How to cut home prices AND get what you want

‘DIY’ – Do it yourself. This is not DIY in terms of becoming a home builder, but using skills that have come to bear naturally by the internet generation. Ordering exactly what you want also saves the company significantly (and I mean significantly) because it eliminate inventory, risk and interest – just ask Dell Computer, or any business school teacher. Then there’s that one little thing called customer satisfaction, as this one reader puts it, “Why is it that I can customize a $10,000 Kia more than I can customize my $500,000 loft?”

Savings #1: Join a beta community, where in exchange for telling developers/the city/investors just what kind of housing you want, you’ll get a 10% pre-sales discount. Louisville is the first of many that has established such a program.

Savings #2: Order your condo up as a blank canvas. That is, as an option, developers are offering unfinished interiors where the buyer can choose their own interior colors, appliances and kitchen cabinetry, or choose from a palette provided by the developer to take advantage of economies of scale. For do-it-yourselfers, this can be a major reduction on your mortgage.

Savings #3: Most people know of this one, which is to buy furniture that you assemble yourself, the most familiar to the creative class without a doubt being Ikea. There’s a new company called Real Simple Furniture that provides a more contemporary alternative.

Savings #4: Study the Not So Big House series of books intensely – homes that are well designed can be twice as livable as those twice the size, and this is not an exaggeration. Big is out. Open floor plans, large windows and tall ceilings help you ratchet down your home size for what is the biggest factor in cutting down your home price and getting both a more livable home and neighborhood.

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