Information and advice on the home construction process in Dallas, Texas.

Designing a custom home can be overwhelming, to say the least. From hardware finishes to wall paint, landscaping, windows, flooring, and more, there is an infinite number of options to choose from. And while that is, of course, the whole idea behind a custom home, it doesn’t make it any less challenging to wade through the details and narrow down your selections – especially if you’re new to the process.

So, what’s the solution? Do you simply go with the builder recommendations and settle for a carbon copy of the neighbor’s layout? Or do you fully embrace the stress and decision process in order to get what you really want?

Well, it turns out that there’s a middle ground and it entails hiring an interior designer.

Now, if you’ve never considered a designer or aren’t really sure what it is they do or if they’re worth the money, fear not. Today, we’re breaking down exactly what to expect when working with one, and we guarantee it’ll make that decision just a little bit easier for you to manage. Because when it comes to a custom route, we want you to get it right with the least amount of stress possible.

What does an interior designer do?

At a basic level, interior designers guide you from start to finish in the custom home building process, helping you achieve your ideal style, all while staying within your budget and keeping your goals at the forefront of the design. They’re different from the builder in that they are not working exclusively with the structure itself, but also taking into account how you want to use each space – all the way down to your choices in furniture and decor. Whether you have a spacious home office at the top of your “must-have” list, or you need to prioritize your growing family and your love of entertaining guests, an interior designer keeps your specific needs in mind and can make recommendations that will dramatically improve the layout and experience of your custom home.

How much does it cost?

The cost of an interior designer ranges dramatically, depending on the designer you use and the level of service they provide. Most designers will offer a range in their service levels, starting with project consulting and moving all the way up to full-service design work. Project consulting is usually reserved for small design challenges such as choosing paint colors or a furniture layout in a space. Full-service design work is the start-to-finish process that likely comes to mind when you think of interior design; a designer will run point on your entire project from the construction phase through to selecting your furnishings. 

The fee structure can be hourly or charged as a flat fee, but regardless of the method, you can expect to pay a “designer fee” for their expertise on top of the cost of any furnishings or decor. This can range anywhere from $1,000-2,000 all the way into the $10,000 + range. The reason behind the wide variety of charges, of course, is experience. The more veteran a designer is, the higher their hourly rate or flat fee will be. However, while you may be paying more, you’re also receiving top-notch service and they’ve spent their entire careers perfecting the design process, so it’s truly a hands-off and stress-free experience. 

What are the benefits?

Having an interior designer working alongside you every step of the way typically makes the custom home building process much smoother in the long run. Not only do they take the lead from a project management standpoint, but they also help to eliminate the overwhelm when it comes to selecting the right elements for your home. In a full-scale design situation, they work with you first to understand your lifestyle needs and the home styles you tend to gravitate towards. Then, they help you to stick to that goal as you progress through the entire custom building process. Rather than getting distracted by another shiny new finish, they keep you rooted in what you actually want, and take the vast majority of work off your plate. Plus, hiring an interior designer ensures that you won’t pay double for mistakes down the road like buying furniture that isn’t to scale or choosing flooring that doesn’t meet the needs of your busy family.

What are the drawbacks?

Aside from the high cost of hiring an interior designer, designers aren’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. If you’re the type of person who really enjoys a more hands-on approach and actually wants to be a major player in the custom building process, then having a designer on your team could be a detriment. It might feel like too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Additionally, you have to be very intentional about which designer you choose. Every designer has their own style, and it ranges drastically from ultra modern and minimalist to traditional and vintage-inspired. If you select a designer only for their cost structure, for instance, you may end up with someone whose design style is in complete opposition to your own (and you could hate the final product as a result).

What should I look for when hiring a designer?

This brings us to our next point: hiring an interior designer is a process. You absolutely want to avoid simply choosing a designer based on a single factor alone. Take the time to really vet your options before signing a contract. Price, naturally, is a top consideration. After all, you need to stay within your budget to build a successful custom home. But in addition to this, you’ll want to dig into each designer’s portfolio. Do their designs make you swoon? Or do you find yourself muttering “not my style” under your breath while viewing each photo? While designers do work for a wide range of clients with all different styles, they tend to have a “type” that they prefer to design for, and a quick look through their website and portfolio will tell you all you need to know. 

Beyond a designer’s style, you may want to have a call or consultation with several to determine if they are a good fit for you personality-wise. It may seem unnecessary, but remember that the custom home process is lengthy and there can be a lot of emotions wrapped up in each decision. You want to work with someone who not only has your best interests in mind, but also with someone you feel comfortable working with (even if things get a bit tricky or complicated).

Finally, don’t forget to take into account a designer’s experience in the industry. Newbies who have just started their careers can absolutely create stunning work, but sometimes they are a bit too green to take on a massive custom home project. It may be better to go with a designer who has a thick portfolio of work and a seemingly endless list of positive reviews from past clients. You’ll need to assess your comfort level with this.

A custom home is an amazing route to take in the DFW area – especially when you can choose exactly the finishes that you know will make you and your family happy for years to come. But before you take on the entire load alone, make sure you at least consider hiring an interior designer. It may make the process seamless and enjoyable rather than stressful and time-consuming. And as long as you follow this list of considerations when making that decision, you’re sure to end up with a designer who fits your style to perfection.

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by: Wild Bill, aka The Texas Authority

Quick summary for y’all transplants to Texas:  If you’re thinking about building a house here, watch out for the Homeowner Associations.  They are everywhere, and that’s part of what makes Texas great.  Keeps the riff-raff out.

Unless you’re building out in the sticks, your property and home are likely governed by an HOA.  And, there’s likely to be a group of neighbors who run that HOA and can be, let us say, exacting in their expectations.

BTW, I have been the President of my HOA in Texas for the past 20 years.  I’ve been an accountant and financial advisor and CFO for literally hundreds of Texas businesses and business owners, and I’ve been involved in local, state, and national politics and a provider for my family for over 50 years here in Texas.  It’s a great place to live, so lean on me and listen up.

The background of the HOA

Homeowner Associations evolved as America evolved, coming out of World War II.

The concept of a “planned community” in America began to blossom after World War II with the development of Levittown, NY, on Long Island, which was developed primarily for veterans returning from the war as a place to live.

The community was designed with uniform construction standards and a loose-knit set of rules to govern the activities of its residents.  The success of this model became popular as residential developments increased over the decades and America’s residential housing market grew by leaps and bounds through the last half of the 20th century.

With the growth of suburbia came the increasing formalization of these residential property arrangements into legal organizations, which have today come to be known as Homeowner Associations.

Today in Texas there exists a body of laws known as the Texas Property Code, which governs the powers and limitations of these entities. 

Since homeowners typically subordinate many of their property rights to the Covenants and Restrictions of the underlying Homeowner Association, it is prudent to step lightly into the world of HOAs.

If you want to build a custom home in Texas, the existence of these kinds of restricted residential developments is a major factor to be considered.

Are you comfortable with property restrictions?

The answer to this question will determine whether you choose an HOA community—or not. Residential property owners tend to divide into two groups on this question:

The first group enjoys the unfettered freedom to choose.  Their point of view is that their residence is private property, subject only to their own individual tastes and desires.  Their independent nature, akin to the Texas mentality, asserts that a person’s home is their castle and therefore not subject to anyone’s rules or restrictions.  

Consequently, if they want to paint their front door lime-green and use a busted toilet as a planter on their front porch, they can do it..  If they want to park their riding lawnmower in the front yard and their first family car in the backyard, they can do that.  It’s their property!

The fundamental concept of an HOA is probably not for these people.

The second group, perhaps being at a different place in their lives, perceives that the ambiance of their living environment depends to a large extent on the housekeeping proficiencies of their surrounding neighbors. 

Committed to the upkeep of their own residence, they welcome the idea of a uniform set of rules in their community–and the ability to enforce them.  To them, it’s important that all residences be kept in good repair;  it’s important that the overall appearance of the neighborhood be pleasant—even delightful; and, that the usage be restricted to residential only.

HOAs have their advantages in this respect.

Since these two groups obviously don’t mix well in a residential setting, under current Texas law the Property Code sets up the mechanics of a quasi-governmental entity designed to give the second group exactly what they want.

A Homeowner Association can set standards for its entire community and thereby define architectural specifications, behavioral limitations, and penalties for a variety of deviations. 

Through the legal instrument of Deed Restrictions, part of the contract in any HOA-governed community, the association can require every property owner to subrogate their rights to the association’s Articles of Covenant thereby ensuring an enforceable standard of uniformity for the whole neighborhood.

So, in searching for the ideal location for your custom-built home, in Texas, you have two clearly defined options:   To HOA or not to HOA.  The choice is yours, and welcome to Texas.

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When building your custom home, landscaping may be the last thing on your mind. Considering all of the decisions that go into the interior of your home, it’s fairly easy to push it aside for a later time. But before you shelf the world outside your windows, you may want to at least come up with a gameplan in time for planting season.

Every area of the country, of course, has its own unique climate, and North Texas is no exception. So when it comes to your landscaping, you don’t want to start planting any old tree or flower on a whim. Getting the right mix of plants – and ideally perennial plants native to Texas – that will survive and thrive in the heat and in the proper soil is a must. Not only does it ensure the health of the plants themselves, but it also helps to establish your own peace of mind. And trust us when we say that a self-sustaining landscape design is worth every second of planning. In the long run, it’s far less work and it allows your home to blend in with its natural surroundings.

Large-Scale Trees & Shrubs

Perhaps the most maintenance-free of plant choices, trees and shrubs offer both shade and a variety of visual height and silhouettes to bring your custom home to life. Our state tree – pecan – is an obvious starter choice since its wide-spreading branches offer shade and an added bonus of fresh pecans right in your own backyard. Additionally, oaks and maples are great shade trees to plant given their hardiness in high heat climates and their vibrant autumn colors. For ornamental trees that add an infusion of color and sweet-smelling blooms to your yard, you can’t go wrong with crape myrtle, yaupon holly, Texas mountain laurel, or magnolia.

Ideal shade shrubs include boxwoods, hydrangea, yews, and Rose Creek abelia – many of which produce a show of flowers each year. For full sun areas, stick to junipers for added height and nandinas and Purple Diamond loropetalum for a splash of pink and purple in your garden.

Flowers

It’s always a good idea to add a bit of color into the mix, and given our sun-soaked land here in Texas, there are endless species available to use. Generally speaking, you want to layer your flowers in a way that balances things visually. Keep the higher-growing plants towards the back of your garden and the lower ones in front so each gets its chance to shine (and you don’t miss out on the array of gorgeous colors that will bloom). 

Salvia adds a beautiful purple color into the mix, is incredibly hardy, and keeps pests away while inviting an array of butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden. For show-stopping blooms, you can opt for hibiscus (Lord Baltimore or Moy Grande) or rose (Belinda’s Dream or Knock Out); both are larger than life and a lush tropical aesthetic to your landscaping. And of course, for flowers with ultra-fragrant and colorful blooms, be sure to pepper in some gold star esperanza, Fourth of July roses, Mexican plum, or sweet white violet. 

Groundcover

Groundcover plants, while not essential, are excellent landscaping options – especially if you’re looking to fill empty spaces or provide a layer of texture to your lawn. They also help to create a healthy environment for surrounding plants since they act as “rain gardens” of sorts, soaking up any excess hydration and preventing larger plants from being overwatered. They also serve to minimize weed growth and halt erosion and soil damage.

A few go-to groundcovers we love that provide a nice lush green color include straggler daisy, cedar sedge, silver ponyfoot, and horseherb. For groundcover plants that add a touch of color, consider incorporating primrose, phlox, or verbena.

Grasses

Of course, choosing the right grasses for your custom home’s landscaping is a must as well. Grasses can, admittedly, struggle to survive in North Texas for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the soil is not well-maintained or does not drain properly (and this is especially the case for custom home lots that have seen massive soil compaction during the building process), so getting the right balance of nutrients is essential. Other times, people plant the wrong grasses for the level of sun or shade that their lawn receives each day. Different species of grasses will thrive in different environments, so you’ll want to choose the right one so you don’t have to replace it a short time down the road.

In general, grasses that thrive in full sun include Bermuda grass and buffalograss. Partial shade grasses to consider include St. Augustine and Zoysia. Shade grasses are a bit more difficult to grow, but there are several species that do well overall in these areas. These include Mondo grass, fescue, and bluegrass. You can also opt for more ornamental grasses to add some height and texture to your garden; zebragrass, purple fountaingrass, pampasgrass, and inland sea oats are excellent candidates.

Whether you are drawn to the larger silhouettes of trees and shrubs, prefer a burst of color in your garden, or enjoy the simplicity of a grass-filled lawn, getting the right landscaping for your custom home is an incredibly important step in the building process. Because as thrilling as it may be to see your home come to life within its four walls, without a strategically-placed mix of plants, it will feel stark, empty, and completely void of curb appeal. And while landscaping is certainly lower on the list of items to complete, it’s something you definitely don’t want to skip.

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Today, we’ll be giving you an overview of the more significant differences between advanced framing techniques and traditional framing techniques. We’ll look at some of the pros and cons of each type of framing method, and help you determine why you might choose one (advanced!) over the other. So, let’s get started!

Advanced Framing and Why it is Better

Advanced framing is a green building strategy which uses a renewable resource (lumber) with maximum efficiency to achieve both cost savings and environmental sustainability. 

Also called optimum value engineering, it is a framing construction technique for homes that both reduces materials used and achieves a higher degree of energy efficiency vs. traditional framing. Homes built with advanced framing are structurally sound, provide more flexibility for interior design and wall placement, and generally require less labor and material costs when compared to homes constructed with conventional framing techniques.

The Biggest Difference

The most impactful difference between advanced and traditional framing methods involves the spacing of support members in the frame.  Advanced framing uses 2″x6″ vertical studs spaced 24″ apart, while traditional framing uses 2″x4″ vertical studs spaced 16″ apart. 

Because the spacing between the studs is both wider and deeper, advanced framing both reduces material usage (by about 30%) and creates additional spacing for insulation (roughly 50% more).

The added wall-cavity space allows more and better placement of insulation and minimizes the chance of insulations voids, which allow heat and cold to pass through the walls, reducing efficiency.

Additionally, the use of 2″x6″ vs. 2″x4″ lumber allows more space for more insulation and more efficient placement of insulation in corners, headers and around window and door frames.

The Best Difference (in our opinion)

In addition to improved energy and materials efficiency, perhaps the best advantage of advanced framing methods vs. conventional methods is flexibility in wall placement, which adds flexibility to design options.

Conventional framing methods require load-bearing walls throughout the house to support the structure and maintain balance. Homes framed using advanced techniques provide more flexibility to the architect/designer, as they do not require load-bearing walls to support the structure (this is usually true, but can vary with different house designs).

With an advanced framed structure your designer is free to place or not place the walls at all, because the structural wood panels, posts, beams, and trusses  do all the work to support the entire structure.

A final note in closing:  There is one component of advanced framing techniques that adds cost vs. some conventional framing methods.  That is, in order to achieve the structural integrity necessary to support the structure, advanced framing requires the use of structural wood panels in its construction.  While this is also an added energy barrrier which increases energy efficiency, depending on the cost of lumber at the time you build this may offset other materials cost savings provided by advanced framing techniques.  Also, please be aware there are a variety of other nuances and techniques which can be incorporated in advanced framing, with additional benefits not detailed in this article.  What we have covered here are the most obvious differences, so be sure to discuss any additional elements available with your architect, designer and builder.

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Did you know finishing your attic can increase the value of your custom home in Dallas, while also providing additional living or recreational space and utility?

There are many ways you can transform an unfinished attic into a living space. We’re going to discuss a few of those fun ideas while sharing some of our tried-and-tested tips to help you build out your attic space with minimum hassle. 

Things You Can Make Out of Your Attic Space

Guest Bedroom

Need a spare bedroom for your friends and family? The attic is the perfect spot to construct one. You can even build a small and functional attached bathroom to ensure your guests’ comfort. 

Library

If you love reading and collecting books you can remodel your attic space into a compact library. Make sure you utilize space efficiently to maximize shelving for your literary treasures.

Playroom

Unless your kids are genetically engineered to be neat, they are likely to be messy.  Many parents would love to provide them a space to explore their creativity, and converting your attic into a lively playspace is an excellent way to contain their chaos.

Home Office

No space left for your home office while building a custom home in Dallas? Don’t worry. You can utilize your attic space to construct one where you can work from home without any disturbance. 

Sun Room

Yes, you can also convert your attic into a bright and beautiful sunroom. Install skylights and large windows, and invest in comfortable seating to soak up the sun. Add a few plants to make your place look more tropical and relaxing.

Home Theatre

Get a large TV or projection screen, install theater seats or add bean bags, and grab the popcorn. Yes, transform your attic space into a home theatre that you or your family members and friends can enjoy day or night. 

Now that you know some of the fun things you can turn your attic into, it’s time to have a look at a few tips you should consider before you start a custom attic building project in Dallas. 

10 Tips to Consider When Constructing the Attic for Your Custom Home in Dallas

1. Make Sure Your Attic Meets Local Building Codes

Don’t even think about converting your attic space without pulling a permit. It will become trouble for you to resell your home without a permit. To apply for a permit, you need to get your attic project designed and approved by a licensed architect. 

Even if you plan to remodel your attic by taking a DIY route, you should get some paperwork done by the pro to avoid future hurdles.

2. Have a Larger Staircase and Landing

Attics designed to store boxes and leftover stuff do not require a larger staircase and landing. But when you plan to transform them into a living space, you need to consider adding both. The stairs should be wide enough to accommodate furniture, while the landing should have enough space to handle the top-turn of the stairs.

3. Have Your Heating and Ventilation Needs Covered

The next critical step is to check the capacity of your HVAC unit. Bring an electrician to see if your current HVAC system can handle the load of another room. If not, you may have to get additional ductwork done or add a new unit. If you’re on a tight budget, you may consider investing in a multi-split system.

4. Keep the Cost Factor in Mind

According to Home Advisor, the average cost of an attic upgrade is $49,438. But it depends on your project requirements and the custom elements your project includes. If you’re taking a DIY route, while you may save a lot on labor costs you should still budget for your attic upgrade in your custom home building budget, to cover other expenses you may have to bear to convert the attic. 

5. Call in an Expert for a Structural Analysis

Keeping your attic space for storing Christmas decorations doesn’t need you to think about the floor capacity. But when you expect your floor to hold furniture and people, then this aspect becomes more crucial than ever. You can hire an expert structural engineer or a contractor to conduct a structural analysis of your custom construction. They can guide you through the steps you can take to enhance the capacity of your attic space to support heavy objects and people.

6. Ditch the Drywall Ceiling

While the drywall ceiling is cheap, it is outdated and boring. You can turn a typical attic ceiling into something exciting by opting for a custom look or even with premium wood ceiling options. 

7. Choose Lighter Colors to Paint Your Attic

The next idea to consider is the paint for the walls and ceilings of your attic. Because these spaces are often smaller with fewer window options, lighter colors lend to a more spacious feel while darker colors may make the space feel smaller.  If you’ve been able to add a skylight or large windows, lighter paint palletes will definitely complement the outside light and brighten up the space significantly.

8. Add a Bathroom

We know adding a bathroom to your attic space is a costly investment, but if you’re going to spend any time in the converted space, it is worth it. Especially if you have turned your attic into a bedroom, you need to have an attached bathroom to make your living space more livable. 

9. Install High-Density Fiberglass Insulation

Instead of using cheap and unreliable kraft-supported fiberglass insulation, install high-density fiberglass insulation alternatives. Spray foam is also a good option, as is mineral wool, an insulations which is easier to install and yields professional results. 

10. Install Attic Flooring

Congratulations! You’re about to finish building out your attic space. The next step is to choose the flooring for the space you have just designed and constructed. While you can choose from a variety of options your custom builder can work with, Carpeting makes a smart choice as it will make your living space more sound-proof and adds extra insulation. 

There you have it – 10 Tips to Consider When Constructing Attic for Your Custom Home in Dallas.

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Kitchen Cabinets for Your Custom Home in Dallas

When deciding upon what kind of cabinet you need to enhance the appeal of your custom kitchen, you might want to give a thought to what kind of cabinet you’re looking for. You may choose from the four basic types of cabinets including the base cabinet, bottle racks, corner cabinets, or standalone cabinets, which often serve a similar purpose to a pantry. 

When it comes to the kitchen, there’s no trouble accepting the idea that cabinetry is the heart of kitchen aesthetics. A cabinet that has the touch of contemporary designer style would not only shine as a standout but add more to the aesthetic value of your home. 

A kitchen with plain or poor functioning drawers or a cabinet of an outdated fashion would not motivate you to cook. Therefore, to help you install amazing cabinets in your kitchen, we’ve made this guide. 

The kitchen cabinet tips we have for you in this article are perfect for custom homes in Dallas. So, if you’re a big fan of custom homes or already own one, then you’ve landed on just the right page. Follow along.

1. Design with Grace with a Good Budget

While you move forward to design a custom cabinet, it is really important that you know the role budget will play in it. A good budget will provide you a range of options to choose from and get quality construction for the cabinet. Remember, the more you can apportion for cabinet construction, you can install cabinets of more contemporary designs. 

2. Choose Between Frameless or Framed Cabinet Construction

It’s always good to work with a framed cabinet. A framed cabinet adds more strength to the front door. Plus, with a framed cabinet you can select from a range of door options. You can go with either an inset or overlay design. 

On the other hand, if you choose to go with the frameless construction, which is the European standard, you may want to install the overlay doors only. The hinges for the overlay door will be attached directly to the side. You cannot install an inset door if you plan to have frameless construction. However, the frameless construction is really trendy and fashionable. 

3. Choose the Finish and Design for the Cabinet

We are far away from the time of oak wood cabinets. You no longer have to agree with your cabinetmaker on the finish for the cabinet. You are no longer restricted with options. It’s perfect if you want to have a light finish on the cabinet. Navigating dirt and stains on a light-textured base could be easier than on a cabinet with a darker finish. You can also choose from glazed, crackle, or distressing textures. 

When designing, you may want to check on a few popular styles. You can pick from the cathedral panel for the door, to shaker, and from the arched panel to slabs, especially if you’re a fan of plain cabinets. Arched and cathedral panels are really common. You may try the shaker design if you’re looking to have a touch of elegance. 

4. Give Thought to Beauty and Function

When you are in the mood for customization, it’s always important to give extra consideration to beauty. However, you may also want to do some intelligent discussions with the carpenter, if you want to craft something that is easy in terms of functionality. 

When designing, it’s really important that you have a clear idea of your use in the kitchen and what kind of stuff you want around. A mix of both casual and smart design may just do the trick for you. 

5. Decide whether Inset or Overlay Cabinet

Inset design construction is excellent if you want a classic cabinet. It may also do perfectly for a smart custom home. However, if you want to work more on aesthetics and have a lot of space, then an overlay door design for the cabinet could also be a fascinating choice. Remember, the design of the door totally depends upon your taste and use of the cabinet. 

6. Choose Material for the Cabinet

New custom homes in Dallas are using multiple materials for cabinet construction. Wood is not the only option you have. If you want simple, and budget-friendly cabinets, you may go with melamine, stainless steel, or even metal. 

However, none of these would enhance the aesthetic value of your custom kitchen other than solid wood. 

Solid wood is the perfect material for your custom cabinet. It’s classic. It’s perfect! So, stick to wood for the material. 

7. See Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets

If you want to save yourself from the hurdle of designing customized cabinets, then you may just agree on buying Ready-to-assemble pieces from top furniture retailers. IKEA is a renowned supplier for ready to assemble cabinets. 

Though buying these cabinets is easier, it could be really challenging to install these cabinets. Therefore, if you’re planning to install fixtures in a custom home, we would recommend you hire a carpenter and get these constructed. 

8. Check out Custom Cabinets

Before you get started, it’s always good to check out multiple custom designs and how they fit in the layout of the kitchen. It would really help you to understand how you could utilize space better without compromising on the look of your cabinet. So, check out several custom cabinets and get your idea! It’s always good to spark up your creativity when you sit to design something. 

9. Check Out Semi-Custom Cabinets

These are generally more affordable in terms of price. You can get a semi-customized cabinet in a range of sizes. These are usually available for order-to-make. Semi-custom may be useful especially when you’re a little short with time. 

10. Choose Quality Cabinet Hardware

Lastly, we recommend that you invest your time in choosing the quality of cabinet hardware. Get the most fashionable doorknobs for the cabinet. Solid steel handles that are long and durable look elegant on a wooden cabinet with a glazed texture. It’s really important that you get quality hardware.

The technology has shifted the focus of luxury homes towards energy-efficient custom homes. Architects are now designing homes that are energy-efficient and affordable. 

People prefer a home that reduces cost while building it and affordable to own in the long run. This approach has been admired by many homeowners as well. Technology is pretty expensive, but if we make a cost-benefit comparison, then it wins every time. 

We have created a general guide that can help you build an energy-efficient custom home in Dallas without breaking your bank. So, let’s get right to it.

Choose a Smart & Functional Design

The first step of building a custom home starts with a design. These days designers, architects, builders, and homebuyers all work together to come up with cost-effective zero net energy home designs. 

Since there are a lot of gadgets and devices that need to be placed within the walls and roof, they all have to be involved in the design. 

Once a smart home is designed, the builders and subcontractors should keep in mind the basics and the implementation of such details as effectively as possible. 

The builder and architect should have open communication about what they want to build and how it can be managed given the area. Everyone must share the idea of constructing a customized energy-efficient smart home.

Use the Sunlight

Sun is a powerful source of energy and light. Countries are wasting billions of dollars on producing electricity, and still, it isn’t enough. But you don’t have to rely on electricity only because now you can use solar plates that absorb the heat and help you run many devices on solar energy. 

Today, all luxury houses include solar plates in their smart home design because they achieve maximum passive solar heating. To maximize the benefits of natural sunlight, try placing south-facing windows, and you can get enough sunlight to keep your house warm. 

It also helps you lower the cost of heat in the winter season. Those same windows can be shaded in the summer season to keep the house cool.

Optimize Energy Consumption

When a home is planned, you also plan how many lights, air conditions, HVAC, and security systems you want. But you need to optimize the net energy consumption in energy modeling software. 

This can help you realize where you are going too much or too little. It can also help you maintain a balance while ensuring you a goal of net-zero energy. You can modify your design by adding a better option. Optimizing energy consumption beforehand can help you make the right decision in construction as well.  

Energy Efficient Lighting

The whole world can agree that we rely on electricity too much because we have things that run with electricity. But sometimes, we are wasting electricity and that is something we can control. 

So, while you are designing an energy-efficient home, minimize your energy use for lighting but opt for LED lights. They are energy-efficient, last longer, and have no mercury. Another cool thing about them is that they come in bright white, soft, and warm shades so using them strategically all over the home can improve your energy-efficiency impeccably.  

Super-Seal the Net-Zero Building Envelope Concept

There is a new super-seal Net-zero building envelope concept that is believed to be the most cost-effective solution to seal off any climate conditions.  This way a building is supposed to improve the energy efficiency of a zero-energy home. 

Let’s say if you live in a rainy climate, your home will stay dry and won’t let the moisture get into the house. In the same way, warm or cold weather can be handled with air-sealing approaches. Choose the option that works well with your climate and budget.

Insulation

If we talk about the house being airtight from the outside weather, another concern is insulation. If you optimize the insulation levels for your ceilings, walls, and floors, you can select framing that will suit your smart home design

There are various options for it depending on the elevation and you can choose the one that suits well within your budget.

Insulated Windows and Doors

Insulation goes a long way and home windows, and doors are a very big concern. They are letting warm air go out and bringing cold. But if you choose to use the energy-efficient highly insulated low U-value frame and low- E glass windows and doors, your home is going to be more airtight than ever. 

It is a cost-effective solution. However, choosing the window size, direction, location, style, blinds, and even curtain can contribute to its effectiveness.  

Consider Fresh Air Supply

What is the point of having a luxury home if you don’t have access to natural and fresh air? 

Although smart homes are supposed to be airtight, there is a need for a fresh air supply in every smart home. If fresh air doesn’t come in or the moisture doesn’t go out, there is not much to consider. 

So, smart homes come with a continuous source of fresh filtered air through a highly energy-efficient ventilation system. They expel used air while recovering its heat and returning that same heat to the home with the fresh air. This ventilation system is healthier and more comfortable than regular homes.

Heating and Cooling System

Just like any other advanced machinery, technology has introduced us to highly efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling systems. They are essential for every custom energy-efficient home. They can be customized according to your smart home architecture.  They consume less power and meet the net-zero energy goal.

Water Heating

Water heating and good water pressure are both important concerns in a bathroom. Considering that water heating also consumes energy, many architects and builders use more advanced water heating technology in which water heats up in seconds as you use it. It only warms water as you use it and then turns off when you stop using water. 

The idea of building a custom home in Dallas is both intimidating and exciting. Unlike buying a readymade construction, you can design and construct everything according to your needs when you build your home from scratch.

From hiring a builder of your choice to picking the right set of colors and the type of wood you want to use in your kitchen cabinetry, you can decide everything on your own.

If you have made the exciting decision of building a custom home in Dallas, you have come to the right place.

In this post, we’re going to highlight 10 tried-and-tested expert tips for building a custom construction that will help you build your dream house without wasting any money. So without any ado, let’s get started!

1. Everything Starts with a Plan

Prepare yourself both financially and mentally before you even start thinking about building your home. Similar to any other thing, custom home building projects also demand in-depth research and planning. 

Create a list of things you want in your home project, be it a customized staircase, a custom ceiling or a dedicated parking space, or a backyard. 

Having a written plan will make things smoother, and it will be easier for you to explain your requirements to the builder when you attend your first showroom meeting. 

2. Find Your Lot 

Once you know your needs, the next step is to find a perfect lot according to your plan. You have to check your local laws to see whether you can build a custom home on any specific lot. 

Know the dimensions you want for your custom home so that you can determine the footprint of it on your chosen lot. Both regular and premium lot options are available. Make sure you choose something that goes well with your requirements and budget. 

Also, get a builder’s perspective and carefully check out the neighborhood to know whether building a custom home in that locality will be convenient. 

3. Check Out a Model House and Choose Your Floor Plan

Builders usually have a model house to display all the best features one might be looking for in their home. You can visit that house and see what you can expect in terms of design and features. 

It is essential to understand that these model houses showcase possibilities, and they’re not free. Builders only bear the base costs, and whatever else you need in your home will be counted in the upgrades. 

Do not hesitate to ask a lot of questions upon your visit to the model house. Also, discuss the floor plan with your builder to communicate what custom changes you need in your home. 

For instance, if you want to build two master bedrooms on the first floor instead of one, you can discuss it with the contractor. 

4. Upgrades Are Not included

As mentioned earlier, the model house you see before finalizing your contract with a builder only covers the base price. All the other custom additions you want to include will be counted as upgrades. 

Upgrades are part of the house building project. Just ensure you’re mentally and financially prepared for it to avoid any surprises in the end. 

5. You Can Buy or Build Your Home Much Sooner than You Think 

The general misconception about securing a house loan is that you have to put a 20% down. But the fact is that you can get a loan for as little as 3.5%. So there’s no need to be debt-free or hold tons of money before you start thinking about building a custom home in Dallas.

Dissimilar to prebuilt constructions, there are so many unknowns in the custom home building project. Ideally, you should start a project when your credit score is good enough to satisfy the financer’s requirements. 

The credit score you will need depends on the type of loan you’re securing. The better the credit score you hold, the lesser interest rate you have to pay on your loan, and vice versa. 

Apart from that, your constructor will offer a few extra incentives if you go with their financer.  

6. Purchase Agreement

Signing a purchase agreement means you’re now in a legal relationship with your contractor. You also have to deposit some upfront money (a certain percentage of house cost) at this point. Make sure you read your agreement carefully and request changes (if any) at this stage before you proceed further. 

7. Ask Lots of Questions

While you sign a purchase agreement and your builder will send it for approval, you’ll have enough time to work on the design elements of your home. Your contractor will arrange design showroom meetings for you (one or two depending upon your needs). 

Ask lots and lots of questions. At this point, you can request custom changes for your home. For example, you can choose your custom doorknobs, shower, countertops, etc. Again, none of these upgrades will be free. But, since building a custom home is already an expensive investment, these little changes here and there are worth it. 

8. Take Pictures of Everything in Your First Showroom Appointment

Another thing you should keep in mind is to take lots and lots of pictures and videos of the things you have finalized during your showroom meetings. 

The thing is that the contractors are handling several house building projects simultaneously. It’s easy to forget minor upgrade requests. So it’s better to have all the evidence at hand that you can show them if anything goes in an unexpected direction. 

9. Do not Touch Your Credit During the Process of Getting Pre-Approval to Locking in a Rate credit

Do not touch your credit during the process of getting pre-approval to locking in a credit rate. Do not increase the balances you have on your credit card or do anything that could poorly affect your credit rating. 

10. Be Diligent During a Pre-Close Walkthrough

One week before the closing, you’ll be doing a pre-close walkthrough. This is typically an hour or two walkthrough of your newly-built construction so that you can have a close look at everything and compare it with what you had discussed in your meetings and finalized in a purchase agreement. 

That goes without saying that you have to be super diligent during this process. Any imperfections that need to be fixed should be highlighted before you close a deal.

Building a custom home in Dallas is both challenging and exciting. What sets a custom home apart from ready-made constructions is that you can design your house according to your needs. 

Not only can you design your home the way you like, but you’ll likely get a higher quality, more durable and long-lasting result.

When you plan to build your custom home in Dallas, the most crucial thing that you should do is to find the best architect or custom home designer and a builder you can afford. (We’ll shed light on the things you should consider before you hire a custom home designer and a contractor in a separate post).

Once you have found the architect/designer/builder to work with, you can officially start your custom home building project. 

This step-by-step guide will help you build your dream house with an efficient, controlled, well-planned approach so that you can enjoy the process and minimize stress.

Step 1 – Develop Your Budget Range

The first step to building a custom home in Dallas is to develop your budget range. Many things can go wrong if you aren’t sure about how much your house should cost in the end. 

Since there are so many unknowns involved in the house building process, it is practically impossible for a homeowner to finalize the budget in the initial stages. But you must at least have an estimate

Consult with your financial advisor or accountant to understand your available funds, credit lines, mortgage rates and all the other financial considerations, and set your budget accordingly.  Then add 20% and hold in reserve for unexpected costs.

Step 2 – Know What You Can Build

Before you go any further, you have to know about any restrictions that may apply to the lot or land on which you want to build.  Deed restrictions, HOA restrictions and various municipal and governmental restrictions might have an impact on what you can build on a particular lot or in a particular area.

Visit your city planning department and discuss all of the above to see if they are applicable. Bring your address and real property report that could help the authorities gauge the feasibility of your plan. 

Alternatively, you can get a site feasibility review done by a professional custom home designer who will provide you with a detailed analysis report of what you can or cannot build on your lot. 

Step 3 – Document Your Wishlist

There are so many details that go into the custom home building project. So, make sure you spend some time and document a wishlist as you’d not be able to remember everything you have discussed with your designer in the first meeting on your own. 

Apart from that, you also need to have a collection point that could either be in the form of a file or a digital folder where you can save images, videos, and design examples of different constructions that you would like to follow for your project. 

Step 4 – Develop Your Final Design

This is the most exciting part of your custom home building project. Once you have finalized a designer, have a rough budget estimate in hand, and also checked the feasibility of your project with your local city planning department, it’s time to develop your final design. 

At this point, your custom home designer will show you the final design plan based on your discussions with them in the initial meetings. Make sure you check every detail carefully. Discuss floor plan concept, exterior design concept, the amount of space you need for your backyard or parking, and other essential things you want in your custom home building project. 

Step 5 – Finalize Your budget

You already had a rough estimate for your project that you developed in the first step of the process. Now that you already have everything you need to get started, you can finalize your budget to avoid post-construction regrets.

Your builder will now give you the final budget estimate that you need to complete your custom home building project in Dallas. 

You need to ensure that you’re comfortable with the final budget before you proceed further. 

Step 6 – Finalize Technical Details

A house building project is not just about having brick and mortar. It’s a tedious process that involves many technical details as well.

For example, you may have to consult with an energy advisor and construction engineer to help you decide the intricate construction and lighting details for your home in Dallas. 

If you’re not handling your project independently and have hired a custom home designer and a contractor, there is nothing to worry about. But yes, you must keep an eye on every detail to know whether everything is going in the right direction. 

Step 7 – Secure Your Permits

The most exciting part of the project is where you seek permits and start the construction process to turn your dream project into a living reality. 

Depending on your location, there might be one permit or multiple permits that you need to start the actual construction process.

Make sure you have all the permits at hand before you get started. 

Step 8 – Start Construction

That’s pretty straightforward. After having permits, you’re all set to start the construction process.

At this point, you can arrange a pre-construction meeting to have your custom home designer and builder on board. Clear all your doubts, ask many questions, and have a quick look at every detail to see if you need to amend anything. 

Custom House Building Checklist

Buying land
Review documents and prepare specifications sheet
Hire a designer and a builder
Buying materials
Site and foundation
Framing
Exterior Masonry
Roofing
Siding
Plumbing rough
HVAC
Electrical rough and insulation
Wallcovering
Trims and cabinets
Interior paint/wallpaper
Final finishing
Final clean up
Move-in

There you have it – a step-by-step guide to building a custom home in Dallas. The steps we have explained above are crucial, and you must follow all of them to get the most of your house building project. 

For more questions or to drop your feedback, you can always reach out using the comments section given below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Good Luck!

There is nothing more exciting than building a custom home. Imagine a cozy place where you have everything of your choice, be it ceiling, backyard, or parking. 

You can decide your home’s color scheme, add cabinets that blend well with your flooring, and have ducts for natural sunlight wherever you want. Sounds fascinating? 

But there are so many things you should keep in mind when you construct your home in a metropolitan city like Dallas. From purchasing your lot to choosing the builder, many things need your consideration. 

However, building a custom home in Dallas must not be that challenging, right?

To help you build your house of dreams, we have created a detailed post covering aspects you should keep in mind while building a new home. 

Excited? We’re too. Let’s begin!

1. Ask Questions and Be Pushy if You Need to

You don’t have to be an easy client. Why would you? After all, your money, your time, and your investment are at stake. 

The thing is, building a house in Dallas is a tedious job. Builders are already busy with so much stuff that they barely pay attention to individual projects. 

While this is not your responsibility to nudge them for everything, you should at least remind them of your requirements from time to time so that they keep those things in mind. 

For instance, if you’re looking to have a duct at a particular place or, say, you want a window on a wall facing the door, you have to get your message across several times to get things done the way you like. 

2. Buy Your Own Appliances

You get a dishwasher and an oven along with a package. Many people make a mistake, and they also ask their builder to fix other appliances to save time and effort. 

But, it will generally cost you a lot. 

If you want to save money on appliances, it is better to arrange them on your own. 

You can purchase them from a sale or can save money by negotiating with the vendor – so yes. Make sure you buy appliances separately and do not ask a builder to arrange them for you. 

3. Do Not Have Upgrade Regrets

The next million-dollar tip on our list is to ‘never have upgrade regrets’. There are many things that you get standard when you go with the builder, including the doorknobs, shower, and lights. 

As we always say, keep a dedicated column for ‘upgrades’ in your budget so that you can spend that money on things of your choice. For example, if you want custom faucets or a walk-in shower, you have to invest extra in these luxuries. That goes without saying these upgrades can go a long way. 

4. Get Independent Home Inspections

A home inspection gives you an insight into the overall condition of the property, including plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and more. 

There are many things that you can overlook,  but an independent home inspector can find. What you get from a home inspector is an unbiased and neutral perspective. 

5. Wait to Buy Your Furniture

Wait to buy your furniture until you are in the home. Unlike apartments, decorating an entire house is a lot of fun. But it is going to be more time-consuming and expensive too. 

What if the console you bought for $500 doesn’t blend well with the overall color scheme and ceilings of your living area? 

It is, therefore, better to buy your furniture when you have finalized the colors and design elements of your home.

6. Do Not Forget to Take Pictures

Take lots and lots of pictures of each stage of the construction of your custom home in Dallas. Not only can you cherish those moments when you’re done with the construction part, but it also helps you pinpoint the weak links you should work on to make your house look more appealing and beautiful. 

7. Prepare for Going into Design Center

To avoid post-construction regrets, ask your builder to send you catalogs and design files so that you can review them before you make any decision. 

8. Hire a Good Realtor Who’s Familiar with New Builds

You may want to reconsider your approach if you think that your builder’s agent or a salesperson represents you. Having a realtor familiar with new builds means that you have someone with your interest at heart.

A realtor also understands hidden costs and terms listed in your builder’s contract. Also, they can help you streamline and prioritize your budget. 

9. Mentally Prepare for Delays

Whether it’s weather or shortage of material, delays are part of the process. Many builders mention up to 2-years of time in their contracts, but a delay of 4 to 6 months is quite common. 

So don’t panic and give your custom home project in Dallas the time it deserves. 

10. Be on Top of Your Options

Last but most importantly, make sure you cross-check everything and keep an eye on stuff a builder is fixing in your house. If you live in a neighborhood, you can visit the property yourself to check everything personally. If not, you can also ask a realtor to visit the property every week to keep track of things (materials, design, etc.)

Now that you know some of the best construction advice you need to follow when building a custom home in Dallas, it’s time to implement these strategies to see how well they turn out for you. 

We hope this post has cleared some of your doubts about constructing a new home. Remember, there’s a lot of planning, money, and hard work involved in building a custom home. But the results you get at the end of the day are totally worth it. 

Have questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments section below. We’ll get bac k to you as soon as possible. We wish you all the best for your new custom house project!

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