Think You Can’t Afford a Custom Home? Here’s Why You Can

 In Design, House, Remodeling

Building a custom home is a dream for many. After all, it allows you to create exactly the design you want. You don’t have to search for months for a new home, only to reject each one because you wish it had a bigger kitchen or because the closets were a bit too small or because you really wanted a garden tub but it only had a shower. A custom home can even offer features you won’t find in most existing houses on the market, such as a personal sauna, specialized craft room with built-in shelves and cabinets, or an extensive wine cellar under a clear glass door in your kitchen floor.

Though you might lust after a custom home, you might think it’s just too expensive to fit into your budget. However, you might be surprised to learn that a custom home can be more affordable than you think.

Here are a few ways that a custom home can be more affordable than you think:

Choosing Your Own Site

A big part of the cost of a custom home can be the location of the site and the impact fees involved. However, if you are a smart shopper, you can find an affordable piece of land that also helps you avoid many of the impact fees.

Shop around to find the best bargains on land for your new home. One of the best ways to save is to find a piece of land that already has a home on it — including your own land if you currently own a home. You can avoid a lot of the cost of prepping the site since the land has already been graded and sewer and utility connections are already in place. You’ll just have to pay to have the house bulldozed. If you are shopping for condemned homes, you can get a steal on the house and the land that comes with it, which suits your purchases.

Start with a Finished Floor Plan

Most homes contain many of the same features, so there isn’t a whole lot of variation in the floor plan. The placement of a room may be different, or the shape or size may vary.

If what you are most concerned with in your custom home are surface features, you can start with a finished floor plan and make a few modifications. This can help you save money on working with an architect to build your home from scratch.

Be Judicious in Your Selections

When you first start putting together your plan for your custom home, you may get over excited by the possibilities and put everything on your list of “must haves.” However, if you take a step back, you may realize that the dedicated yoga room may be a bit extravagant or that you can’t really afford the professional-grade kitchen.

Make a list of everything you would want in your custom home. Then take a step back and start crossing off things that you don’t really need or can’t really afford. Allow yourself some of the things you really want, but make sure you are prioritizing your list. Most people don’t have an unlimited budget and so can’t afford every last thing they’d like in their custom home. Just be realistic in your choices.

Work with an Established Builder

An established custom home builder can help you save more money than perhaps any other thing on this list. An established builder will have relationships with materials suppliers and laborers, which can help bring costs down. An established builder may also have a number of projects at any given time, which can allow the builder to order materials in bulk and save money.

A builder who has been able to spend many years in the industry and become established is also one that has put good systems in place for managing costs and minimizing overhead. That is a builder who knows how to minimize waste and get the most efficient work out of the laboring team.

Don’t let misconceptions about the custom home building process scare you away from having the home of your dreams. You can likely afford much more than you think you can when building your custom home. Find the right builder to work with and guide you through the process. Then use these tips to help you bring down costs wherever possible. You can use those savings to bring your project under budget, or you can channel those savings into other perks you want to add to your custom home.

Recent Posts
Showing 9 comments
  • Stephen Brown

    I’ve always wanted to build a custom home off the grid. It’d be nice to have a personal retreat. Does a scenic land plot need to be graded if I have plans for a septic tank and my own power supply on the property?

    • admin

      Not necessarily but you will want to be able to get to level below grade to install your footers. But you can leave the grades as they are for the most.

  • Emily

    Matt, my husband and I have been thinking of building our own custom home. It is something that we have wanted to do for a long time and it looks like we are going to be able to achieve that dream. We are hoping to meet with an architect soon to see what kind of plans we can come up with. We will also have to make of list of the things that we want to have in our custom home just like you suggest.

    • admin

      That’s fantastic. Don’t skimp on the efficiency it will be your best ROI (return on investment)

  • James Bay

    I have never thought of a custom home as a possibility. I have been thinking of buying my own home, and maybe even remodeling it. The idea of purchasing a property with an old home already on it to take down is a good idea. Thank you for the ideas.

    • admin

      Absolutely, Our company does both custom homes and major remodeling. Sometimes it is more cost effective to remodel other times it is best to tear down and start over. There should be some idea on what cost is viable to invest in remodeling if it is a major remodeling project. Keep in mind that if you sell the home it will still be noted as a older home in the MLS

  • Deanna R. Jones

    I’ve always wanted a custom home, but there have been a few hiccups that could possibly prevent me from being able to afford it. Seeing all of these different ways to make building a custom home more affordable gives me hope that I can get my new home after all. Your tip to start with a finished floor plan seems like a great way to save money. Hiring an architect seems like it would really add to my budget, so it helps knowing that I can just adjust a finished floor plan and go from there with the builders. Doing that will also make getting my new home done faster. Thanks for the tips!

    • admin

      Glad to hear we can help. The least amount of changes that are made in the field the less you will have to pay for change orders. Also the complexity of the roof and other things can change the price substantially

  • Nick Mallory

    A custom home is something that I’ve dreamed of for a long time. I agree with you though that I’ll probably have to be judicious in my selections. I have so many things that I really want (custom cabinets, wood-paneled home library) but I’ll have to choose which I really want. I’ll still splurge, but I think that getting everything is unrealistic.