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Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Dec 14, 2017 7:14:42 AM
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When building a new home, there are a lot of elements you can customize, and many people choose the DIY approach because they think it will save money. However, there are some significant benefits to customizing your home with a builder. Unless you are a professional contractor or have done substantial DIY work on other houses, chances are there is a strong argument for having your builder do most of the work.

Custom Features You Could DIY

Some of the customization work you could choose to do on your own home includes:

  • Decks and patios
  • Crown molding, box beams, wainscoting, and chair rails
  • Ceiling fans and stylish light fixtures
  • Wallpaper and custom paint
  • Closet organization
  • Solar panels and solar power systems

However, while it’s true that anybody with motivation and access to the internet could learn how to install any of these items, it’s not always the most cost-effective solution, especially when you already have a builder working on the rest of your home.

Benefits of Customizing with a Builder

It’s tempting to try to bring the price tag of a custom home down by saying that you’ll install certain features yourself, but the reality is, the costs are often the same, or more, especially when you factor in the value of your own time. Consider these other compelling reasons to have your builder do most or all of the customization work:


Material pricing

Most builders get special pricing on materials because they purchase larger volumes. You likely won’t have access to these same discounts, so even though you might save money on labor (if you don’t calculate the cost of your own time), you won’t save on materials.

Regulatory issues

Local builders know the regulatory process inside and out, while you might not be quite so knowledgeable. While it’s true that you can learn the processes and navigate the system yourself, many people are later surprised when they learn that something they did is not in compliance with code, or was not properly permitted.

Streamlined process

When is the last time you did the customization work you are thinking about doing? If it wasn’t recently, and if you haven’t done it frequently, chances are your builder is going to be able to do it much faster because they do this type of work all the time. They already have processes in place for getting the necessary materials on site and assigning the appropriate people to do the work.

Expert skills

Everybody wants to live in a beautiful home with professional finishes and expert craftsmanship. If you can’t deliver at the same level of quality as your builder, perhaps it’s better to let them customize it for you.


Do you have all the tools you need to get the job done right? Are they on site? If not, how easy is it to transport them there? Builders have all the necessary tools on hand so they can do the work efficiently.


Ways You Can Save Money with a Builder

While it’s true that there are certain customization tasks that are better left with the builder, there are certain things you can do to bring the cost down and build equity at the same time, such as:

  • Setting up temporary power and water
  • Excavating the building pad
  • Installing a rain drain system
  • Install the septic system
  • Cleaning up construction debris
  • Priming and painting interiors
  • Installing exterior steps, decks, sidewalks, and driveway

If the type of customization you want to do is one of your passions or hobbies, that’s a great reason to take the DIY approach. However, if you think that doing it yourself will save time or money, chances are you will later learn that the savings, if any, were not worth the effort. If you’d like to learn more, Adair’s Home Ownership Counselors are here to chat with you any time about your dream home and how we can help you get it within your budget.