20 Tips for Building a Low-Cost House in the Philippines


Top quality low-cost house

Given the current situation, many people in the Philippines think that it is now impossible to build a low-cost house that is both aesthetically appealing and durable.

Are you one of those people?

Get your dream house

Perhaps you haven’t heard that you can still get your dream house (or at least most parts of it) when you take the following into consideration:

– Choose a simple design

– Opt for a smaller version of your dream house

– Hire a reliable architect

– Carefully pick the professionals to hire

– Choose a dependable, reputable contractor

– Follow proper steps in building

– Create a list of materials that you may need

– Visit different suppliers to hunt for the best price

– Get big discounts by buying in bulk

– Buy from manufacturers when possible

– Consider buying reused materials

– Plan when to buy the materials

– Prepare proper storage for the materials

– Consider the quality and price when choosing the right finish

– Make sure that you have a detailed project

– Create the schedule and stick to it

– Monitor the workers every day

– Create a list of companies that rent equipment

– Keep your cash flow under control

– Choose a minimalist design that suits your preference

You can even get freebies when you adopt the “suki system” that suppliers in the Philippines usually follow.

Choose a Simple Design

A simple house design does not include too many partitions or complex architecture.

You can visit the websites that feature different house designs and choose the simple architecture that you prefer.

Choosing a less complicated design means you don’t need to spend so much on construction materials.

The fewer materials you buy, the more money you save.

A house with a single floor is also a lot cheaper to construct.

The simple house design is ideal for a big family with a limited budget.

You can build a bigger house to accommodate the entire family, and you don’t need to worry so much about going over the budget.

Hire a Reliable Architect

You can ask your family and friends for some recommendations when hiring an architect.

If there’s a local architect near your place, you can ask around about his/her work to get an idea regarding his/her skill.

An architect can turn your dream home into a reality.

The DIY (do-it-yourself) project that you might be planning is already doomed to fail due to your meager technical know-how.

Don’t turn your dream home into something nightmarish.

An architect, on the other hand, has the expertise to draw your dream home while considering the budget that you have.

You need to tell the architect beforehand regarding the amount that you can spend on your house.

Opt for a Smaller Version of Your Dream House

If you already have an architectural plan of your house and can only spend half of the total cost to build it, you may want to consider building a smaller version of it if possible.

You may also want to consider altering it a bit to meet your set budget or choose the cheaper but durable construction materials.

The smaller version of your house will cut the cost of construction and will be finished quickly.

Carefully Pick the Professionals to Hire

Aside from the architect, you also need the help of other professionals to build a fully functioning home.

You will need a civil engineer, electrical engineer or electrician, and master plumber.

You may interview a few of these professionals before hiring them for the job.

Many construction companies in the Philippines also provide the said professionals when you have decided to hire one.

You need these professionals to make sure that the electrical installations and plumbing are done correctly.

Otherwise, you may find yourself in deep trouble when there’s no water flowing from your faucets.

You may also find yourself in trouble if you don’t have electricity due to faulty wiring.

Choose a Dependable Contractor with Good Reputation

It may look like you can save more money when you forgo the hiring of a contractor and turn it into a DIY project.

If you don’t have experience in handling a construction project, you may end up spending more.

There is a chance that you might only tear down the one you built due to miscalculated distance from the perimeter wall or other issues.

Nothing like that would happen when you hire a contractor.

However, you need to make sure that the contractor that you are going to hire has a good reputation, dependable, and honest.

Ask recommendations from family and friends or read reviews before considering a contractor.

Follow Proper Steps in Building a House

Everything has a beginning and ending, including house construction.

It is best to follow the step-by-step procedure in building a house and don’t let your workers jump to the next step without completing the current step.

It is wise to prioritize the fundamental works as stated in the steps to take.

You need to make sure that you have a sturdy house foundation, and you should not skimp on the needed materials.

It will be easier to stick to the budget or control it when you tell the workers to follow the proper steps in building a house.

You can cut down the cost of materials that are needed in finishing later.

Create a List of Materials that You may Need

You can ask the architect (sometimes the engineer) to prepare the bill of materials.

You may ask to include good, less expensive substitutes for the listed materials.

You can use the list as a reference later in case you need to replace some of the materials for cheaper substitutes so you can stick to your budget.

Visit Different Suppliers to Hunt for the Best Price

Bring the list of materials when you go to the different suppliers to get their price.

Say that you are currently hunting for the best price.

Most suppliers tend to lower their prices or offer freebies to get the customer.

You need to prepare a list for each supplier or shop that you intend to visit.

The staff will simply fill in the price of the corresponding material. When you get home, you can compare the prices and decide.

Don’t forget to factor in the quality of the materials when choosing the shop.

You may buy certain types of material from the supplier that offers a good price for it.

You don’t need to buy all the materials from one source.

Get Big Discounts by Buying in Bulk

Buying in bulk can give you big discounts.

When you visit the different suppliers, you may ask the staff about the discount they can give when you buy all of the construction materials from their shop.

If the supplier offers big discounts, you may choose to buy all your materials from that shop.

You may even get additional benefits like more freebies and other privileges.

Buy Directly from Manufacturers whenever Possible

If it’s possible to buy directly from the manufacturer, you can do so.

You can inquire about the requirements directly from the manufacturers. However, you may need to buy in bulk to do that.

You can get bigger discounts that can save you a lot of money, but you also need to consider the cost of transporting the goods to the construction site.

Compute everything before buying directly from the manufacturer.

The materials that you can buy in bulk include sand, bricks, gravel, and cement.

Make sure to use the bags of cement immediately when you buy in bulk.

You can ask if they can deliver the goods for free.

Consider Buying Recycled Materials

To get good materials at very cheap prices, you may consider buying from shops that sell salvaged materials from demolished buildings.

You can get materials in good condition, such as granite, glass, floors, wood, and others.

You may consult the free ads paper, websites or platforms that offer a buy and sell service, or your local shops for some great finds.

You may even chance upon an expensive wood like Narra in excellent condition.

Plan when to Buy the Materials

The prices of materials, discount days, and other marketing gimmicks vary from store to store.

You can take advantage of the day that a certain store goes on sale to buy your materials and save more money.

Many suppliers give big discounts on the day of their sale.

Most of them are trying to dispose of their old stocks to welcome new designs and models.

If you don’t mind using the old designs, you will definitely save more money.

You can ask reliable sources, visit Philippine-based forums, and ask your suppliers for some info on the scheduled sales.

Prepare a Proper Storage Facility for the Materials

If you opt to buy in bulk, you need to prepare the right storage facility that can keep the materials safe.

The storage should be kept dry all the time.

Build the facility in a place where rain or moisture can’t penetrate.

Moisture and water can destroy your materials.

So make sure that the storage facility is nowhere near the water source.

Consider the Quality and Price when Choosing the Right Finishing Material

To determine the suitable finishing, you need to consider the practicality, environment, quality, and price.

You may ask for the opinion of the technician regarding the material when you want to save money.

You don’t need an expensive finishing material to make your house look aesthetically appealing.

The suitable, inexpensive materials may do the trick in giving you an elegant-looking house at a fraction of the cost.

Make Sure that You have a Detailed Project

You need to discuss with your contractor the details of the project before starting it.

You need to consider the problem that may arise from using a certain material.

You also need to come up with a contingency plan.

Having a detailed project allows you to see and anticipate possible problems and be ready.

You can also look for a better substitute for a certain material when you calculate that you might spend more if you insist on using it.

Create the Schedule and Stick to It

It is best to plot the schedule of work to be done to monitor the daily progress of workers.

This is especially helpful when the agreed payment on labor is based on per day work and not by lot or contract.

Some workers tend to delay the work to get paid more when the payment is based on per day work.

If you have a schedule, they can’t do anything but follow the schedule.

Monitor the Workers Every Day

If you want to save more money, it is important to be there each day to monitor the work in progress.

You may also just check in the morning, lunchtime, and before the workers leave the construction site.

You need to make sure that no material goes to waste and everything is in order.

Also, workers tend to do their job diligently when they know that their big boss monitors them.

Create a List of Companies that Rent Equipment

You also need to prepare a list of companies that rent out cement mixers, dredgers, and other equipment.

You can compare prices and make a deal with the company that offers the cheapest price.

It is impractical to buy the costly equipment that you may only use one time.

Renting the equipment can save you money.

Make sure that the company offers pieces of equipment in good condition.

Keep your Cash Flow Under Control

It is easy to go break your budget when you keep accepting suggestions for more expensive materials or adding anything that is not in the original plan.

Remain focused on the plan, and proceed as discussed.

You should learn to keep your cash flow under control and don’t deviate from the original plan to prevent overspending.

Otherwise, you may not be able to see your dream house unfold before your eyes.

Choose a Minimalist Design that Suits Your Preference

A minimalist design offers peace of mind and a relaxed atmosphere.

You can choose a simple design that does not usually require too many partitions.

A minimalist design does not require you to spend big amounts since you only need few types of materials that do not cost much.

Tips Before You Choose a Budget Contractor

There are certain things that you need to do first before you hire a contractor.

Otherwise, you may end up spending more even though you hired cheap labor.

Be clear on the kind of house that you wish to have.

You must think a hundred times whether the house you want to build is the one you want to have.

You should not waste time and money.

Draft your plan and polish it.

Write down all the things that you want for your house and polish them.

Be true to yourself and remove the things that seem impossible to obtain.

Try to learn a bit about building a house.

You need to learn some of the terms that construction workers use, the different construction materials, titles of the professionals and their roles, and equipment.

Make sure that you are satisfied with the location where you will put up your dream house.

You need to be certain that the real estate property that you choose will be suitable for the type of house that you want to build.

Prepare your budget and the date that you want to see your finished house.

You need to determine your budget so you can negotiate within your financial capability.

You also need to set the date that you want the construction to finish.

Draft a plan for possible future renovations.

You will never know what tomorrow brings, but it is best to future-proof your home.

Look for contractors with a good reputation.

Make a list of contractors to contact before you decide to seal the deal.

Take your time in choosing but don’t make it too long.


Building a low-cost, aesthetically appealing house in the Philippines is not something impossible to do.

However, you need to exert a lot of effort to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

You need to be there every step of the way to gain proper control over the project even though you already have a trusted contractor.

Your presence is more helpful than you think.

Most workers do their jobs more diligently when they know that the client is watching them.

You can’t afford to have lazy workers, especially when you have a tight budget.

Your presence in the construction site may inspire some workers to do their job well, while others may feel a bit pressured to do a great job.

Either way, your presence will surely make the workers avoid wasting time.

Allow the listed tips to guide you in utilizing your resources (time, money, materials, and manpower) wisely.

You can’t afford to have a single mishap that may lead to redoing a finished work.

Keep in mind that immediate revisions may save you time and money.

But, the absence of any kind of revisions on the ongoing work can save you even more.



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