How We Build a Budget

“How much will my custom home cost?” You deserve a straight answer to that question.

Some other contractors work on a cost plus basis or “allowances”, shifting all the price risk to the client. We don’t believe that’s in your best interest. You rely on us as the experts, and you expect expertise in cost estimating. That’s why we provide a guaranteed cost quotation when the plans are done. Once work begins that price won’t change.

Our ability to do this is built on long experience and great systems, including:

  • Decades in the business. With hundreds of custom homes built on every type of lot under our belts, we know what things cost and how long a particular plan will take to build.
  • A thorough design process. We don’t break ground until the plans are complete and you have chosen all the products that will go into the home. You know what the home will cost, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
  • Smart purchasing. Our purchasing power applies to materials and labor. As a volume buyer we can purchase materials for less than the average custom home builder. And the trade contractors and suppliers we work with all understand our fixed-price business model: they know that we will negotiate firm purchase orders with them, and that the prices can’t rise once work starts.
  • Proven production systems. We constantly review and refine our systems for getting your home built in the most efficient manner, with no wasted materials and labor. This culture of ongoing improvement allows us to hit our cost target on every job. If we do run into an unforeseen problem, it’s on us to solve it.

Here’s what to expect during the budging process.

The Budget Process

Think of the budgeting process as a funnel, with the choices you have to make narrowing as you move towards the end.

We start by generally defining the style and size home you want, including the general types of finishes. Then we do an initial site visit, and sketch out a concept with an approximate square footage.

At this point we can give a preliminary price range based on costs of similar homes we have built in the past.

From there the funnel narrows, as you choose specific layouts and products for different parts of the house. In fact we will work closely with you to keep you informed on how each choice affects the budget. The final budget number will be one that you will helped build.

How We Manage the Variables

There are three primary cost drivers you need to keep in mind during this process:

  1. The building site.
  2. The home design.
  3. The product specifications

The Site. All sites are not created equal. In fact a difficult site (a steep slope for example) can raise the budget by as much as 30%. That makes a detailed site analysis imperative. This includes an analysis of things like costs for site development and utilities, as well as how the site will affect the construction schedule. Then we figure out the most efficient way to work with the particular site. This helps us provide you with a more complete budget picture.

The Design. A benefit of our team approach to design is that we update the budget as we move down the funnel. Your design concept will be developed alongside the investment target with current and accurate cost information.

Among the most important design variables are the home’s structural complexity and footprint. The more complex the structure the more it will cost to build. As an example imagine two homes with the exact same square footage and 9-foot-high walls. The home with a complex roof and several wall bump-outs will cost more to build than the one with a rectangular footprint and a simple roofline.

The Specifications. During the planning process, we work with you to develop a list of every product that will go into the home – the product specifications. You will most likely consider different alternatives for each part of the house – granite versus synthetic countertops for example – and we provide comparative prices for each.

Material selection can also impact labor costs. The time and expertise it takes to install shingle siding, for example, is going to be much higher than that of horizontal clapboards.

When the planning is done, we provide you with a final guaranteed quotation. You know the cost of your new custom home before we excavate for your foundation.

We call that peace of mind. Get started with a free Project Analysis.


The design has turned out to fit our lifestyle just right.


The plans were drawn better in one week than another designer/builder did in two months.


From the start of this process to the completion, it has been fun.


Our sketches and ideas were translated into a viable floor plan, and adapted perfectly to the slope of the lot


Your in-house design team made it a snap with their knowledge and expertise


Estes took care of things that we didn't even think of.


We have a “showplace” home delivered on budget and on time. We could not have asked for more.


Honesty, integrity and genuine interest to listen.


Our home was completed on time with no surprises.


Each of our concerns was yours too. Once again Thank You for this endless consideration


My mother in Ohio loves checking up on our home via the website! What a good idea!


We have a "showplace" home delivered on budget and on time. We could not have asked for more.


Exceptional choice, quality, delivery, service and value describe our experience with Estes Builders


Our Locations



Serving: Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Port Ludlow

259003 Hwy 101
Sequim, WA 98382




Serving: Bainbridge Isl., Kingston, Silverdale, Port Orchard & Gig Harbor

19255 Powder Hill Place - Suite 100
Poulsbo, WA 98370