Building a custom home is an exciting process, but it can also be stressful and confusing. A custom home is also probably one of the largest and most important investments you’ll make, especially if you plan on living in the home for a long time. You want it to be perfect, but you also want it to keep to your timeline and be within your budget. So, it’s worth spending some time thinking about exactly what you want in a new home before starting the project.

Here are some tips to help simplify the process:


Do your homework.

Think about what you really need and what’s just nice-to-have. Create a list of priorities in order of importance, so that if one thing gets cut out, it won’t affect the entire project. Everything can’t be of equal importance, because you’re going to have to compromise somewhere, but giving some serious thought to what’s the most important to you makes sure that your priorities and opinions get heard and incorporated, too. For example, you may want to build a large primary bathroom with a walk-in shower and separate tub. But is that cost worth it to you or would rather spend your money on other things like high-quality kitchen appliances?

Get ideas from reading Capital Lifestyles, tour homes on your local Home Builder Association (HBA) Parade of Homes and visit with builders and subcontractors at the HBA Home Show.


Get pre-approved for financing and be realistic about your budget.

If you want to stay within a certain price range, make sure you understand where all the costs come from and how they’re allocated over time. Set aside money for improvements after construction is complete (such as furnishings or landscaping). If you don’t plan ahead for these costs, they could throw off your budget significantly. Finally, make sure you have enough money saved up for your down payment and closing costs so that you’re not at risk of losing your deposit if something goes wrong with financing or inspections during construction.


Decide on your build team early in the process.

Know what kind of builder you want to work with before you start looking at lots and houses. Some builders specialize in building new construction homes while others focus more on remodeling existing ones. Some builders may have their own architect and design team on staff – or that they prefer to work – who will help create floor plans for your home and guide decisions about things like materials and finishes. Be sure that you have a good relationship with who you select. The most stressful experiences while building a custom home come down to working with the wrong builder. A great home builder will manage contractors on your behalf, oversee the budget and timeline to make sure you stay on track, and handle any complications that arise.


Be flexible with your design.

When building a custom home, it’s tempting to go all out and build exactly what you want. But that can make the process more complicated and more expensive than necessary. There are so many ways to save money without cutting back on quality or function. This includes being flexible when choosing materials. You’ll want high-quality materials that will last over time and withstand the elements but also consider your low-maintenance options. These will save you money in the long run by eliminating the need for repairs and replacements down the road. If your favorite material isn’t available or becomes a budget-breaker, be willing to pivot to materials that can still help you achieve your goals and overall vision. Look for opportunities to personalize your home with features and finishes that reflect your own tastes and style. This can be done through paint colors and accessories, but also consider adding custom touches like built-in shelving or a fireplace mantel.


Be involved.

A great home builder will know how to create great custom homes, but only you know your tastes and preferences. You need to be available during construction so that you can work with your builder and make sure everything goes according to plan. If something isn’t going right, you don’t want to be left in the dark. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your builder should always be able to answer any question you have about your home – including what materials were used and how much they cost.

At the end of the day, it can be an overwhelming process to build a custom home but planning ahead and doing your research can make it less stressful and a more enjoyable experience overall.