It’s unfortunately far too common that people will end up working with builders that are far under or above their budget because they don’t fully understand the costs associated with a custom house.

In this article, we’ll discuss these groups of builders, the differences between them, and the costs associated with each one to paint a picture of what exactly you can expect price-wise when building your custom home in the Houston area.

Production Builders

Production builders are going to be the cheapest option when building a house, but it’s important to understand why this is the case. Production builders will often build hundreds, if not thousands of homes per year and will typically build in new developments.

Because of the scale at which production builders operate, they offer very little customization options and will typically finish their homes with cheaper materials to cut costs. For example, production builders will typically use cheaper doors, appliances, and usually use carpet instead of hardwood to keep their prices lower.

In regards to customization, a production builder will provide you with a limited amount of pre-designed floorplans to choose from, accompanied by a limited amount of finishes to go along with that. With this, you can expect to pay around $100 to $150 per square foot to build a production home in Houston. So, for a 2,000 square foot production home, you’d be paying anywhere from $200,000 to $250,000.

Dallas Custom Builders

Custom builders are a step up from production builders, what they allow you to do is make your house Custom, just as the name would suggest! With a custom builder, you typically will find yourself working with an architect to make a custom plan for your own home, rather than working with pre-designed floorplans. In addition, custom builders can build on any land you own.

With a custom builder, your house truly is custom. Because of this, a lot of the costs will be determined by you and where you choose to spend or save money. However, it’s important to note that a lot of the builders in this category will tend to spend a little less on architecture and interior design. 

Building with a custom builder will typically cost around $150 to $250. With this, you may be getting less skilled tradesmen working on your home, along with cheaper appliances and finishes. If you’re accustomed to more luxury features, these builders may not be exactly for you.

Custom Plus Builders

Custom Plus Builders are a step above custom builders, but a notch below luxury custom builders. Custom plus builders follow all the same building protocols as regular custom builders, but really shine when it comes to things like architecture, finishes, appliances, and the tradesmen hired to do work on the house.

Custom plus builders hire well regarded, experienced tradesmen and award-winning architects to work on their homes. These builders also have more of a budget when it comes to nicer appliances and features, allowing clients to experience some of the luxury elements of a luxury custom home while still maintaining some of the affordability of a regular custom home. 

Because of the added quality that comes with a custom plus builder, it would cost you about $200 to $250 per square foot to build your home with this kind of builder. A typical 4,000 square foot home here would cost about $800,000 to $1 million.

Ultra-Luxury Builders

These builders are the best of the best, usually with multiple awards and the greatest workers in all categories. These homes use the latest technology and will go above and beyond when it comes to luxury. 

Usually being built in high-class neighborhoods and coming with features like walk-in closets, huge yards with great views, and top-of-the-line appliances and architectural features, building a custom home with ultra-luxury builders will cost you north of $250 per square foot. Multiplying this price per square foot by the average house size in this category of 7,000 square feet, you get a price tag of $1,750,000 starting.

When you’re looking for a builder to help you on your journey to creating your own custom home, it’s important to be certain that they’re the perfect fit for you. Without someone who can understand exactly what you want, it can be hard to make your custom house into a true home.

There are many important factors to look for when searching for a custom builder, so we’ve compiled 5 of the most important features to be on the lookout for in your search.

An Established Portfolio

The first thing to look for when searching for a custom builder is a well-established portfolio. It’s important to make sure that your builder has their work and finished projects on display, so you can not only be sure of their skill but also be able to tell if their style matches yours.

Make sure to do a good amount of research on your builder and the work they’ve done. Check out their website if they have one, maybe their Facebook profile, their Houzz profile, or even Pinterest pages of theirs to get an idea of the work they do. 

Finding a builder with an established and diverse portfolio is a great sign that you’re going down the right path in your search, and it’s always important to know what kind of results you can expect from your custom builder.

Credible Reviews

Just as important as having a well-established portfolio, credible and honest reviews are another big thing to look for in your custom builder. 

It’s almost second nature for us to check the reviews for any kind of product before buying, and it should be no different with a builder. Reading the opinions of others is extremely important in determining if a specific custom builder is right for you.

Just like with a good product, you’ll want a builder who has honest, good reviews. When researching a builder, be sure to check their reviews on Google, Houzz, Facebook, or Yelp if they’re listed on there. 

Be on the lookout for credible and honest reviews that prove the builder does good work, but also keep an eye out for a negative or non-positive review or two, this provides a sense of honesty and reality. Someone with no reviews or all perfect reviews can definitely be a red flag, so be sure to be diligent in that regard. 

Flexible Customization Options

If you’re looking to build a truly custom home, then you’ll want every aspect of the home to be able to be customized. Many larger production builders will provide different floorplans and can allow for clients to alter a few rooms or details within the footprint of the house, but won’t allow for the footprint itself to be changed or customized.

Although the route of full customization can be long and difficult, considering nobody has ever built your custom home before, partnering with a builder who can deliver a fully custom experience is extremely important if that’s the route you want to take for building your home.

Customer Centric Process

Building your own custom home is a significant investment, so you want to be certain that the builder that you’re working with has processes that are centered around you. There are two sides to any relationship, and you should be sure that your builder provides staff that is there for you, respond to your calls quickly, and care about you as a customer and not just their own office and overhead.

If a builder takes forever to return your calls, hardly answers any questions, and doesn’t seem to want to give you the time of day, what do you expect their work on your home is going to be like?

A Knowledgeable Staff

During the process of building your home, you may not be speaking directly to the builder’s staff all that often, but it’s still incredibly important to make sure their team is knowledgeable and great at what they do. 

The person you’ll be interacting with in the process of building your custom home the most is the field superintendent. This is who you’ll be talking to on daily basis about your home, so if you have the ability to handpick or get to know your field superintendent, definitely be sure to select someone you can be sure is top-notch at what they do, communicates well with you, and has a good chemistry with you and the team. 

Hopefully with these five tips you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of what a great custom builder looks like. Be sure to do your research on a builder and their work portfolio, and never settle for someone who seems like they won’t put you as a customer first!

Building a custom home requires a huge investment of both time and money, so our objective with this article is answer the top ten questions that people most frequently ask their home builders. 

How Long Will It Take to Build My Home?

On average, from opening to final closing of the contract, the time period is about 8 months. However, the time required for the actual construction of the house is considerably shorter, usually only taking 4-6 months.

2. Can I Walk Through My Home While It’s Under Construction?

Generally the answer to this question is yes, but with conditions. For insurance reasons, most custom home builders will only let you walk around the construction premises if you’re accompanied by a representative of their company.

3. Can I Use A Realtor?

Yes and no, most home builders will only allow the use of an agent if they were the ones to set up the appointment for visiting a model home of the home builder’s, or if they procured the deal themselves. Otherwise, in most cases, the answer to this question will be no.

4. Is It Possible to Get a Discount by Not Using a Realtor?

Sometimes, but don’t expect to get the entirety of the 3% the realtor would’ve taken. Such discounts are usually only given if there wasn’t an agent in the picture from the start, and most builders will do this to protect the realtor from being cut out of the deal after having already invested their time and effort.

5. Is the Price Negotiable?

Most often the answer to this question will be no, but there are a few cases where there is room for negotiation on prices, such as at the end of fiscal quarters, or if the builder has some completed model homes that haven’t been purchased yet.

6. Do Builders Offer Price Incentives or Discounts?

Yes, but they’re often quite small and will sometimes be contingent on using the builder’s preferred lender or construction partners.

7. Do I Have to Use the Builder’s Preferred Lender?

No, but as mentioned in the last question, doing so may allow you to negotiate a discount on your home. It is perfectly acceptable to go to another lender to compare rates to your builder’s lender, to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

8. Can I Choose My Own Colors and Other Options?

If you are building a truly custom home, the answer is yes. However, if you are buying into a development where construction has already started, your choices may be limited because many of the materials used in building take weeks or longer to arrive, so may be difficult or even impossible to change the plan once the building process has begun.

9. Is It Possible to Push Back the Closing Date?

This answer is almost always going to be a hard “no” for this one, because every day that the house remains unpurchased after construction costs the builder a substantial amount of money.

10. Can I Close Early?

Usually, this will also be a no because builders want to ensure they have all the time they need to deliver a completed house with minimal flaws, so closing early is rarely an option.

These seem to be 10 of the most commonly asked questions of home builders. With this information, we hope to provide you with a better idea of what the processes surrounding buying and building your own home are like.