Tolleson’s Tips for Building a Custom Dream Home

May 10, 2024
3 Min read

What we’ve learned after years of working with clients and builders.

Building a custom home can be both an exciting and complex process. At Tolleson, we help families achieve their financial goals through seamless and detailed execution. When planning for a custom build, we work with clients to create financing that is just as customized as their home’s finishes. Our streamlined process leverages years of experience collaborating with clients and builders.

Here are a few best practices that have served our clients well:

Secure Financing

We recommend securing your construction financing upfront, even if you have cash to start the project. Proactive financial planning helps to facilitate a smoother project pace. Custom home projects can span years, so you should select a lender you trust since they will likely be a long-term partner. Look for a lender who actively tracks the process to ensure you do not run out of funds before the home is complete.

Select your Builder

Investigate your builder’s track record, their familiarity with the area where you intend to build, and the scale of homes they have previously constructed. Create a list of questions to ask your builder before hiring. Do not be afraid to ask anything: after all, this is your dream home. As you develop your plans, make sure you understand your builder’s relationships with architects and designers. While collaboration between partners is valuable, maintaining separate roles can prevent future conflicts of interest and help maintain a positive relationship between parties. Make sure you understand the structure of the contract. For example, do they require a deposit to start, and how will that be applied to your project? How do they handle cost overruns? Does their draw process match the bank’s preferred draw process? These questions help to ensure there are no surprises once your contract is signed.

Plan for the Unexpected

Once you have a plan and budget, allocate a generous contingency amount within your loan or set aside personal funds. We recommend designating a minimum of 20% of your budget for unexpected circumstances or changes you make along the way.

Understand what your budget covers, considering both interior and exterior elements. Outdoor landscaping is essential as well as furnishings for your new home. Landscaping and interior design falls outside of your builder’s budget and will require out-of-pocket funds towards the end of the project.

Staying on top of project timelines is important. Delays and cost overruns are common in construction and should be expected. As you plan, take into consideration your current living expenses and the impact a potential delay in your move-in date may have on your finances.

It is also important to secure the proper insurance coverage so that your investment is protected.

Crafting your dream home involves not only bricks and mortar but also thorough planning. At Tolleson, our goal is to work seamlessly with clients through this process. As we help families navigate all things financial, we prioritize a relationships-first approach intended to feel seamless and comprehensive.