Homes Raleigh Division.  “Keeping in mind that square footage is the most expensive part of real estate, we encourage clients to not get caught up in all the bells and whistles of the home.  We help our clients focus on how they will be utilizing their space, with the understanding that granite and hardwoods can always be added afterwards.”

However, this does not mean that bells and whistles are completely out of the question! One option that buyers have is to consider townhome living which provides a lot of the same benefits as a single-family home while also offering lawn care and exterior maintenance.

Location! Location! Location!

It is no secret that it is becoming more expensive to buy a home in the Raleigh area.  While you may have the convenience of being in the middle of everything or get to experience downtown urban living, you are going to pay more for a smaller space and less features.  However, if you venture just a few minutes outside of the beltline, you will be amazed at how far your money can go!  Homes on the outskirts of The Triangle are often much more cost effective and allow a home buyer to purchase more square footage and upgraded features for less.  The good news is that The Triangle is stretching its arms, allowing master-planned communities such as Wendell Falls in Wendell to offer fantastic amenities and gorgeous views at a more affordable price point, while only being 15 minutes from Downtown Raleigh.

Photo courtesy of True Homes

Know the Latest Trends

Not everyone can afford site-finished hardwoods and LED light packages; however, vendors know this and want to sell their products to more than just the million-dollar homeowners.  It is incredible the advances that have been made in home interior selections in just the last five years!  Grant suggests making sure that designers and home buyers are educated on new trends and what adds value versus what is just a personal aesthetic preference.

“Vinyl and laminate have grown quite a bit in the recent years,” Grant explains.  “There is a luxury ‘wood look’ vinyl that is all the craze these days.  The new sustainable wood laminate is also great for budget conscious buyers.  They both give the look of real hardwoods without sacrificing quality.”

So, you can have beautiful floors for your friends and family to envy!  But why stop at flooring? Beautiful, quality products are being made every day for your countertops, cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures which are made to the highest quality standards but at a fraction of the cost.  Consider choosing classic fixtures which are going to transcend design fads. Not only can you add a timeless look to your home but you can save money on changing out interior options when the next trend comes around.

Take Advantage of Builder Inclusions

A lot of home builders offer seasonal incentives or may negotiate the price of or options within a home.  Always ask what your builder can do for you!  But let’s take it a step further as it is important to compare the standard options that different builders include in their base pricing.  Custom home builders may have a higher price tag but they include trim details and high-performance features for which national builders are going to have an additional charge.

However, if you are trying to stay under $300,000, regional or national builders may be able to offer more features for your dollars.

“There are a few [upgraded construction and design features that True Homes builds standard]; however, the most popular items are folding tables in the laundry room, benches in the mud area, 30-year architectural shingles, ceramic tile back splash, refrigerator end panels, lighting fixtures, and choices in cabinet stains,” said Grant.

As important as aesthetic options are, you also want to think about structural quality and what is going on behind the walls.  Make sure you are reviewing and comparing building specifications and choose a company who is dedicated to building your home to the highest standards possible.  Just because you are in a certain price point, does not mean corners need to be cut.

Photo courtesy of True Homes

Grant explains that when clients have to make important decisions about how far their dollar can go, they tend to look at those things which would be more difficult or costly to change out or upgrade at a later time.

“Clients are choosing to upgrade cabinetry, bathroom layouts or plumbing upgrades and sinks if they need to cut back,” said Grant.  “Just about everything else like granite, hardwoods, trim, can be added later at a reasonable cost.”

There are also options which may push your sales price over the $300,000 mark, such as all-sides brick, but will ultimately save you money on exterior upkeep and maintenance.

He elaborates that True Homes understands how important quality is to their clients and that due to their status as a semi-custom builder, they can offer hundreds of structural options throughout their many floorplans without having to overcharge their clients.

“Quality is important to our clients because it is important to us,” said Grant.  “We recently won Gold in the National Housing Quality Award, which measures eight different categories. Gold award winners have proven to have ‘…mature, fully integrated quality management principles.’  We’ve thought about most of the structural changes our clients would want to make per plan and have made it easy for them to be able to select them. Our Sales Advisors are experts in these options and take a consultative approach to what a client may need and tailor the perfect home without overwhelming the client. It’s like a match made in new construction heaven.”