The idea of building a custom home in Dallas is both intimidating and exciting. Unlike buying a readymade construction, you can design and construct everything according to your needs when you build your home from scratch.

From hiring a builder of your choice to picking the right set of colors and the type of wood you want to use in your kitchen cabinetry, you can decide everything on your own.

If you have made the exciting decision of building a custom home in Dallas, you have come to the right place.

In this post, we’re going to highlight 10 tried-and-tested expert tips for building a custom construction that will help you build your dream house without wasting any money. So without any ado, let’s get started!

1. Everything Starts with a Plan

Prepare yourself both financially and mentally before you even start thinking about building your home. Similar to any other thing, custom home building projects also demand in-depth research and planning. 

Create a list of things you want in your home project, be it a customized staircase, a custom ceiling or a dedicated parking space, or a backyard. 

Having a written plan will make things smoother, and it will be easier for you to explain your requirements to the builder when you attend your first showroom meeting. 

2. Find Your Lot 

Once you know your needs, the next step is to find a perfect lot according to your plan. You have to check your local laws to see whether you can build a custom home on any specific lot. 

Know the dimensions you want for your custom home so that you can determine the footprint of it on your chosen lot. Both regular and premium lot options are available. Make sure you choose something that goes well with your requirements and budget. 

Also, get a builder’s perspective and carefully check out the neighborhood to know whether building a custom home in that locality will be convenient. 

3. Check Out a Model House and Choose Your Floor Plan

Builders usually have a model house to display all the best features one might be looking for in their home. You can visit that house and see what you can expect in terms of design and features. 

It is essential to understand that these model houses showcase possibilities, and they’re not free. Builders only bear the base costs, and whatever else you need in your home will be counted in the upgrades. 

Do not hesitate to ask a lot of questions upon your visit to the model house. Also, discuss the floor plan with your builder to communicate what custom changes you need in your home. 

For instance, if you want to build two master bedrooms on the first floor instead of one, you can discuss it with the contractor. 

4. Upgrades Are Not included

As mentioned earlier, the model house you see before finalizing your contract with a builder only covers the base price. All the other custom additions you want to include will be counted as upgrades. 

Upgrades are part of the house building project. Just ensure you’re mentally and financially prepared for it to avoid any surprises in the end. 

5. You Can Buy or Build Your Home Much Sooner than You Think 

The general misconception about securing a house loan is that you have to put a 20% down. But the fact is that you can get a loan for as little as 3.5%. So there’s no need to be debt-free or hold tons of money before you start thinking about building a custom home in Dallas.

Dissimilar to prebuilt constructions, there are so many unknowns in the custom home building project. Ideally, you should start a project when your credit score is good enough to satisfy the financer’s requirements. 

The credit score you will need depends on the type of loan you’re securing. The better the credit score you hold, the lesser interest rate you have to pay on your loan, and vice versa. 

Apart from that, your constructor will offer a few extra incentives if you go with their financer.  

6. Purchase Agreement

Signing a purchase agreement means you’re now in a legal relationship with your contractor. You also have to deposit some upfront money (a certain percentage of house cost) at this point. Make sure you read your agreement carefully and request changes (if any) at this stage before you proceed further. 

7. Ask Lots of Questions

While you sign a purchase agreement and your builder will send it for approval, you’ll have enough time to work on the design elements of your home. Your contractor will arrange design showroom meetings for you (one or two depending upon your needs). 

Ask lots and lots of questions. At this point, you can request custom changes for your home. For example, you can choose your custom doorknobs, shower, countertops, etc. Again, none of these upgrades will be free. But, since building a custom home is already an expensive investment, these little changes here and there are worth it. 

8. Take Pictures of Everything in Your First Showroom Appointment

Another thing you should keep in mind is to take lots and lots of pictures and videos of the things you have finalized during your showroom meetings. 

The thing is that the contractors are handling several house building projects simultaneously. It’s easy to forget minor upgrade requests. So it’s better to have all the evidence at hand that you can show them if anything goes in an unexpected direction. 

9. Do not Touch Your Credit During the Process of Getting Pre-Approval to Locking in a Rate credit

Do not touch your credit during the process of getting pre-approval to locking in a credit rate. Do not increase the balances you have on your credit card or do anything that could poorly affect your credit rating. 

10. Be Diligent During a Pre-Close Walkthrough

One week before the closing, you’ll be doing a pre-close walkthrough. This is typically an hour or two walkthrough of your newly-built construction so that you can have a close look at everything and compare it with what you had discussed in your meetings and finalized in a purchase agreement. 

That goes without saying that you have to be super diligent during this process. Any imperfections that need to be fixed should be highlighted before you close a deal.

Building a custom home in Dallas is both challenging and exciting. What sets a custom home apart from ready-made constructions is that you can design your house according to your needs. 

Not only can you design your home the way you like, but you’ll likely get a higher quality, more durable and long-lasting result.

When you plan to build your custom home in Dallas, the most crucial thing that you should do is to find the best architect or custom home designer and a builder you can afford. (We’ll shed light on the things you should consider before you hire a custom home designer and a contractor in a separate post).

Once you have found the architect/designer/builder to work with, you can officially start your custom home building project. 

This step-by-step guide will help you build your dream house with an efficient, controlled, well-planned approach so that you can enjoy the process and minimize stress.

Step 1 – Develop Your Budget Range

The first step to building a custom home in Dallas is to develop your budget range. Many things can go wrong if you aren’t sure about how much your house should cost in the end. 

Since there are so many unknowns involved in the house building process, it is practically impossible for a homeowner to finalize the budget in the initial stages. But you must at least have an estimate

Consult with your financial advisor or accountant to understand your available funds, credit lines, mortgage rates and all the other financial considerations, and set your budget accordingly.  Then add 20% and hold in reserve for unexpected costs.

Step 2 – Know What You Can Build

Before you go any further, you have to know about any restrictions that may apply to the lot or land on which you want to build.  Deed restrictions, HOA restrictions and various municipal and governmental restrictions might have an impact on what you can build on a particular lot or in a particular area.

Visit your city planning department and discuss all of the above to see if they are applicable. Bring your address and real property report that could help the authorities gauge the feasibility of your plan. 

Alternatively, you can get a site feasibility review done by a professional custom home designer who will provide you with a detailed analysis report of what you can or cannot build on your lot. 

Step 3 – Document Your Wishlist

There are so many details that go into the custom home building project. So, make sure you spend some time and document a wishlist as you’d not be able to remember everything you have discussed with your designer in the first meeting on your own. 

Apart from that, you also need to have a collection point that could either be in the form of a file or a digital folder where you can save images, videos, and design examples of different constructions that you would like to follow for your project. 

Step 4 – Develop Your Final Design

This is the most exciting part of your custom home building project. Once you have finalized a designer, have a rough budget estimate in hand, and also checked the feasibility of your project with your local city planning department, it’s time to develop your final design. 

At this point, your custom home designer will show you the final design plan based on your discussions with them in the initial meetings. Make sure you check every detail carefully. Discuss floor plan concept, exterior design concept, the amount of space you need for your backyard or parking, and other essential things you want in your custom home building project. 

Step 5 – Finalize Your budget

You already had a rough estimate for your project that you developed in the first step of the process. Now that you already have everything you need to get started, you can finalize your budget to avoid post-construction regrets.

Your builder will now give you the final budget estimate that you need to complete your custom home building project in Dallas. 

You need to ensure that you’re comfortable with the final budget before you proceed further. 

Step 6 – Finalize Technical Details

A house building project is not just about having brick and mortar. It’s a tedious process that involves many technical details as well.

For example, you may have to consult with an energy advisor and construction engineer to help you decide the intricate construction and lighting details for your home in Dallas. 

If you’re not handling your project independently and have hired a custom home designer and a contractor, there is nothing to worry about. But yes, you must keep an eye on every detail to know whether everything is going in the right direction. 

Step 7 – Secure Your Permits

The most exciting part of the project is where you seek permits and start the construction process to turn your dream project into a living reality. 

Depending on your location, there might be one permit or multiple permits that you need to start the actual construction process.

Make sure you have all the permits at hand before you get started. 

Step 8 – Start Construction

That’s pretty straightforward. After having permits, you’re all set to start the construction process.

At this point, you can arrange a pre-construction meeting to have your custom home designer and builder on board. Clear all your doubts, ask many questions, and have a quick look at every detail to see if you need to amend anything. 

Custom House Building Checklist

Buying land
Review documents and prepare specifications sheet
Hire a designer and a builder
Buying materials
Site and foundation
Framing
Exterior Masonry
Roofing
Siding
Plumbing rough
HVAC
Electrical rough and insulation
Wallcovering
Trims and cabinets
Interior paint/wallpaper
Final finishing
Final clean up
Move-in

There you have it – a step-by-step guide to building a custom home in Dallas. The steps we have explained above are crucial, and you must follow all of them to get the most of your house building project. 

For more questions or to drop your feedback, you can always reach out using the comments section given below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Good Luck!

There is nothing more exciting than building a custom home. Imagine a cozy place where you have everything of your choice, be it ceiling, backyard, or parking. 

You can decide your home’s color scheme, add cabinets that blend well with your flooring, and have ducts for natural sunlight wherever you want. Sounds fascinating? 

But there are so many things you should keep in mind when you construct your home in a metropolitan city like Dallas. From purchasing your lot to choosing the builder, many things need your consideration. 

However, building a custom home in Dallas must not be that challenging, right?

To help you build your house of dreams, we have created a detailed post covering aspects you should keep in mind while building a new home. 

Excited? We’re too. Let’s begin!

1. Ask Questions and Be Pushy if You Need to

You don’t have to be an easy client. Why would you? After all, your money, your time, and your investment are at stake. 

The thing is, building a house in Dallas is a tedious job. Builders are already busy with so much stuff that they barely pay attention to individual projects. 

While this is not your responsibility to nudge them for everything, you should at least remind them of your requirements from time to time so that they keep those things in mind. 

For instance, if you’re looking to have a duct at a particular place or, say, you want a window on a wall facing the door, you have to get your message across several times to get things done the way you like. 

2. Buy Your Own Appliances

You get a dishwasher and an oven along with a package. Many people make a mistake, and they also ask their builder to fix other appliances to save time and effort. 

But, it will generally cost you a lot. 

If you want to save money on appliances, it is better to arrange them on your own. 

You can purchase them from a sale or can save money by negotiating with the vendor – so yes. Make sure you buy appliances separately and do not ask a builder to arrange them for you. 

3. Do Not Have Upgrade Regrets

The next million-dollar tip on our list is to ‘never have upgrade regrets’. There are many things that you get standard when you go with the builder, including the doorknobs, shower, and lights. 

As we always say, keep a dedicated column for ‘upgrades’ in your budget so that you can spend that money on things of your choice. For example, if you want custom faucets or a walk-in shower, you have to invest extra in these luxuries. That goes without saying these upgrades can go a long way. 

4. Get Independent Home Inspections

A home inspection gives you an insight into the overall condition of the property, including plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and more. 

There are many things that you can overlook,  but an independent home inspector can find. What you get from a home inspector is an unbiased and neutral perspective. 

5. Wait to Buy Your Furniture

Wait to buy your furniture until you are in the home. Unlike apartments, decorating an entire house is a lot of fun. But it is going to be more time-consuming and expensive too. 

What if the console you bought for $500 doesn’t blend well with the overall color scheme and ceilings of your living area? 

It is, therefore, better to buy your furniture when you have finalized the colors and design elements of your home.

6. Do Not Forget to Take Pictures

Take lots and lots of pictures of each stage of the construction of your custom home in Dallas. Not only can you cherish those moments when you’re done with the construction part, but it also helps you pinpoint the weak links you should work on to make your house look more appealing and beautiful. 

7. Prepare for Going into Design Center

To avoid post-construction regrets, ask your builder to send you catalogs and design files so that you can review them before you make any decision. 

8. Hire a Good Realtor Who’s Familiar with New Builds

You may want to reconsider your approach if you think that your builder’s agent or a salesperson represents you. Having a realtor familiar with new builds means that you have someone with your interest at heart.

A realtor also understands hidden costs and terms listed in your builder’s contract. Also, they can help you streamline and prioritize your budget. 

9. Mentally Prepare for Delays

Whether it’s weather or shortage of material, delays are part of the process. Many builders mention up to 2-years of time in their contracts, but a delay of 4 to 6 months is quite common. 

So don’t panic and give your custom home project in Dallas the time it deserves. 

10. Be on Top of Your Options

Last but most importantly, make sure you cross-check everything and keep an eye on stuff a builder is fixing in your house. If you live in a neighborhood, you can visit the property yourself to check everything personally. If not, you can also ask a realtor to visit the property every week to keep track of things (materials, design, etc.)

Now that you know some of the best construction advice you need to follow when building a custom home in Dallas, it’s time to implement these strategies to see how well they turn out for you. 

We hope this post has cleared some of your doubts about constructing a new home. Remember, there’s a lot of planning, money, and hard work involved in building a custom home. But the results you get at the end of the day are totally worth it. 

Have questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments section below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We wish you all the best for your new custom house project!

Building a custom home is really an astounding experience. It is something very different from buying a prebuilt construction. You can choose your favorite flooring, siding, and furnishings. 

There are many decisions that you have to make along the way. And if you’re looking to build the house of your dreams and avoid future regrets, then you have to make the best decisions.

In this post, we’ll be sharing a few experience-based suggestions and tips that you can follow to prevent post-construction regrets. Also, you can save a lot when you consider these factors. 

‘Everything is Included’ Doesn’t Mean Upgrades are FREE!

Don’t fall into the trap of the ‘Everything is included’ statement when you sign a contractual agreement with a contractor. Why? Because the base price you pay for the construction covers the cost of the structure and standard finishes. 

But if you’re looking to build a custom home with everything of your choice, then you have to keep the upgrade cost in mind as well. 

Let’s suppose if you choose to go with custom flooring or marble of any specific brand, or let’s say you want to install expensive kitchen cabinets or sidings, then you have to set your budget accordingly. 

We’d suggest, keep a column for upgrades in your construction budget separately so that you don’t have to face surprises when you’re planning to start a life in your newly-built home

Apart from that, you can also discuss your requirements with your contractor before the whole process begins and demand an upfront cost estimate for your desired construction. 

Keep Record of Everything

Let’s suppose you have hired the best home builder in Dallas.

You have clearly discussed your requirements.

The construction work begins.

Things are going fine until you get to know that you’ll be having a replacement contractor for your work for some reason. 

The new contractor isn’t aware of your discussions and commitment you have had with the previous person.

What would you do? 

To avoid this, make sure you capture and record everything that is building in the process. While it may seem like a strange idea at first, it will be a total savior if, for some reason, things move in an unexpected direction. 

Pick Your Lot Early

Choosing a lot for a custom home is one of the essential steps of the home construction process. Make sure you pick your lot early. If possible, choose your lot when the builder opens up the face of the building. 

Keep Compounding Costs in Mind

Another important thing you should keep in mind while building a new home in Dallas is compounding costs. While it may be tempting to upgrade a few things (and you’ll get a very reasonable estimate for a single update), things don’t always go as planned. 

How? Let us explain.

Let’s suppose you want to upgrade a shower in your bathroom and replace it with a walk-in shower. 

You have requested an estimate from your contractor and got a quote of $3,000. That seems doable. After all, you’re building a new home that is already worth thousands of dollars, and $3,000 is something anyone would love to spend for a breathtaking walk-in shower. 

But wait.

A contractor called and asked if you want to have the exact shower you saw in the pic with two faucets installed, then you have to pay another $1,500 for that.

$1,500? Oh! It is pricey. But, that’s fine. After all, who doesn’t like to have a luxurious shower in a newly-constructed home?

But, that doesn’t end here. 

Add $3,000 for the floor tiling and another 1000 bucks for matching sanitary – Bamm! Now a simple shower upgrade is costing you more than $8,500. 

So you see, compounding costs are real. 

No, we don’t want to demotivate you. Just ensure you have this factor in mind before you opt for any upgrades for your newly-built home. 

Research Your Floor Plans

One thing you won’t be getting from your builder is a custom floor plan for your house in Dallas. So if you’re looking to add your unique style to your dream house, you have to research your floor plan

You can also take a cue from websites like floorplans.com, ePlans, dreamhousesource.com, etc. 

These websites have plenty of unique design options that you can use to build your custom home. 

Take Your Time

Building a custom home in Dallas is a time-consuming process. The most important tip you should keep in mind is to take your time. Whether it’s about creating a house map or choosing cabinets, make sure you spend sufficient time for each process to avoid post-construction regrets. 

Remember, you’re spending your entire life savings on your custom home. It should be perfect both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. So do not rush and give your custom home project the time it deserves. Collect expert opinions, do your research, and then make decisions. 

Do Not Increase the Number of Rooms

Unless you have a big family to accommodate, do not increase the number of rooms in your home to cover space. Fewer large rooms with lots of space for living areas and parking will give you plenty of options to experiment with. For instance, you can design a beautiful garden outside with eccentric lighting. Similarly, you can have an extra room adjacent to your living area for a personal house theatre. Possibilities are endless. 

Less is More

When it comes to building a custom home in Dallas, less is more. Minimalist homes are modern and trendy. Instead of keeping your entire focus on having more rooms and covered areas, try to make your home look and feel more functional and feature-rich. Do not leave everything on the builder. It’s your home and investment. Participate as much as possible. 

The Bottom Line

While building a custom home in Dallas is an arduous task, it is worth it. It is the best thing you can do for your family. Everything starts with a plan. So make sure you invest your time in creating a fail-proof construction plan that is doable and strategic.

We wish you all the best!

So you’re thinking about building a custom home in North Texas?  Consider that one attractive option is to buy a piece of rural land for your new home, rather than build in a subdivision or in populated areas.  

There are literally millions of acres of land available to purchase in and around the DFW metroplex, located within a 1-hour or 2-hour drive from either Dallas or Fort Worth.  Easy commuting distance.

Whether for your primary residence or for a weekend retreat, or even as an investment property, if you’re going to build on rural land in Texas be aware of the following considerations when buying that land:

  1. Choose your location before choosing your custom home builder – Custom home builders are often limited by their working relationships and the limitations of their trades.  They tend to prefer building in a limited geographic area because it is where they know their trade partners are reliable (which is largely what protects a custom home builder’s reputation and success).  With so much land around and available to purchase in North Texas, you don’t want to limit your choices.
  1.  Property use – If you only intend to use the property to build a residence, then your requirements are fairly simple.  However, if you have intentions to do anything in addition to that, such as farming, ranching, hunting or fishing, then each of these activities dictate different features needed in the land you buy.  Think carefully about what you might wish to do with the property, both now and in the future.  For example:
    1. Farming requires relatively flat land with access to water, great drainage, located outside any flood plains.
    2. Ranching requires soil conducive to growing good feed as well as water resources for the livestock.
    3. Hunting/fishing requires specific resources such as lakes or running water, abundant wildlife, and that you take into consideration other people, animals and structures located near your property, as well as any local laws or environmental regulations that may be in effect.
  1. Property size – 5 acres may be suitable for a home, but if you want to hunt, farm or ranch you need much more land.  Buy with the future in mind, not only with today’s conditions in mind.
  1. Easements – Property easements have to do with accessing the property from the public road, and can have a significant effect on a property’s value.  Property will either have a “Fee Simple” title, meaning you have direct access to a public road from the property, or may instead have a “Deeded Easement” which means the land is accessed by crossing another property.   You should work with your lender or real estate agent to understand what type of easements a property has if it does not come with a “Fee Simple” title.  
  1. Amenities – Amenities are valuable and come in many shapes and forms.  Anything that is already in place such as fencing, stock-tanks, barns or other existing structures, roads and any other type of infrastructures can significantly add to a property’s value.
  1. Utilities – Not every rural property has all the necessary utilities for a home, and you must anticipate additional costs that may be needed to bring electricity, gas, sewer and water to the property if it does not have any of these already. When accurately anticipated, these costs can be rolled into the financing provided by most lenders.  For example:
    1. Is there a septic tank already, or must you have one built?
    2. Is there access to a water line at the road, or will you have to drill a water well?
    3. Is access to electricity nearby, or how much will you have to pay to bring it to the property?
    4. Same with access to natural gas, or cost to add a propane tank if necessary?
  1. Property values – Many factors can influence the price of a property.  Features such as access to water and utilities, attractive topography, tree cover, etc. all add up to make a piece of land more valuable.  Be aware that some properties can also be influenced by their potential for other uses, such as recreational or even commercial ventures.  Make sure you are not paying for features that are not relevant to you.  Compare the price of the property you are considering to other rural properties around your desired areas, to ensure it is not being inflated by nearby businesses or population centers which might use it or other nearby land for commercial purposes, or which might encroach on your property or affect your quality of life.
  1. Deed restrictions – Investigate these to ensure you won’t be prohibited from any desired activities.  General deed restrictions may include items such as no feedlots, no subdividing the property, no raising of poultry or swine, no mobile homes allowed, etc.  It is important to work with your lender, realtor, builder and/or the local appraisal district to educate yourself on those activities that are and are not allowed.
  1. Agricultural property tax exemptions – Commonly called “Ag exemptions”, these are widely used and can save landowners many thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes over time.  Some common agricultural exemptions include:
    1. Owning cattle or other livestock on the property
    2. Leasing the property to another for their livestock use
    3. Raising honeybees
    4. Adding various types of wildlife

If the property does not already have an Ag exemption, be aware it will take you 5 years to be granted one (so start inquiring now).

10. Environmental regulations – Check for endangered species in the area which may prevent you from subdividing or developing or building on the property.  Also check for abandoned chemicals or hazardous waste on the property, as it is very common for rural Texas lands to have old trash dumps or burn pits which may contain any variety of chemicals or contaminants.  Should you have to remove such hazards it may be extremely costly due to environmental regulations.

The two primary types of loans used to build a new home in Texas are:

1) Construction-only loan, sometimes referred to simply as a “construction loan” or “standard construction loan”, which is (usually) an interest-only loan with a period of (usually) up to 12 months, after which you will need to apply for an actual mortgage (aka a “permanent” loan) on the finished house.

2) Construction-to-permanent loan, which combines a Construction loan with a Permanent loan so you only apply one time for one loan package, at the beginning of the building process.

By far the most attractive of the two, for most people, is the Construction-to-permanent loan for a variety of reasons.

First, with a Construction-to-permanent loan you only have one closing so you only pay closing costs one time.  With a Construction-only loan you pay closing costs on the construction loan, but you will have to apply for a permanent mortgage when construction is complete, so you pay closing costs again.

Second, with a Construction-to-permanent loan you are usually getting a locked-in interest rate for the final, permanent loan (verify this with your lender).  When you use a Construction-only loan, you are hoping that interest rates do not rise during the 4 to 6 or even 12 months it takes to complete construction, when you will then have to apply for a permanent mortgage.  This is called interest rate risk.

Third, you are eliminating the credit risk you have with a Construction-only loan, which is that something will negatively affect your credit score during the many months it will take to complete construction of your home and then apply for the permanent loan.  With a Construction-only loan, you must not purchase anything on credit that would lower your score, and you must hope that something unexpected does not happen that would cause damage to your credit while your home is being built (such as the death of a partner leading to loss of income or default on credit cards, an illness requiring you to use up your credit, etc.).  This is called credit risk.

Fourth, you only have to apply for one loan, not two.  The loan application process is tedious and painful and requires a lot of time and paperwork, so if you can avoid doing it twice you should.

Fifth, depending on your lender, you can usually roll the cost of the land you are building on into the loan.  

Sixth, your home’s appraisal is done up-front, eliminating the risk that an appraisal done later for a permanent mortgage will be too low.

Since the Construction-to-permanent loan is our preference, let’s look at what the bank will require in the way of documentation and assets (note: this is a general outline, and you may be required to produce more based on your credit or the lender’s guidelines).

General requirements for home loan applications:

  1. 2-6 months of pay stubs
  2. 2 years of W-2 forms
  3. 2 years of tax returns
  4. 2-6 months of bank statements
  5. Employer information and verification
  6. Driver license information
  7. Social Security information
  8. Detail of all debts
  9. Down payment
  10. Cash reserves equal to 6 months of mortgage payments
  11. Proof of any extra income (such as royalties, rents, alimony, disability, etc.)
  12. Contract with a qualified builder or contractor
  13. Plans and specs of house
  14. Draw schedule from your builder