You probably know someone who has built a custom home. Chances are you heard their stories of construction delays and going over budget. These situations often result from a homeowner not being fully prepared prior to beginning the process. While the thought of the ultimate home with all of your desired features is intriguing, you don’t have to let the actual process of building your dream home be overwhelming. 

So, go ahead and come out from hiding and remember this wisdom from Anatole France who once said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” It is true with a dream home isn’t it? It would not be called a dream home unless it was first a dream. But with all dreams, there is reality. And in the case of building a dream home, the reality is having a sound plan in place. Otherwise, you could be faced with a nightmare situation of delays and budget problems. 

Follow these seven rules to get past the hurdles and start on the path to successfully build a custom, dream home:

1. Look at Needs vs. Wants: You typically will not get everything that you want in your dream home. Determine your needs first, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, an office, garage, kitchen, and family room. Then evaluate other features that you want in your home but are willing to forego if they cannot work into the overall plan.

2. Evaluate Costs: Look at the costs for the features you want, such as a pool, media room or a wine cellar. Then prioritize the rankings of your wants. Be prepared to nix some from the list.

3. Determine the Style: Deciding on the style of home you want is very crucial in determining the home you want to build, but keep in mind that the style can affect your budget as well as building and supply costs. Round turrets, multiple elevations and complex roof lines can be costly.

4. Look at the Covenants and ARB Requirements: Make sure your home’s style, elevations, exterior finishes, colors and square footage comply with the Neighborhood Covenants. You will need to go through the Architectural Review Board to have plans finalized and approved before you break ground.  Using a builder who is familiar with the community can facilitate this process.

5. Set a Realistic Budget: Accurate budget planning is important to prevent any surprises when it comes time to start building your dream home. Obtain detailed quotes from builders which include all the features and finishes you want in your home.  Be aware when interviewing builders that the costs to build are relatively similar from one builder to the next, differences in quotes often come from the allowances they provide and the finishes they include. 

6. Feel Comfortable in the Decision-Making Process: Be prepared to make decisions. When building a custom home, you will be picking everything from lighting and plumbing fixtures to appliances and exterior materials, so it is important to feel comfortable in the decision-making process. Do not labor or fret over your decisions. If you are unsure, ask the opinion of your builder or Realtor, professionals in the industry can provide a lot of insight.

7. Get Detailed House Plans: Obtain a set of stock plans or custom design them with your builder, home designer, or architect. Make sure the plans provide specific details about the size, specs and dimensions so that you are getting the exact house that you want.

 If you are hoping to start building a custom home feel free to contact me.  We have a wealth of information available to property owners to facilitate their build process including a selection of floorplans, builder information, articles on the build process, and insight into the ARB and neighborhood covenants.   


Yvonne Beal, Broker

NC Fine Living