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.