The custom-home building process can be more complex than anticipated, with unexpected hurdles along the way. Here are four things owners should understand before starting their projects:

#1- Breaking ground may take longer than you think.
Breaking ground requires a number of administrative tasks to be completed, such as getting floor plans approved by an architectural-review committee, getting the final builder contract, and getting a construction loan from the bank. These hurdles may take longer than planned, pushing your start date back.

#2- Before construction begins, prepare for unexpected expenses not included in the price of the house.
In addition to paying for the land, owners will often pay other expenses before construction can begin, including fees for topographical inventories, outlining the home’s footprint with stakes and tape, architectural review, road-maintenance funds, and septic-system permits.

#3- There are hidden ways to save money along the way.
A number of purchase decisions can help owners stay within their budget, such as buying remnants of granite and quartz for countertops instead of full slabs of stone. You may also find discounts on floor-models of certain appliances, and get discounts on combined kitchen-laundry packages, for example. Planting the landscaping yourselves can also save thousands of dollars.

#4- Ask ahead of time about more cost-effective designs.
Instead of single-mindedly pursuing a dream design, you may want to ask upfront about potential cost-savings. For example, could you choose a floor plan with a smaller footprint, but the same square footage to save on cement and roofing? Could the materials be altered to save money? Asking these questions before construction begins can result in significant cost-savings.

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