Building a house for yourself and your family or as a source of income can be one of the biggest financial commitments you will make. There are several sources to raising the money required each having its own strengths or otherwise.
If you decide that building a house is in your best interest, you would need to estimate the amount you will require. The good book tells us that a wise man makes a plan. Making a precise ‘guesstimate” is not easy. It is however possible to get a rough estimate of how much money you may require. Below are some ways helping you do so.
Get a plan
Put your idea down on paper. Divide up the house into required rooms, and give each a size. An architect is best suited for this, but one can always get complete plans from books or online. This allows you to calculate the square footage. Building a house will require suitable land to build on. Investigate the price of similar houses and the cost of the land in your area of interest. The difference between the two will give you the cost of your house.
For example, if the cost of a maisonette is sh. 8,000,000 and the land costs sh. 3,000,000, then the construction cost is sh. 5,000,000. If the house is 500 square metres, then the cost per square metre is sh. 10,000.
Talk to the builders
Contractors are usually a great source of information on the cost of building a house. A good contractor will give you the price of materials, where to get them and even the expected labor cost.
Developers may also guide you on the cost of building the house especially if they have put up similar ones.
Take a walk…
In the neighbourhood and find out the cost of similar houses. This is a good way of arriving at a close estimate.
Depending on the quality of finishing required, building costs can be astronomical or ‘friendly’. Good quality finishing is available; never compromise on quality to save a buck. Cheap does tend to expensive sooner or later. You also don’t want to live in a house that looks cheap in terms of quality.
A smaller house is more costly (in terms of cost per square metre) than a larger house. The larger house spreads out the cost of expensive items over a larger square footage compared to a small one.
A storey house usually costs less to build than a single-storey house of similar square footage. The foundation tends to be smaller and so does the roof.
Soils requiring stabilisation, such as silts or clays, increase the cost. The more the work required on the land to create a sound house, the higher the cost.
A rectangular or regularly shaped house is easier and cheaper to build. Building a house that has many angles and corners requires more labor, materials and closer supervision.
More windows and doors s mean higher cost as does a steeper roof.
Inflation tends to wipe out value. Increasing inflation means increased prices. When comparing prices with similar houses, remember to factor in inflation. It’s best to seek values of recently built houses.
Currently, building a house in Kenya is rather expensive. The weakening shilling has caused a rise in the cost of imports, among which are many building materials.
Prudent planning and knowledge of influencing factors, as above, will help in taming costs when building a house, in Kenya or elsewhere.