The Importance of a Detailed Budget when Building a Custom Home


When building a custom home, it’s important to have a detailed budget in place to avoid any unexpected costs and keep your project on track. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand that building a custom home is a significant investment and want to help our clients make informed design decisions.

Planning is a crucial step in home buying as it allows potential buyers to determine their priorities and what they can realistically afford. A detailed budget is essential to any building project, especially for a custom home build.

By planning out their finances, buyers can navigate the complex process of home buying and minimize the potential financial or emotional stress that comes with going over budget. It provides a clear understanding of the costs involved and ensures that the project stays within financial boundaries.

A detailed budget helps to keep everyone involved in the project on the same page and across the financial expectations and goals. It also offers a more accurate timeline of the project and helps identify areas where costs can be minimized. When it comes to building a custom home, our detailed budget processes provide a successful and stress-free building experience.

What does a detailed budget for a custom home build look like?

Budgets, put simply, are financial plans that outline the cost of building a custom home, including all expenses related to materials, labor, permits, and fees. In the context of custom building, budgets are a roadmap to help homeowners make informed decisions and stay on track throughout the building process.

When creating a custom home-building budget, it’s important to consider the cost of materials and labor for your local area. Building costs can vary significantly from state to state, and even from city to city. It’s also important to consider the size and complexity of your home, as well as any additional features or upgrades that you want to include.

Ideally, a detailed budget should also include the funds to cover any unexpected expenses during the building process. This cushion minimizes the effect of going over budget for unforeseen issues or changes for a smoother building journey.

We work with our clients to create a detailed budget tailored to specific needs and design preferences. G.J. Gardner Homes operates through a fixed price scheme that avoids hidden costs, so everything is laid out and explained upfront. Our team of professionals has the expertise and experience necessary to provide accurate cost estimates and help homeowners make informed decisions about their custom home-building projects.

How to budget when building a home:

Creating a budget for your custom home is a critical step in the building process. It allows you to establish financial boundaries and ensure that you can afford the home you desire without any unexpected expenses.

  • Start by listing all the features you want in your home. Be specific about the materials, finishes, and fixtures you desire. Once you have a comprehensive list, research the costs of each item and factor in any labor costs associated with installation.
  • Consider the cost of the land and any site preparation required, such as excavation, grading, and landscaping. You will also need to factor in the cost of permits and any professional services, such as architectural or engineering fees.
  • Factor in a contingency budget for any unexpected expenses or changes in the building process. This additional money should be 10% to 20% of the overall budget.
  • Categorize each cost by phases of construction, such as design, site preparation, foundation, framing, roofing, and finishes. This helps to ensure that you have accounted for all expenses in each phase and avoid any surprises.

Why is it important to make a detailed budget when building a custom home?

A detailed budget provides clarity on the cost of the entire project, from start to finish, and helps to keep expenses under control. Without a clear understanding of the expenses involved, you can end up overspending and experiencing unnecessary financial strain. It is important to consider factors such as the resale value of the home, energy efficiency, and long-term maintenance costs when making these decisions.


What should I do if I go over budget building a new home?

If you find yourself over budget during the building of your new home, the first step is to review your budget and identify where you may have overspent. From there, you can adjust your spending and prioritize your remaining expenses to ensure that the most important elements of your home are completed first. Our team can work with your budget to find any cost-saving measures that can be taken without sacrificing the quality of your home. 

Got any tips to stay on budget when building a new home?

Start by creating a detailed budget and sticking to it. Plan and prioritize your expenses, opting for cost-effective options wherever possible. Our builders can guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions as well as regularly review your budget throughout the project to ensure you are staying on track. 

Where should I cut when budgeting during a home build?

It’s important to prioritize where to cut costs when building a home. Consider cutting back on unnecessary features or amenities, opting for standard materials instead of custom or luxury options, and being flexible with the design to avoid costly changes. 

When building a home, what is the average amount that people go over their budget?

According to recent surveys, people building a new home in the United States typically go over their budget by around 10-20%. If you’ve overspent, you aren’t alone!

Get in touch

At GJ Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of a detailed budget and are here to assist you every step of the way. Contact our friendly team to learn more about how we can help bring your dream home to life within your budget.

Why is Credit Score Important & What Can Affect it?

A contract being handed from one person to another

One factor that directly impacts the home-buying process in the United States is credit scores. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced real estate investor, your credit score plays a crucial role in determining your ability to secure a mortgage and purchase the home of your dreams.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand that navigating the complex world of credit scores and home buying can be overwhelming, and that’s why we’re here to help. By having a solid understanding of what you need to know about credit scores when it comes to purchasing a home, you’re better equipped to make this major purchase. So, whether you’re planning to buy a home in the near future or simply curious about the importance of credit scores in the home-buying process, we’ve got you covered.

What is a credit score?

When it comes to purchasing a home in the United States, one of the most important factors to consider is your credit score. A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, indicating to lenders how likely you are to repay a debt on time. In other words, it is a measure of how reliable you are as a borrower.

In the United States, credit scores typically range from 300 to 850, with the higher the score, the better your creditworthiness. Most lenders consider a credit score of 700 or above good, while a score below 600 is considered poor. However, keep in mind that different lenders may have different criteria for what they consider a “good” credit score.

Does your credit score affect your buying of a home?

Credit scores affect your ability to secure a mortgage. Mortgage lenders use your credit score to determine the interest rate and the loan amount you qualify for. A higher credit score can help you secure a better interest rate and a larger loan amount, while a lower credit score may result in higher interest rates and smaller loan amounts.

Additionally, your credit score may also impact the type of mortgage you qualify for. For example, if you have a lower credit score, you may only qualify for a government-backed loan, such as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, which typically requires a lower credit score but may come with higher fees and mortgage insurance. On the other hand, if you have a higher credit score, you may qualify for a conventional loan, which typically has lower fees and interest rates but requires a higher credit score.

Overall, your credit score is one of the most crucial parts of the home-buying process in America. It impacts your ability to secure a mortgage, the interest rate and the loan amount you qualify for, and the type of mortgage you can obtain. That’s why it’s essential to maintain a healthy credit score by paying your bills on time, keeping your credit utilization low, and avoiding opening too many new credit accounts.

What affects credit score?

With the right financial habits, you can improve your credit score and increase your chances of securing the home of your dreams. Several factors affect your credit score, and it’s essential to understand them to maintain a healthy credit score. The leading factors include:

  • Payment history is one of the most critical factors that affect your credit score. Your payment history indicates whether you pay your bills on time, and late or missed payments can significantly impact your credit score.
  • Credit utilization is another crucial factor that affects your credit score. Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit you are currently using compared to your total credit limit. High credit utilization can lower your credit score, so it’s important to keep your credit utilization low.
  • Length of credit history is also a factor that affects your credit score. The longer you’ve had credit, the better it is for your credit score as it indicates a more established credit history.
  • Credit mix and new credit inquiries can also impact your credit score. Too many inquiries and new accounts within a short period can lower your credit score, so it’s essential to be mindful of how many credit accounts you’re opening and when. The types of credit accounts you have can also impact your credit score. A healthy credit mix of different types of credit accounts, such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages, can improve your credit score.

In summary, several factors affect your credit score, including payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit inquiries. By understanding these factors and maintaining good financial habits, you can improve your credit score and increase your chances of securing a mortgage to purchase your dream home.

What credit score is needed to buy a house?

The credit score needed to buy a house varies depending on several factors, such as the type of mortgage and the lender’s requirements. However, in general, most lenders look for a minimum credit score of 620 or higher to qualify for a conventional home loan.

Keep in mind that a credit score of 620 is the minimum requirement, and having a higher credit score can increase your chances of securing a mortgage with better terms and interest rates. For example, a credit score of 700 or above is typically considered good and can help you qualify for a lower interest rate and a larger loan amount.

If you have a lower credit score, you may still be able to qualify for a mortgage, but you may need to explore other options, such as government-backed loans. For example, an FHA loan may be an option for borrowers with a credit score as low as 500, but it requires a larger down payment and comes with higher fees and mortgage insurance.

Ultimately, the credit score needed to buy a house depends on several factors, and it’s essential to consult with a lender to determine your options. However, regardless of your credit score, it’s important to maintain good financial habits, such as paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization low, to improve your credit score and increase your chances of securing a mortgage with favorable terms.

What affects credit score the most?

Payment history is the factor that affects your credit score the most, as it makes up around 35% of your credit score. Late or missed payments can have a significant impact on your credit score and can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Credit utilization is another crucial factor that affects credit score, as it makes up around 30% of your credit score. Keeping your credit utilization low, ideally below 30%, is essential to maintain a healthy credit score.

To keep a healthy credit score, it’s important to pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization low, maintain a good mix of credit accounts, and avoid opening too many new credit accounts at once. You can also monitor your credit score regularly and dispute any errors on your credit report. By practicing these habits consistently, you can maintain a healthy credit score and increase your chances of securing a mortgage to buy your dream home.

Get in touch

If you’re considering buying a home and want to learn more about your options and how to improve your credit score, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at G.J. Gardner Homes. We’re here to help you navigate the homebuying process and make your dream home a reality. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards homeownership.

Designing a Custom Home on a Tight Budget

Custom homes allow buyers to completely personalize their future homes, with every detail being handpicked. But how do you achieve the unrivaled experience of a custom home without a lavish budget?

A home is usually the most significant purchase an American can make. Still, many of us are building on a budget. The overall cost of designing and building a custom home can vary dramatically. Design choices will have you either saving or splurging.

G.J. Gardner Homes’ customization capabilities offer home buyers the unique opportunity to not just make sure the home reflects their preferences but the price tag does as well. Our clients are empowered to design according to their budget through our wide range of custom fixtures, plans, and details.

What is the cost of building a custom home?

One of the significant benefits of custom home builds is total flexibility, which extends to everything from colorways to costs. The final figure will drastically vary regarding the average cost of building a custom home. A standard 1,200-square-foot home can cost anywhere from $140,000 to $700,000, with Forbes’ most recent home building study claiming an average of $300,000.

This final cost depends on many factors, like labor and land, but when it comes to materials and design features, it’s up to you to name your price through your choices. We have another blog post discussing custom home pricing in more detail, which may help.

The cost of a custom home is an excellent investment you can make in your living arrangements by perfectly personalizing the space to your lifestyle. With a custom home design, you avoid excess costs in the future by starting out with the ideal floor plan, size, and style for your taste. G.J. Gardner Homes offer the ease of fixed prices that are decided by your customization choices before we even break land.

The process of designing a custom home

With decades of building experience, G.J. Gardner Homes has developed a unique approach to custom builds. When working with your local G.J. team, you are supported by unparalleled home building and design expertise, as well as our masterfully crafted home plans. Homes are universal, so G.J. Gardner Homes don’t seek to reinvent the wheel through our processes and make our clients carry the costs. Instead, we draw on our famed frameworks and patterns and adapt them to match your brief.

For new home builders, you can decide how custom you want your home to be. You’re free to choose from G.J. Gardner Homes’ existing home plans, make changes and tweaks to the original design, or go straight to the drawing board and start anew. When making edits to an existing house plan, you avoid overspending on consultation fees for draftspeople, building designers, and potentially architects.

By building custom with G.J., you can still design a home that’s individualized and in line with your preferences without overspending on the architects’ and designers’ fully bespoke home costs. Our custom home design process wants to make your money work harder and lets you invest in features that will make a real difference to your family rather than fees.

How to design a custom home on a budget

So, if you’re designing on a tight budget, here are a few of our custom home-building mistakes to avoid to keep you under budget.

1. Strategically Splurge

Home designs shouldn’t be a matter of all or nothing. In fact, strategic splurging is the best way to get the most out of your money long term. This involves spending big on specific areas to make the most difference in your daily life. Ultimately, skimping on the most crucial home elements will have you paying even more, to replace damages or wear and tear. Where to spend more will depend on your lifestyle, from the kitchen floor to the bathroom fixtures. In turn, elements of your home that are likely to receive less use daily are the best places to save.

2. Home Plan: Stories, Shape, and Size

Size and shape are some of the most deciding factors regarding home budgets. Of course, bigger homes over multiple stories demand more materials to complete and more specialist constructors. These requirements naturally end up costing more.

Tight budgets don’t demand tiny homes but require effective use of space. Building a home that matches your lifestyle without excess spaces that’ll go unused can be a great design choice for those on small budgets. G.J. Gardner Homes’ small home plans prove that square footage doesn’t decide how spacious your home feels.

Regarding stories, keeping your home on one level is often more affordable than extending it to a second. Even if the house ends up being the duplicate square footage, building a home that’s one story tends to be kinder on tight budgets. A single-story home is simpler to build and requires less expertise to build the structure.

3. Materials

One of the most effective areas to save when designing a custom home on a tight budget is the materials you use. G.J. Gardner Homes offer our clients plenty of choices regarding the materials for your home, working with a diverse range of suppliers.

Some of the best materials for custom homes on a budget include:

  • Concrete sheets
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Metals
  • Stone veneer
  • Bamboo

Our G.J. Gardner Homes designers can work with you and your budget to find the perfect solution for your home so you can stay within budget.

4. Location and Land

The cost of living differs from coastline to coastline, so the location will majorly contribute to the final price of your custom home. Not only will certain cities demand higher spending than others, but where you choose to build in that city will also affect the labor costs. Finding a block with easy access for building can majorly impact the prices as well.

Although this is a step in the initial planning stages, where and what type of land you choose to build on significantly impacts the final costs. Considering the impact location and land choice can have let you allocate more to the design features and avoids excess spending on making an unfit plot work.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Custom Home?

If you have been wondering how much it costs to build a custom home, then you have come to the right place!

Custom homes come with the luxury of hand-picked materials, layouts, and styles, to guarantee you match your taste and lifestyle. From floor plan edits to changes to finishes, custom homes allow you to turn your dream home into a reality.

What does it cost to build a custom home?

The short answer: According to the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median price for a custom-built home is around $424,000. The average cost for a built home on the market is 417,700. building a custom home costs slightly more than buying a built home.

However, The total cost of a custom home depends on several variables.

What affects the cost of custom-built homes?

The price of a custom home will depend on how much you customize your home. The more you customize the more the home is going to cost. Let’s break down the main factors that determine the price.


Custom homes allow you to decide what materials will work best. Many materials you see are flooring, finishes, and structural elements. These can vary majorly in the home building industry and cause final project prices to vary.

Finishes and features like marble, stonework, and other rare raw materials increase the costs. They are often higher ticket purchases and they require more care and expertise to install.

Your choice of materials is an opportunity to keep costs down or increase them.


Some builders allow you to choose pre-designed, semi-custom, and fully customizable homes. All three of these build types have varying time frames. A general rule of thumb is that having a longer build process may increase labor costs.

When you build standard and semi-custom homes each design has a set timeline. For example, at G.J. We developed our home designs with decades of home crafting, allowing us to offer set timelines.

When you choose a fully custom home, your timeline varies significantly depending on how much of your build process you have finished. Having land ready to go and having an idea of what you want makes the process much faster. Other factors like size and finishes also make a world of difference.


The price of your home will simply reflect its size. Bigger homes require more materials and labor than smaller homes. In conclusion, the cost to build a custom home will depend on the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas you’re looking to build and the overall square footage.


The price of everything varies dramatically across the country, and homes are no exception. The final cost will depend on your state, proximity to urban centers, and access to materials and labor.

The range of factors that can impact the final price of a custom home just shows the endless possibilities you have when customizing. While it may cost more, a custom home also comes with ample benefits.

Why build a custom home with G.J. Gardner Homes

G.J. Gardner Homes are distinguished for their experience and expertise we make it easier to get everything you want in a home without all the extra costs and mistakes.

With standard plans, semi-custom and fully custom packages on offer, you can find a home-building journey that works with your preferences and goals.

Our homes are the product of hundreds of hours of professional input as we’re committed to creating spaces that are a joy to live in. Experience every detail of your home before it’s built with our 3d planning available during the design phase. With no detail missed, G.J. Gardner Homes is ready to ensure your custom home is everything you imagined.

Get in Touch

Are you looking to discover more about the custom home-building experience? Our friendly G.J. Gardner Homes team is here to help. If you don’t know where to start, have land already, or are anywhere in between, our new home consultants are ready to work with you. Find your nearest showroom here.