6 Secrets to Building a Custom Home Within Your Budget

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A home isn’t just a place to take shelter. A home is where we raise our families, enjoy the company of friends, and for many of us, where we work and create. Each family has its own unique set of specific needs and wants, and it’s difficult, if not impossible for some to find a move-in-ready home that meets all of their needs. With that being said, who wouldn’t want to live in the custom home of their dreams?

Anyone can pick up the phone and call a custom home builder nearby, but finishing a custom build on time, and within budget is an entirely different story, and it’s not a pretty one. We compiled a list of the top 6 secrets you need to know to build a custom home on time, and within your budget.


Identify Your Needs, and Define Your Expectations

The more specific you can be from the start, the better. Make sure you have thoroughly identified your needs and expectations prior to receiving a quote for your custom build. The more specific you are, the more accurate the estimated quote will be, and the better feel you’ll get for the company you’re considering hiring.

Some basic questions to consider:

  • What are the must-haves?
  • What are the wants?
  • What is my budget?
  • Am I looking for a specific style or size of home?
  • What is my move-in date?


Research Nearby Neighborhood and Development Sites

The location you choose to build your home is a major factor not only in your home building journey but also in your life after the build. Make sure that the company you choose has the ability to build in your location for a price you can afford. Don’t forget to consider property taxes and other factors that will affect your budget.


Calculate Your Budget

Check out homes for sale near the area you want to live in to get an idea of how much the outright cost of the home will be. Then, factor in taxes, neighborhood fees, and other expenses like lawn care and snow removal to reveal the prices you have to pay a little further down the road.

Understand that budgets may change for reasons in and outside of your control, and you will need to update your budget accordingly.

Stretching your budget? Go back and reassess your list of must-haves and wants, and see if there is anything you can do to shrink down the cost to build a custom home.


Choose the Right Custom Home Builder

This is ultimately the most important part of the entire process. It sounds obvious, but one of the most common and expensive mistakes we see is when people choose the wrong builder. You want to choose custom Utah home builders who you can trust, and who will build you the quality new home of your dreams.

Here are 8 questions you should be asking yourself, and the home builders you consider before making a decision.

  • Does this custom home builder come recommended?
  • Does this builder fit my style of home?
  • Does this builder build where I want to build?
  • Does this builder fit in my budget?
  • Does this builder have the right team in place to be able to build my home?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the builder and his team?
  • How do I interact with this builder, is it a good relationship with them?
  • How is communication with this builder?


Ask for a Pre-Construction Meeting

The goal of your first meeting should be to establish exactly what styles and customizations you want, to set the budget, and to address any concerns. This meeting is crucial to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings, which will eventually lead to change orders and additional, unplanned costs for your project.

Typically, this meeting should include the Construction Manager, Project Manager, Sales Associate, Designer, and a person who handles all information in and out of the company (like an account manager).

Make sure that you meet with these people to review the entire job in detail before breaking ground. That way, you all have an agreed understanding of what is to be built, where, why, and how.


Understanding Change Orders

It’s rare that no changes are made once construction is underway. In fact, it’s one of the biggest offenders for blown budgets.

Owners often think of a few things they’d like to adjust, ranging anywhere from adding an entire room to switching kitchen cabinets, choosing different flooring in the bathroom, or just adding an extra light switch or two.

But nothing in life is free, and change orders translate into more money spent, period. The cost may be due to the time and labor required to make the change or it may be due to the cost of additional materials, and usually both.

Your custom home builder should have a clearly defined change order process, and they should make it a point to educate you on it – make sure that they do! Don’t find yourself trapped in a custom home build project far outside of the agreed-upon budget. Eagle Creek Homes is a custom home builder based in West Michigan. They know that your time and money is valuable.


Finding a move-in-ready home tailored to your family’s specific needs is about as common as finding a needle in a haystack. And buying a DIY fixer-upper will ultimately cost you a similar amount of money as building a new, one but on a significantly longer timeline. When you choose to build a custom home, you can create a home that meets the needs of you and your family now, and for years to come.

Follow these six secrets, and you can build your dream home on time and on budget. Bookmark these tips for later, and have them handy at your fingertips before you begin your custom home building project.

Chris Evans Author

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