Biggest Mistake To Avoid When Building a Custom Home In Utah County

Biggest Mistake To Avoid When Building a Custom Home In Utah County

When you talk with friends and family who’ve gone through the custom home building process, their experience probably ranges somewhere between, “It was amazing! It’s exactly what we wanted!” and “It was the worst experience ever! I never want to do that again!” What causes some people to love the experience and others to hate it? 

As discussed in a previous blog post, working with the right custom home builder plays a huge role in your overall satisfaction. However, making the mistake discussed below can set your project up for failure regardless of who your builder is. What’s the biggest custom home building mistake to avoid?

The Biggest Mistake: Choosing Your Builder AFTER You’ve Bought Land & Worked With An Architect

Yes, it’s true - the best-known, most commonly followed progression in the custom home building process is no longer the best way to approach your project. Let’s break why this approach is problematic and the benefits of choosing your builder BEFORE you buy land and work with an architect. 

Why Is This Problematic?


Finding the right piece of land to build on goes beyond square footage, location and cost. There are dozens of other considerations, such as: zoning, average home value around your lot, future developments that could increase/decrease your lot’s value, how much preparation would be needed before building, utility accessibility, and much more. 

Most buyers don’t have the time/energy to research all of these factors, making it easier to get enticed by a low price tag in a seemingly great location. When after-the-fact they find out about the “extra” time and cost needed to prepare the land to build, many buyers ditch their new home plans and put the lot back on the market. 

The Design Process

When you hire an architect first without also hiring your builder to work alongside them, you risk the architect creating a design that is unrealistic within your budget. Many people fall into the trap of dreaming too big and designing a custom home that isn't practical within their budget. 

When your builder and architect are working together, the builder can provide feedback throughout the design process and ensure a successful project. They'll be able to advise the architect on the updated cost of materials (extremely important in 2021!) and other costs that architects might not be aware of. This approach doesn't mean you can't get the custom home you've always dreamed of; it ensures that you don't get too far sidetracked and lost in the clouds. Smart builders and architects will work with you to understand your primary goals and identify which areas of the home are worth splurging on and which you can afford to reduce costs on.

The Bidding Process

When customers bid out their project to multiple builders, the lowest price is almost always a key point of differentiation they look for. The reasoning goes, “If the builder is simply executing our design, we should choose the most affordable option.” 

We’ve discussed the pitfalls of this approach in our other blog post, “How To Find The Best Custom Home Builder in Utah County”, but let’s reiterate one of the key points. 

  • It’s nearly impossible to get apples-to-apples bids - Multiple, time-consuming steps are required just to ensure you’re getting a true “apples-to-apples” bid.
    • You’ll need highly detailed plans from your architect with little room for interpretation. These highly detailed plans often come at a premium price. 
    • You’ll need to clarify your goals and expectations with each builder. This means discussing the specific materials you want in every room and space, finishes and fixtures, and much more. 
    • Even if you take these steps, you also have to account for differences in quality from builder to builder. This includes craftsmanship, communication, project management, warranty, and much more. 

Needless to say, choosing a builder based on price is not the best strategy for a successful project. 

Vineyard Bathroom


The Benefits of Choosing Your Builder BEFORE You Buy Land and Work With An Architect 

  1. Get expert help in identifying the right piece of land to build on based on your goals and their local knowledge. 
  2. Ensure that your custom home can be built within budget by having your builder and architect work side-by-side.
  3. Save time and energy by avoiding the misleading, confusing bidding process.  


Want To Talk About Building A Custom Home In Utah County?

We’d be honored to talk with you about your project. Give us a call at 801-803-8931 or fill out a contact form on our website.

Guide to Choosing a Custom Home Builder in Utah

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