Every day, you hear people talking about kit homes and how they are going to be the property of the future. You watch on the news how they are the affordable alternatives to traditional home-building and how easy they are to assemble by yourself since they have an instruction manual included when they are delivered to your preferred site.

While it may seem easy to build your own kit home, about as easy as assembling and putting together a jigsaw puzzle, not everything is as it seems on the outside. They may look cheap and affordable up front, but if you take the time to delve deeper, you’ll realize that it is not the case. They are definitely more cost-efficient than your traditionally-built homes because they come to you already pre-cut, pre-measured and pre-designed but that’s just the smallest tip of the iceberg as far as costs are concerned.

It all seems to be peachy when you add up the costs of building them compared to a home built with traditional developers. But first off, you need to know that while the price tag is actually much lower, that only covers the kit home shell. You still have to install the fixtures, from the plumbing, to the cabinets and to the lights. The general rule of thumb is that the total cost of a kit home package makes up about a third or a fourth of the total cost of a completed kit home.

This is because kit homes are a unique project. The costs will vary and depend on several factors like location, how you customized it with the manufacturer, whether you want to build it yourself or hire a contractor, and of course, the finishes, furniture, appliances and the protection you put into it, for instance, if you are building in an area that is prone to bushfire like adding steel shutter to the windows and wrapping the entire framework in fire-resistant materials. From a basic $55,000 to $60,000 adding these accoutrements can set you back at least $500,000 when you’re done with everything. Of course, let’s not forget the permits you need to get as well, as well as the land, labor and utilities which are not included in the package cost.

So technically, you don’t save any money immediately but rather, you see the savings once you’ve started living in your kit homes. You also realize the savings once you find that certain things have already been laid out for you, like the walls, the roofs and the floors and the time saved because the company already pre-cut, pre-measured and pre-assembled them for you. And because time is money, you’ll find that kit homes save you about 37% in labor and man hours as compared to building a home the traditional way. Plus, kit homes are a lot less wasteful since no lumber or timber needed to be sawed on the premises. Another great benefit is that you can make slight modifications at little or no cost since kit homes are always customized.

So really, an affordable kit home depends on how you want to make it. As long as you’ve done your research and are aware of the risks involved, as well as the pros and cons of doing it yourself versus hiring a professional contractor, then you’re good to go. After all, nothing else can be considered a total waste of time and money than a project that ends up being undone just because you didn’t know what you were getting into and found out that you are got into something that is way over your head.