Even if you’re planning to build a custom home in Connecticut, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to pay attention to your building budget. In the 37 years that we’ve been building homes around Wallingford, we’ve never had a client tell us that the cost of his or her home didn’t matter.
And yet, time and again we’ve seen homeowners surprised when they go over budget on their new home. How does that happen?
What’s interesting is that it’s not the “big” stuff that gets people in trouble. Most people don’t build a 4,000 square foot home when their budget can only accommodate a 2,800 square foot home. More often than not, it’s the little stuff that adds up to be the culprit.
One of the distinctives of a custom home is that it tends to have some personal touches. If you plan for those up front and budget for them, you’ll be fine. There are no big surprises. But sometimes homeowners fall in love with a feature or a paticular material that they just “have to have.” The problem is that they haven’t budgeted for it up front.
For example, recycled or distressed wood has become quite popular with some homeowners. If you saw a home you liked on houzz.com (which is a great site, by the way) and decided you had to have that look in your kitchen, you could end up adding a significant amount to the cost of construction. Finding workable material and working with it takes time. It’s a lot more complicated than using standard building materials, so it will cost more. It can be a beautiful look, but if you didn’t plan for it up front, it may blow your budget out of the water.
A number of the homes we build (such as the Maltby in Bridgewater) feature fireplaces in the great room. It’s a nice personal touch. But if you decide you want to rock in the fireplace with stone quarried from the local area (a really personal touch) you can be looking at a hefty surcharge. Again, it may be a beautiful addition, but that “little” change can cost you significantly.
The same thing can happen if you upgrade your kitchen cabinets or your master bathroom flooring. Individually, changes like this might not push your budget too far out of whack. But when you start adding them together, they can really add up quickly.
So take your time as you review floor plans. Find a plan that best fits your lifestle and budget. And if you want to make modifications to the plan or the materials, do your research up front (and talk to your builder because sometimes builders have access to materials that you may not have). Make sure your budget can accommodate those changes before you begin building.
Because nobody likes having a surprise when it’s time to write the final check!