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A Builder's Guide to Marketable, Affordable
and Durable Entry-level Homes MADE_LifeWiseHome

March 1999, 74 pages

FULL TEXT: * (*.pdf, 18.5 MB)

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Looking for a competitive edge in the affordable housing market? Want to save 15-20 percent on production costs? Keep reading.

First time homebuyers are price-conscious, but they also want a flexible, attractive home. This manual provides guidance and examples to builders for controlling construction costs while building marketable homes. It discusses the two key areas for improving durability -- water and on-site supervision -- and suggests ways to reduce callbacks. It provides builders with maintenance tips they can give to homeowners.

Based on the savings identified in the case studies, a builder who incorporates all of the MADE-to-Last techniques could save as much as 15-20 percent on the total costs of production.

The manual includes construction details, marketing tips and case studies on the following:

  • Expandability: build in room for growth The window head flashing was 30 lb. felt building paper inserted into a horizontal slit in the weather resistant barrier and lapped over the side window flashings.
  • Flexibility: plan for rooms with diverse uses
  • Curb appeal: enough said
  • Manage expectations: provide options to the affordable baseline
  • Financing: demonstrate how a buyer qualifies
  • Efficient Framing: save lumber and improve the home's efficiency
  • Innovative materials: new technologies can save money and improve durability
  • Reduce interior/exterior details: simplify choices in key areas
  • Fewer/strategically placed windows: increase privacy
  • Clustering: reduce development costs by concentrating homes in smaller area
  • Manufactured housing: building indoors improves quality and controls costs
  • Innovative foundation systems: shorten excavation time and increase energy efficiency
  • Purchasing techniques: buy in volume

The text looks at ways to increase durability and prevent problems that increase maintenance costs, such as poor drainage, foundation wall cracks and water leakage, soil swelling or settlement, termites, and buckled siding. The manual includes preliminary plans for a MADE-to-last home.

Content updated on 1/5/2007

Related Resources
Affordability Calculator
Building Better Homes at Lower Costs
Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor
Five Ways to Improve Affordability
MADE Field Evaluation
Southwest Housing Traditions: Design, Materials, Performance
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