There is an ancient proverb that says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” I suppose it’s because I’m a builder, but I can relate to this bit of wisdom. It’s a rhetorical question, of course. Who wouldn’t first estimate the cost?

In reality, it sometimes amazes me to meet with people who are ready to build a new, custom home but have no idea what they want or how much they can spend. Stop right here! It’s crucial, before beginning the design/ build process, to determine what you can afford.
People who need financing assistance should talk to an experienced professional mortgage lender who can help determine what they can comfortably afford. This process will take into account your income, expenses, credit, assets, interest rate, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities.

Sadly, people who begin the design process without first counting the cost often design to their dreams, only to find out later they have far exceeded what they can afford. They end up mad, sad, or extremely frustrated. Instead, we first want our homeowners to realistically determine what they can afford; then we work hard to design a quality, custom home, a complete package that’s 5 to 10 percent below their target number. We know from experience that changes may occur during the building process. For instance, a homeowner may upgrade the finishes as the construction process unfolds, or other variables may arise that would add to the cost of their home. If we start with a number that is below their budget, we can end up at the desired budget.

The bottom line

Know what you can afford before you begin.