Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Mar 26, 2015 1:00:15 AM
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Think designing and building a custom home is out of reach? The truth is that a custom home is easier and more affordable than you may think. In fact, in many cases you could pay the same for a custom home (one that’s built exactly the way you want it) that you would pay for an older resale home.

Here are seven steps ways to make your dream home a reality, even if you’re on a tight budget.

Set Your Priorities

The first steps to design an affordable custom home are to prioritize and organize your ideas into a Design Guide. Start by brainstorming everything you do, and don’t, want in your new home. Then organize your ideas into three categories: must have, nice to have, and do not want. Once you have an idea of what’s important to you, start collecting and organizing ideas using tools such as Pinterest boards or a Houzz Ideabook.

Get the Facts About Financing

Just as your custom home is unique to your family, your budget, and your lifestyle - your financing should be a perfect fit, too. Construction financing can seem overwhelming at first, but a financing professional that specializes in loan options for custom homes can be a fantastic resource for keeping your new home affordable. Review the variety of loan programs available and ask for a free Good Faith Estimate that outlines your estimated costs.

Estimate Your Design Costs

Once you have the facts about what you can afford and the financing option that’s right for you, the next step is to visit a Sales Center. This is where you can fine tune your budget with more information about the cost of building as well as how much you’ll want to budget for the specific customizations and upgrades you’ll want in your new home.

Ask for an Included Features List

Select a custom home builder that offers a comprehensive list of quality features that are included in the price. Fewer items to upgrade means more savings for you. A home that includes quality upgrades gives you more room in your budget to upgrade the items that matter most to you. For example, if you builder includes high quality flooring, cabinets and counters in the secondary baths that gives you more room in your budget to upgrade your master bath with an extra large shower, dual sinks, or soaking tub.

Get a Second Opinion

Finding the right location is about more than geography. Each land location has its own unique site considerations. This may include costs for clearing, grading, and other costs that can take a big bite out of your budget. Once you’ve found a location, ask your builder for a free site evaluation to help you create a realistic estimate of the costs involved. This will help you feel more confident in your land choice before you buy.

Ask About the Builder’s Process

Construction delays can quickly bust your budget and unexpected costs can make your dream home feel like a nightmare. Ask questions upfront about your home builder’s construction process. When will building begin? When will it be complete? What is the Total Project Cost? What kind of price protection does your builder offer? A reputable builder will be able to offer clearly defined benchmarks for the completion of your home and a track record of delivering homes on time.

Stretch Your Budget

When available, take advantage of home builder incentives that can stretch your dollars and allow you to make upgrades to your home that might be otherwise out of your budget.

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Topics: Finance Your Home, Plan Smart, Build a Custom Home, Custom Home Costs