Do’s and Don’ts When Building a Custom Home

Building a custom home is a dream for many, and we can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing quite like imagining your home from the ground up. However, there are many important things to consider before you embark on building your custom home.

Do start with a price that is under budget
The home building process can quickly add up costs that you didn’t originally plan for, with some uncontrollable. You’ll be making decisions throughout the build, and it’s important to reserve funds for the unexpected items that come up, as well as when you start to make decisions on areas to splurge on. It’s easy to go above budget when picking out things like fixtures and hardware. Save yourself the stress and begin with a price that is below your max budget to give yourself some room for the unforeseeable and the choices you make.

Do start with a lot first, and then choose your house plan
It’s important to start with the land you are going to build on, and then base the style and design of your home on the lot. This allows you to design your house for the lot size, width and views.

Do start with your design before getting bids
If it’s possible for your homebuilding scenario, we recommend you start with an expert that can help you bring the vision of your home to life – whether a realtor that specializes in construction, an architect or designer. Then, have multiple builders bid your project out to get a sense of price ranges and working relationships.

Do focus on the floor plan and the things you can’t change down the road
When you’re budgeting for building your home, think long-term for the areas you can’t easily change later. For example, if you have to choose between marble countertops or a larger kitchen island, think hard if you’ll later regret not choosing a larger size because of the size of your family. Grow into the plan, not out of it.

Do spend time to get to know your builder ahead of time
Before you commit to a builder take the time to get to know them, their project managers, and familiarize yourself with the process. This relationship is going to be very important and should truly feel like a partnership. We suggest dating around before marrying one builder, and make a list of questions to understand their warranties, check references, how they proceed in the case of delays, etc. You’ll spend most of your time with the project manager, so spend some time to get to know this person before you commit.

Do allocate more time than you think for the building process
Building your own custom home is exciting but its also very time consuming. We can’t stress enough the importance of taking your time and not rushing the process. You will be much happier in the long run and will end with a much better design if you take the time to make thoughtful choices.

Don’t think the project will be flawless
There WILL be delays, and there will be issues. Stuff will happen, and you have to understand that this is part of the process before you start. The shipment of tile might be delayed, a window might break, and everything will be ok as long as you choose a builder that has a great reputation and you have a good working relationship.

Don’t forget to get a few outside opinions
Ultimately building a custom home is a very personal decision, but we do recommend getting opinions from family and friends who have either been through the process or have applicable knowledge. You’d be surprised the advice that can be helpful, from choosing the size or your doors to deciding on floor drains in your garage.

Watch our Twin Cities Live segment on our process of tearing down a home and beginning the process of a custom build.