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How to Build a Quality Custom Home on a Budget

We all have a budget, and if you think you can’t build a quality custom home within yours, we’re here to tell you that you absolutely can! “Custom” doesn’t always have to mean the most expensive. With careful thought and planning, you can build and live in a beautiful custom home in Grand Rapids or West Michigan, no matter your budget.


Building a Budget-Friendly Custom Home


1) Prioritize what’s most important to you. 


When you think of home, there are probably a handful of features that you would absolutely LOVE to have, and 1 or 2 that you absolutely MUST have. Prioritize what is most important to you and allocate the money in your budget for it, then determine where you can spend less. For example, if you MUST have solid flooring throughout the home instead of carpet to minimize allergies, then you can opt for a gorgeous laminate kitchen countertop instead of granite. Don’t feel like you have to give up on your wish list to stay within your budget!



2) Stick with included features and finishes.


Many home builders offer a list of included features and finishes in every floorplan. We use this as a starting point for pricing. While many customers will upgrade items like flooring, countertops, and fixtures, opting for the already-included ones will keep your costs down. Mind you, the included features are very nice! They’ve been selected by a professional designer so that even at the most basic cost level, your home will turn out beautifully. Plus, even with included features there are color and finish choices, so that you can still customize your home to reflect your personal style.


3) Opt for a simple home design. 


A home with a very simple roofline and a square or rectangular footprint will be the most cost effective to build. With every roofline change (this is known as a “pitch”), the cost of design, materials, and labor increases. You can always create more curb appeal with landscaping, exterior lighting, and front porch decor — and you can add these over time as your budget allows.


4) Scale down.


A small home doesn’t have to mean a cramped home. Even our smallest floorplans are carefully planned and built to maximize interior square footage. Floorplans of all sizes can feature open-concept designs, kitchen islands, owner’s suites, closet storage, and much more. And if you really need the space, it’s often less expensive to build up (2 stories) rather than build out (1 story). 


5) Include energy-efficient everything. 


If you are building within a budget, chances are you are also living within a budget (aren’t we all!). Cut down on your monthly expenses by choosing as many energy-efficient appliances and systems as you can. They may cost slightly more on the front end, but they quickly pay for themselves as you save on energy costs. Heartland Builders offers many energy-efficient systems as included features, such as: 


  • Zip Wall Sheeting for a superior weather resistant barrier
  • R-22 Open Cell Foam wall insulation to help regulate indoor temperature
  • Low-E glass and Argon Gas windows to block the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Top-of-the-line furnace
  • Water saving faucets
  • Duo flush toilets
  • LED lighting
  • 3rd-party energy test for air tightness


6) Hire a home builder with a proven process.


The more efficiencies there are in the building process, the less money and fewer materials a builder wastes during construction. Heartland Builders’ process is proven, but it’s also fast, easy, and fun! Whether it’s 3D imaging so you can see your home before we break ground, or our communications and reminder system, we incorporate technology throughout our process to reduce human error and save time. 



Interested in learning more? Get in touch. We’d love to talk numbers, walk you through our process, and show you how it can be done!