The Pricing Process of Building a Custom Home

A question a lot of people have when building a custom home is what the pricing process looks like.  For many, the idea of building a custom home seems daunting and each builder does it a little bit differently.  While there are multiple steps to the process and each step builds on the previous step, the pricing process is an important cog in the wheel.  We wanted to outline what our pricing process looks like to help clarify many of the unknowns!   

Understand Wants, Needs and Expectations

Custom homes are both fun and challenging at the same time.  The reality is that your home builder is essentially building a prototype each home they build.  For that reason, it’s critical to understand expectations – expectations of the builder and expectations of the client.  This is a critical step to making sure that what is priced will attain what you’re looking for (click here to learn more about how to interview a builder).  If your expectations aren’t clear, it’s like driving to a destination that Google hasn’t mapped yet – everything seems to go smooth until you get to the end and you’re in the wrong location.  Equally important is making clear what your wants and needs are.  Different inclusions can change the price of a home significantly, so those are something that we will need to know upfront (walkout basement, exterior insulation, ICF foundation, zoned heating, etc.).   

Price Per Square Foot

What is your price per square foot?  This question comes at us almost weekly and is the most difficult question to answer.  The reality is that most custom home builders don’t have a set price per square foot.  Why not??  Because every house is customized; every house is different.  Every custom home builder will have an average or a recent range and we are no exception, but pricing a custom home is one of those scenarios where, “past performance does not dictate future results”.  Depending on your list of inclusions, the design along with your wants and needs, your home may be within that range or could potentially blow it out of the water.  And that is why the first point is so important.  It’s important to have that initial discussion about wants, needs and inclusions to make sure the build has a chance of coming within budget before you even start.  

Click here to listen to our podcast on The Pricing Process

Design Floor Plans

Once we understand what you expect and we believe we can build what you’re looking for within the price range you want to spend, we start working on concept plans.  Concept plans are essentially basic blueprints.  They have the general layout of the home and exterior design, but lack extensive dimensions and details (i.e. structural, roof, etc.).  Typically, we encourage clients to start looking through floor plans online to see what they like and what they don’t.  From there, we work on combining as many of the elements that you like as we can and start bringing the home to life. Perfecting the concept plans typically takes about 6-8 weeks but we continue working with you directly until they are just right!  

Price Floor Plans

Once the concept plans are completed, we have those converted into construction drawings where we get all the construction details we need to price the home.  This is the point where the pricing really begins!  With the complete details available, we send your plans out for bid and get accurate pricing for all the wants, needs and inclusions discussed.  Additionally, we outline all allowances that will be selected throughout the design phase, so you have an idea of those amounts before you start.  

At the conclusion of the pricing process, we curate a complete and itemized quote where you can see everything that is included in the home.  We aim to be as clear and concise as we can so that there is full transparency on what’s included and gives you the ability to analyze the budget as you see fit.  

Once you’ve had a chance to review and approve the budgeted price, you are then ready to move into the design phase!  The design phase is where all the allowances will be selected, and any additional inclusions can be added (or removed).  The design phase typically takes about 8 weeks to complete and after you have worked with our designer to select all your finishings, you will be provided with an updated and final price.  From there we sign construction agreements, apply for permits and your new custom home begins!


If you are interested in learning more about our entire building process, visit our website and discover Our Process. From there, if you would like to Contact Us to schedule an initial meeting and discuss your next custom home, we would be thrilled to walk with you through that journey!

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