Working With Your Builder to Create a Custom Home Within Your Budget

Buying a new custom home can be an exciting time in your life, because your vision of a dream home will become a reality. After the initial excitement, many homebuyers are faced with the reality of sticker shock, depending on the actual cost of the upgrades they’ve added. Even someone buying a home in a new development finds that adding hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless appliances, an extra bath, and other upgrades shown in the model can turn what was once an affordable home into a much more costly one. If you are contracting to have a home built on your own lot, you need estimates from the builder to learn exactly how much certain features cost.

Determining the Features of your Custom Home

In preparation for your new home, you may have already purchased a piece of land and may even have had an architect prepare some plans for you. When you approach the builder to be a general contractor for the project, you begin see how the cost of certain features adds to the bill. You may hope to pay about $300,000 for your house. After reviewing your plans, the builder may come back with an estimate of $350,000, based on the cost of materials and labor. In order to get the home within your budget, he may suggest some areas where you can cut back. You must decide where you want to compromise, but it is very important for you to know the potential return on your investment if you do so. Certain compromises don’t bode well for the long-term value of your home.

Incorporating Energy Efficient Features Into Your Home

While you might be concerned with the bottom-line price of your house, what it will cost to operate your home will be increasingly important the longer you live in it. An energy-efficient home may cost more up front, but it will save you in the long run.

It might also be important to you that your home is constructed with materials that contain as few volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as possible, so that it’s safe for your family.

If a green home is a priority, you should make sure your builder is aware that you want an energy efficient house from the beginning. Even though the upfront cost may be over your budget, adding these features in the building phase is much more cost-effective than adding them later.

Negotiating the Final Price

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you may have to make some compromises. A good builder will offer you cost comparisons to help you make your decision. For example, installing semi-custom cabinets can save you thousands over installing custom ones. Using engineered hardwood can offer you the appearance you want for much less than solid hardwood. Throughout the home, there are numerous cases where the builder might suggest excellent materials that are a step down from what you originally thought you wanted, but still maintain your vision.

Once you have made your decisions about construction materials and the finishing details of the house, the builder will be able to give you a firm price. He will lock in materials and contractor rates as soon as you sign on the dotted line. Once you have signed the agreement, any changes you make can potentially affect the price.

If you rely on the knowledge and experience of your builder to guide your selections, you can build a custom home that fulfills your dreams without exceeding your budget.

How to Find the Best Home Builders in Your Area

Owning your own house is rewarding, but few things compare to the satisfaction of living in a home that was built specifically for you. When it comes to finding the best local home builders, there are a few different options available for you. Of course, deciding which company best fits your needs can sometimes be a difficult task. To make this selection easier, here are some tips to help ensure you find a great construction company for your project.

First, look for a company that has experience constructing a wide variety of options. Variety shows that the home company has a diverse and varied set of skills when it comes to home construction. More importantly, it shows that the business is able to adapt to various requests and deliver a house that will fit your unique needs. This is especially important if you intend to ask for special design requests rather than using one of the basic building options offered.

Second, make sure that the company you are considering can construct the house you want. Ask them plenty of questions and explain every last detail that you want. Make sure to get a quote to ensure that the price will pan out as you imagine – for example, if the company offers laminate floors and you want hardwood instead, make sure you know how that will affect the price. The last thing you want when dealing with home builders is to deal with changing price tags halfway through the build.

Third, start comparing reputations. When it comes to house construction, you don’t want to leave anything to chance: you may end up working with a company simply because it has the lowest prices only to run into issues with the construction after a few years. By looking for quality over price, you will be more likely to get a house that will last.

Finally, compare prices. With all other things being equal, this is the way to really separate home builders. As long as both companies seem to have a reputation of success, are able to customize your house appropriately, and have the necessary experience, then price is the deciding factor. Don’t let yourself pay more than you have to just because the builder says so.

Before selecting a home builder, make sure to examine all of these factors. As long as you take these into account, it will help ensure that you avoid unwanted hassle and get the house that you really desire. This will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but also ensure that your family can live in your wonderful house for years to come.

How to Hire the Best Home Contractors


Making improvements to your residence is exciting, but consumers need to make sure that they hire the right home contractors in order to get the most out of their renovations. People are swindled out of thousands of dollars every year by shady improvement services. Finding a person you can trust with your place is vital for your peace of mind. Let’s go over some things you should consider and steps you can take to ensure that you hire the best person for the job.

Ask Friends, Mentors, Colleagues, and Other Professionals for Recommendations

Getting started is one of the hardest parts of finding good work. Where do you find these services? You could leaf through the yellow pages and call the numbers you find, but how much can you initially learn this way? Ask people that you know have had work done to give you recommendations of the companies that they liked. You could also go down to your local lumberyard. A lot of home contractors buy their materials from these businesses. The staff in these places will be able to tell you which services buy top-quality materials and pay their bills on time. Speaking with building supervisors is also a good idea. They will let you know which guys are meeting code requirements on a consistent basis.

Now That You Have a List of Recommendations Make Some Phone Calls

After you get the names of recommended home contractors, compile a list and call them all. Use these calls to get a feel for their personality and ask them a few questions that will be important to the job you are looking for. Here are some good questions to ask one of these professionals:

-Are you comfortable handling a job of my size?
-Are you willing to provide financial references?
-How many other projects do you have going at one time?
-Can I get a list of your previous clients?
-What is the nature of your relationship with your subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will be very important in terms of what you are looking for. You should schedule a meeting with the guys that you liked on the phone. A face-to-face meeting is the next step from here, and that should put you at completely ease with the service.

Dig Around and See What Turns Up

After you’ve met with a few home contractors that you like, investigate the kind of work that they do. If they do quality work, there will be no reason to hide. In fact, quality craftsmen are all willing to show you examples of their work. Visit previous clients and ask to see the work that was done for them. Talk with them about their experiences and visit an active work site so that you can see firsthand how they operate.

Once You’ve Chosen, Put Every Detail Into Writing

Now that you have chosen a home contractor, make sure that you put every detail of your agreement into a written document. Things that should be put into writing include payment schedule, cleanup responsibilities, and any time-related issues that you may have. If you follow these steps you will find a quality professional that you will be happy with.