As custom homebuilders, one of the most frequently asked questions we’re asked is: “What will it cost to build a custom home in Rochester (or Webster, or Canandaigua, or Ontario)? If you’re considering building a home in one of these communities—or elsewhere in the Finger Lakes area—it’s a question you have to ask. But it’s also a bit of a loaded question.
Imagine walking into an appliance store and asking what a big-screen television costs. The answer would depend on the size of the television, the features, the quality of picture you want, whether you want plasma or LED, etc. And of course you have to take into consideration what you can realistically afford.
A custom home, of course, is not a television. But you still have to consider exactly what features you want—and what you can realistically afford. The goal here is not necessarily to get the lowest price, but to get the most value for the dollars you budget.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to make one of two errors when it comes to budgeting for their custom homes. And either of those mistakes can cause real problems.
Unrealistically High Expectations: Planning a custom home can be a pretty exhilarating experience. There are all kinds of magazines, online sites, blogs, and TV programs that highlight the magnificent features you can build into your home. Let’s be honest: a lot of this stuff is really cool! But if it’s beyond what you can really afford, it doesn’t matter. It’s not good moving into the “castle” of your dreams if you can’t afford to live there, or can’t afford to furnish it. You need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can really afford—and then work with a builder to get the most value for that price.
Unrealistically Low Budgets: Some homeowners can afford a higher budget, but they set an unrealistically low budget for their home. They have high expectations, but they set a budget that’s too low to achieve what they want. The problem here is that after the home has been built, they’re not as delighted with the home as they could have been. They’ve settled for less, when they realistically could have afforded more. And of course the real kicker is that if they decide to add in the features they really wanted—it costs them more than it would have originally.
Making either of these mistakes will leave you less than satisfied. Take the time to calculate what you can really afford and then work with a builder who will deliver the maximum bang for your building buck.
Looking for ideas to get started with the custom homebuilding process? A good place to begin is by downloading our free Steps to Building Your Dream Home custom home guide It’s full of helpful information about the steps involved in the homebuilding process. It features great design tips—and even provides help for choosing the right builder for you home.