If you are embarking on a home building project, it’s not a horror story keeping you up at night. The villains running through your mind are far more frightening (and expensive!) than any ghouls even Stephen King could dream up. Wayward builders. Unreliable contractors. Irresponsible crews. Missing supplies. Hidden surprises. Budget blow-ups. A dream that turns into a nightmare.

Want to avoid starring in your own dystopian tale? Avoid these 7 common mistakes when building a custom home.

7 Big Mistakes When Building a Custom Home

The 7 deadly sins of building a custom home:

1. Not Preparing Yourself

Being unprepared financially, logistically, and mentally can derail (or at least delay) your results. Make sure your financial and budgetary ducks are in a row. Take the time to research builders and their processes. Get your head around the idea that even with a streamlined build, it takes months to complete your home. It can be an intense experience, but with the right builder, you should feel more excitement than anxiety.

1. Choosing the Wrong Builder

No, that’s not a typo. There are two #1 mistakes that people make when building a custom home. Besides being ill-prepared, going with the wrong builder leads to those sleepless nights we talked about. From shady individuals to shoddy workmanship, this is the stuff of building nightmares. There’s a reason there are entire websites and Reddit subthreads on this topic!

Do your homework: Scour websites, social media profiles, and galleries, check reviews, call references, look at BBB information. Be sure to interview every builder you are considering and ask any and all questions you have. Do they seem knowledgeable and professional? Are they attentive and respectful? Do they listen? Do they communicate in a clear, concise way? If you see any red flags or hear any alarm bells ringing in your head, keep looking. Taking the time now will save you untold time (and money and aggravation…) later.

3. Making Decisions Too Fast – or Too Slow

Decision-fatigue is a real concern for those building a custom home. There are just so many! The great part of a custom home is that you get to choose every element, down to the last light fixture and faucet. The challenge is… that you have to choose every element, down the last light fixture and faucet. You may find yourself making decisions very quickly, even impulsively. On the other end of the spectrum, you may struggle to make those calls and delay with overthinking and second-guessing. Get into the middle. A steady pace is important, and it’s doable with guidance from the pros.

4. Under-Budgeting

This is a biggie on this list of big mistakes. It’s common for homeowners to “forget” about expenses like permits, inspections, or even landscaping. It’s also common to hope for a smooth process without unexpected delays or costs (due to weather, extreme supply chain issues, etc.). G&G hopes for the best – and plans for everything else. Detailed estimates and ongoing discussions guide you so you can develop a realistic budget that works for you, and for your project.

It is also critical to create a contingency fund for the aforementioned unexpected occurrences. Again, we hope they don’t happen, but we’re prepared if they do.

5. Designing a House Without Consulting Your Lifestyle

Watching design shows and perusing home sites is a guilty pleasure for many of us. We’ve all seen show-stoppers that inspire – but should we aspire to them? A home must align with your lifestyle. Think about it like this: How much pleasure will you derive from living in what looks like a magazine spread if it doesn’t really work for you. If it has features you’ll never use and lacks those on which your life revolves? Personally, we want to live at home! Take time to carefully consider your lifestyle (and even that to which you aspire). How will your home empower you to live most fully?

 6. Forgetting About the Community

Home encompasses more than the space between your walls and underneath your roof. It is the entire surrounding area. It may be where you work and walk your kids to school; it may be where you shop, dine, and socialize. It’s certainly where you’ll spend a great deal of time, so enjoying it is a must. The community, its location, amenities, recreational opportunities, and services play a vital role in your quality of life. Whether you want a bustling little neighborhood or you prefer a more rural feel and lots of privacy, make sure to do some research into the community that will be outside your door.

7. Not Speaking Up

If you think something is wrong, just keep it to yourself; your builder knows what they’re doing. If you don’t like an aspect of the design, you’ll adapt. If you have a question about costs or materials, let it go because you’re not an expert. If you’re confused about a building term, certainly don’t sound ignorant by inquiring! If anyone makes you feel this way – or worse, says words to this effect – run, don’t walk, away. (See Mistake #1!) This is not the builder or the team for you. Letting things go, hesitating to ask what you think are “dumb” questions, not seeking clarification (for the first, second, or third time… whatever it takes)… This can cost you. Your input is vital and your questions valuable.

This. Is. Your. House. Speak up. (We’ll hear you.)

Make No Mistake

In G&G’s early days, owner Joe Garcia asked friends to share their building horror stories so he’d know what not to do. What to do was simple: “I start by asking people what they’re looking for; then I price that all into the budget so there are no surprises.” Joe is there every step of the way, working one-on-one with owners so they are always informed, educated, and supported.

We promise: With G&G, you’ll sleep like a baby during your custom home build. Download our Built for Living Guide to learn more about the G&G Difference, our process, and how to get started with your project.