The custom home business is an emotional business. One of the worst risks we run is seeing people disappointed, sometimes very disappointed. The most severe instance resulted in a husband comforting his weeping wife in my office.
Here’s what happened and an explanation of why we approach a custom home the way we do. Thankfully, the couple wasn’t upset at the way we built their home. In fact they couldn’t be, because we didn’t build it.
The couple had spent several vacations in the Olympic Peninsula area and decided to build their retirement home here and start living the “permanent vacation”. They were both very successful professional people and were well organized and planned ahead. They took the same approach to their new custom home endeavor. They sought out, through a friend, a highly respected architect whom they met and made a connection with almost immediately. The architect had designed some wonderfully creative buildings and the couple felt he was more than capable of designing their home.
They didn’t want to compromise on their dream home and didn’t mind making a big financial investment in the design (about $25,000 worth). Without realizing it, they also made a large emotional investment in the home design. This is the investment most people don’t often consider. They envisioned how they would live in the home, how it would make their daily life and avocations that much more fulfilling. They absolutely fell in love with the design, it was perfect. They were excited and couldn’t wait to get started.
So why the tears? The home was never built. They could not afford it.
Combining design along with the budget is very difficult to do, even when you are costing and building homes every day. There are several variables. Methods and rates are constantly changing (besides the fact that no two custom homes are alike).
So why didn’t the couple just scale back on their plan and build something within their budget? We discussed this at length and they never said so, but I think no matter how clever we were in coming up with an alternate design, they would feel as if they were settling. They had made a huge emotional investment in a design that was beyond their budget. They lost the inspiration to build their custom home.
We combine the design with target budgets at each key step in the design process. We start with a target budget range for the home before we start the design. We work with you to develop a complete budget picture by guiding you through a feasibility study that prepares you for costs that are outside of the direct costs of construction. We try to keep you grounded during the design process by keeping you aware of how each design element will affect the budget. We’ll help you explore alternatives by providing separate itemized pricing for features or materials that interest you (how does the cost of quartz stone counter tops compare to granite slab? Hickory cabinets compared to cherry?) The bottom line is the perfect home is the one that is designed for your land, your lifestyle and your budget. Those dream homes get built.
If you have questions about what is included in a feasibility study or how much you need to budget for your home, give us a call.
Estes Builders is an award-winning design build firm that specializes in custom homes in Western Washington. We have earned more than 130 customer testimonials and a reputation as Western Washington’s most trusted custom home builder. We build custom homes in Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Silverdale, Port Orchard and surrounding areas. Contact us for a FREE Project Analysis to discuss your project.