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Why Does a Potential Home Owner Go Cheap
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 • Posted November 10, 2011 10:46 AM

The question that always comes up is, “How much does it cost to build a custom home?” The problem I have here is the constant answer. If you tell a potential homeowner it can cost anywhere from $125-$225 a square foot to build, you should see their expression. But the problem that constantly amazes me is how much that person has spent on the land, site planner, designer, architect, color specialist, and the list goes on before even getting with a builder. It always seems the actual cost to build is a problem. Go figure. So as I try to analyze this, I’ve come up with this scenario.

You have two kinds of people who want to build; those who know it all and those who trust the ones who know their field. This strategy can technically apply in almost any profession, except nowadays everyone thinks they can be a builder. Yes, they might save money, but again, it might cost them a lot extra. And there is always the question, “What about the quality?”

Let’s take the person who knows it all. They find the perfect land or inherit it, and decide it’s time to build. First off, they think they need to hire a site planner to feel out the land for them. Here they hope the site planner will tell them the best way to position their home on the land. They might bring in a solar expert or a landscaper to discuss options with – and pay all these people for their opinions. This can be followed by some drawings. Then it is off to find an architect to draw some plans. This cost usually starts at $1.00 square foot to draw the plans. Each change can be an additional amount. Now it is back to the landscaper to add his artist renditions to the newly drawn house; more cost. Where are we at this point? We have a nice water color picture with a potential dream home elevation, including a beautiful landscape all defined on a piece of paper. At this point you might be at $5,000 to $20,000 dollars before you even make it to the custom home builder, but you sure have a nice set of pictures and a set of plans in hand. Now what? You hand over your beautiful picture with all the plans and the builder takes one look at it and says it won’t work. This subdivision requires this type of detail for a home in this area. My point here – talk to the builder first. They might be able to save you a ton of money on those upfront costs. They might be able to do these things themselves or have a team player who handles it and it might even be part of the square foot price if they build for you.

Now, taking person number two who believes in hiring a professional builder first. This person trusts the builder for his expertise. They have their first meeting with the builder. Here, at the first meeting, all cards are put on the table. Where they want to build and what designs or ideas they might have. Most builders can draw plans or have their own architect. This price can be included in the square foot price or be free. As for the site planner, a builder has the knowledge and tools to tell you which way to position your home, how to save money on the drive to be cut in, and more. This builder can hold your hand through the whole process, not just the middle or end. The builder knows what permits to pull, what the subdivisions require, and where to find the best people for the job.

Bottom line, if you think you need to hire all the additional people for all the “special” things they can do, just make sure you are not wasting your money because when you are ready to start building, this is where you need to spend your money. The house will be what counts the most. Making sure it is built with quality, expertise, and experience. So don’t cut those corners when selecting a builder. If you can pay for all the designers to tell you where to position your home, or an architect to drawn your plans, you should be able to pay a quality builder to construction your home.

For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to

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