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15 Common Misconceptions About Building a Custom Home

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 12:02 PM

15 Scary Misconceptions (set straight) about building Custom Homes in NC


Misconception #1: One story homes are the least expensive home to build.

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The more square footage there is on the first floor, the higher the cost for typical plans.

The bigger the footprint, the higher the costs are for foundation, roofing, and even framing to support that big roof.  It's most cost effective to go up, rather than out.  A Main Floor Master home can be a good compromise between budget and lifestyle.


Misconception #2: I can save money by using other countertop types in place of granite.

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If you're happy with today's premium laminate options, these remain the most cost effective countertops. 

Want to step up your game?  Granite countertops offer beautiful natural stone that are extremely long lasting.

Butcher block, recycled glass, and stainless steel countertops can cost double or more the cost of granite. 

Quartz is usually about a 50% increase over the cost of granite.

Misconception #3: There’s nothing I can do to change the floor plan other than choosing another floor plan - and I can't find a plan I like.  

If your builder is truly a custom builder, you can make almost endless changes to the floor plan.  Often we solve problems by adding additional rooms, widening hallways, rearranging kitchens and master suites, and even completely redesigning just about anything about the home.

Misconception #4: The exterior of my home will need to look just like the picture.

Custom Home Builders | Raleigh Custom HomesA truly custom home can have a totally different exterior than the one in the photos.

Start by choosing a floor plan you love - and ignore the exterior, if you don't like it!  Stanton Homes can make your home have any design from Craftsman, Traditional, Transitional, Victorian, to Country and many other architectural styles you like best.


Misconception #5: I have to buy a lot before I can build a custom home.

Financial institutions will work with you to wrap your lot loan into your construction loan, so it’s all one easy payment that will roll over into a mortgage.  In many cases, it may be much more beneficial to contract the home and lot together, as some lenders require that a lot be owned for 12 months before equity can be counted.  Talk to your builder and your lender BEFORE you purchase that lot. 

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Misconception #6: The home I want to build is too big for the lot I like, so I’ll have to look for another neighborhood.


Maybe… but we’ll take a look at the lot you like before you make any decisions.

It’s possible that we can redesign your floor plan to fit a lot you love.


Misconception #7: It’s really hard to find a lot for my new home.

Start with the links on our website to some of the communities all over central North Carolina where we can build your custom home. Any unrestricted lot available on MLS can be available for a custom home – and we’ll help you choose one that’s a good fit.


Misconception #8: As long as there are other homes in a neighborhood, the lots that are left should be good to build on.Custom Home Builders | Raleigh Custom Homes

Ask for a builder lot inspection.

Things such as easements, lot characteristics and topography and other factors could impact what and where you can build.

Never buy a lot without knowing (and understanding) the details regarding sewer or septic and water or well.  If the lot has not been "perked" or there is no septic permit on file, discuss with your builder BEFORE you purchase the lot.  And if there is a septic permit on file, show it to your builder - he'll let you know if the system is typical, or more expensive. 


Misconception #9: If I choose a floor plan with less square feet, it should be cheaper to build.

Custom Home Builders | Raleigh Custom HomesCosts are dependent on a great deal of factors, not just square footage.

The number of windows, size and complexity of the kitchen and baths, number of baths, architectural complexity, and even the number of "corners" all affect cost. 

Ask your builder for a full, comprehensive estimate for the home you're interested in - and ask for suggestions for alternate designs that fit your budget.      

Misconception #10: A bigger home costs more per square feet than a smaller home.

The bigger the home, the less it typically costs per square feet.  A lot of factors stay the same no matter what size the home is, especially site costs, permits, and impact fees, among others.  Of course the complexity and style of home still factors in too!  

Misconception #11: Engineered hardwoods are better than site finished hardwoods.

Custom Home Builders | Raleigh Custom HomesThis is a personal decision.

Although engineered hardwoods can start out with a tougher finish, they cannot be sanded down multiple times over the years ahead should you choose to refinish your floors.

Stanton Homes gives you the choice, and we will detail all of the differences to you when you make your selections.

The choice that is selected most often is site finished.

Do be wary though - some builders offer "hardwoods" that are merely laminates, and don't stand up to either engineered or site finished standards!  

Misconception #12: If I add a lot of windows to my home that will make it less expensive, because glass costs less than other materials.

Custom Home Builders | Raleigh Custom HomesWindows can add extra light and personality to a home.

But the more windows, and the more complex the windows are, the higher the overall cost of the home.

Keep in mind too - glass does not keep heat in or out nearly as well as an insulated wall, no matter how good the windows are.   A home with a lot of glass will be more expensive to heat and cool (and likely require a larger and more expensive HVAC unit too). 

Ask your builder for the best ways to get more light into your home, without breaking the bank.   

Misconception #13: I do not have the time or expertise to select good features and finishes  in a custom home.

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With Stanton Homes, a professional designer will work with you to choose your selections with eight extensive design sessions. You will be accompanied to all of the warehouse visits so that every aspect of your home is coordinated.   You can be involved as much, or as little, as you'd like to be in the process - we'll coordinate everything for you if you'd like, or give advice every step of the way.

Misconception #14: It’s really hard to get a construction loan.

New home construction is booming and the banks are backing it. We work with dozens of financial institutions that offer a wide variety of programs, with everything from 5 – 20% down, so we suggest that you call several to see what works best for you.  We'll be happy to provide a full list of lenders! 

Misconception #15: I'm going to need to walk through a home that's exactly like what I want, so I can be sure I'm going to like it.

The only way to walk through a home that's exactly like the one you want to build is to have a home just like everybody else has. But usually that means you're looking at a manufactured model, that's loaded up with high end extras that add a tremendous amount of cost to the "base plan" you won't be able to visualize, anyway. You can get a pretty good idea of how beautiful your custom home will be by taking a look at other homes your builder is creating. Look at lots of photos and ask to take a tour of homes in progress. Ask a lot of questions, and find out what your builder team will do to weave your influence into your new home. If you've chosen a great builder, you'll be excited. 

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