One of the first questions a new custom home buyer asks is “So, how much does a house cost?” or “How much do you charge per square foot?” These are perfectly reasonable questions on the one hand, but pretty hard to answer on the other. Custom homes are a little like custom suits – they aren’t an off-the-rack product. They are designed and constructed just for you – a combination of materials, colors, functions, and costs specifically and uniquely your own.
A knowledgeable builder can only provide accurate cost information about a new home if he or she has accurate information about the size, style, and functions custom home buyers want - or think they want. As costs and cost trade-offs are reviewed, the picture becomes clearer to the buyer. The questions change: "Which do I want more – the whirlpool tub or the wood burning fireplace?"
Progress Street Builders has been fortunate to be in the building business for some years and so we have had the chance to identify important first steps for custom home buyers.
First: You need to identify a lot or parcel. If you have a special spot you already own, you are off to a great start. In either case, you may save yourself some heartache if you consult a reputable builder before becoming too invested in a certain spot. The lot is a big part of the cost, but so is getting a driveway, utilities, materials, and people to that spot.
Second: The best prepared customers come with a scrap book of images in hand – pages from magazines, web site photos, pictures of a friend’s house or a model home. A picture can communicate a certain feel or a special look you hope to achieve more clearly than words alone.
Third: Be prepared to make informed compromises. It is the rare custom home where all the owner's “wants” fit neatly into their “dream” budget. An experienced builder is accustomed to helping customers make intelligent trade-offs, refine plans, navigate tough decisions and work to a realistic budget. Everyone’s goal should be creating a home that is a perfect fit for the new homeowner. And that takes some special tailoring…
With these points in mind, custom home buyers can work with their home builders to create homes just their size, just their style.
In the photo, Amy Mabry of Progress Street Builders helps a new custom home buyer through the selections process.
Eric Sallee is President of Progress Street Builders, a custom home builder serving the Blacksburg, Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia, specializing in the design and construction of unique single family homes, townhouses, additions and residential remodeling projects.
Progress Street Builders, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.