"Many hands make light work."
The first pioneers going to mars will need to bring their own habitats and life support. Temporary shelter they will bring with them, but permanent shelter with elbow room will take time to build and time to enhance. Before colonists can follow they will have to show that life support can be had from local resources. Power is their most essential need (it provides the capacity to get all the other needs.)
Colonists that follow will have it much easier. Material and labor for their habitats can be provided long before they arrive. By purchasing this from existing colonists the funds needed for future habitats can be rolled over into the next construction. Early habitats will be crude compared to those that will follow, but will be sold and resold as a starter home for each wave of new colonists.
With enough power there is no reason settlers can't live in the comfort of large underground mansions with shirt sleeve gardens on the surface of mars. Zubrin describes what I call his 50m round hobby farms, able to supply food for three or more taking about a quarter hectare of surface space. Not everybody needs to be a farmer or do those that do need to grow everything. Specialization is the basis for trade in a local economy.
Water seems to be abundant on mars. Power brings it to the surface. Water is a useful heat sink for transporting warmth to where ever it's needed in an underground mansion or shopping mall. Water and power provides oxygen to breath and hydrogen to combine with carbon from the atmosphere to produce fuel for vehicles.
ref: wild west mars
I don't know when I wrote this originally? It's been sitting as a draft.