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Creating a Budget for Your Custom Home Build in Lake Oconee, GA

Creating a Budget for Your Custom Home Build in Lake Oconee, GA

When it comes to building a home on a budget, many people assume that custom homes are out of the question. However, building a home can be more affordable than buying an existing structure, even if you choose the custom building route. 

There’s no need to settle for either an existing home or a standard builder-grade floor plan just to stick to a certain home construction budget. The key lies in creating a home building budget that is realistic for you and your family – and working with an experienced design-build contractor who can help achieve your predetermined goals within that budget.

Before you get started, you will need to estimate the potential costs to determine which potential home lots, floorplans, materials, and features are within your budget. We're here to help you gather the information you need to set a budget for a custom Lake Oconee, GA home. If you need more help, we're happy to answer your questions! Let's get started.

Building 101: Main Expenses of Building a House

Each home’s building costs will vary depending on a wide range of factors – everything from the price of lumber during construction to the taxes set by the county will affect the final price. However, there are some basic building blocks that go into every budget regardless of the area or the floorplan. These include:

  • The property or lot where the house will be built

  • Site preparations like grading, leveling, soil compaction, and the installation of any utilities

  • Septic tanks or sewage connections, depending on the area

  • Foundations: Slab vs. crawl space vs. basement

  • Framing, exterior siding, and interior trim package

  • Major systems like plumbing, electrical, and the appliances that connect to them

  • Interior surfaces like countertops, floors, and ceilings

  • Insulation and ventilation, which are essential in a humid climate like Lake Oconee

  • Finishing details like paint, clean-up, and landscaping.

Additionally, all trade partners and vendors will bid out their specific scope of work based on materials, labor, and profit. It’s not as simple as how much does the material cost. A trained professional has to hire and employ a workforce to complete the scope of work. Finally, fees, permits, inspections, and financing costs will also add to the budget.

This is not to overwhelm you, but to help you prepare! Building your dream home is an investment, and the best way to protect that investment is to cross the T's and dot the I's before you jump in.

What Affects a Home Construction Budget

The square footage of the home is the primary factor that determines the budget. Bigger homes cost more to build, especially if you start adding extra floors to keep the footprint smaller. But that’s not all – all the materials that are chosen for the build, right down to the screws and nails, add up. Spending an extra 10 cents per square foot on sheathing could lead to thousands of dollars of extra expenses, adding a summer kitchen with all the appliances and cabinets, or selecting high-end finishes. All these choices have an impact on the budget.

The good news? Working with a professional and experienced design-build contractor drastically diminishes or even eliminates the potential "surprise" costs down the road. An expert team can recommend money-saving changes without compromising the overall quality of the home during the design phase, which is key to staying within your predetermined home-building budget.

Of course, some price fluctuations are beyond anyone’s control. Rising material costs or labor shortages can always affect the construction of a home and cause higher-than-expected costs. However, these issues affect both custom and standard home construction equally!

Do Custom Homes Cost More?

When it comes to customizing a floorplan or starting a new home build from scratch, there’s a common misconception that custom homes always cost more – but that’s a common fallacy that doesn’t play out in the real world. Custom homes are branded to be more expensive because it can be easy to get carried away with features and materials that add up in the end - yet they can also cost less than standard floorplans while giving you more features if you’re careful with your selections.

For example, consider the cost of the floorplans themselves. Many homeowners think nothing of spending as much as $8,000-$10,000 on plans or design work if it’s bundled into the cost of the home. This doesn’t include any alterations or customization to the home. Hidden fees can add up if the homeowner doesn’t fully understand what they are paying for or what is already included in the cost of the home. In contrast, it could cost as little as $5,000 to alter existing plans with a design-build company’s help for a semi-customized home or fully drafted plans from scratch, you may only spend $10,000. If you’re already paying for the architect’s work, why not get a custom design?

This is just another way that working with a design-build contractor to build your custom home can pay off! As opposed to traditional construction methods where designers and various subcontractors hail from different companies, the design-build method houses all expertise under one roof. This lowers (or eliminates!) the likelihood of miscommunication in materials, features, and more – which is a main contributing factor in overage fees and extended timelines for building a custom home.

How Can I Save Money to Build a Custom House?

The main trick in controlling the costs of a custom home design is setting hard limits on features. While anyone would love to own a home with four full baths and a private office for every family member, it’s likely to quickly grow the structure out of your budget. Even small details like upgraded light fixtures or unusual finishes quickly increase the cost. Keeping the home simple and focusing on essential details like an open floorplan or jacuzzi tubs will help you get the custom design you want at a great price.

PAXISgroup has a team of in-house designers that work with you, the homeowner, and our construction team directly to design a home that suits your lifestyle, your needs and wants, and ensures your project is within the budget parameters you set.

Saving for a custom home is just like saving for other big-ticket purchases in life – it's to be done with patience and determination! Investing in a new home is ensuring your family has a place to grow and to live happily, and it's worth the wait. 

PAXISgroup works with a team of preferred lenders that we can recommend to homeowners looking to build a custom home. Once our team sets up a referral, you can work with the financial experts to map out your personalized financing plan.

Ready to Build Your Home in Lake Country, GA?

Prepare for your new life in Lake Oconee, GA by daydreaming about your new custom home design, then giving the team at PAXISgroup a call to bring your vision to reality.

Our experienced design-build team has over 100 years' collective industry experience – we want to be your first choice for top-notch custom home construction to make your dream home come to life. Explore our gallery of homes to get inspiration or contact us today for more information!


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