Skip to main content

How to Save Money on a Custom Built Home

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

Consider changes you can make yourself

  • Think about ways you can save money by doing some of the work yourself. If you plan to do all the work yourself, it can be a great way to save money on your custom built home and have more involvement with the process. The best part is that when you are doing things yourself, you will be able to keep an eye on each step of construction so that nothing gets overlooked or forgotten until it’s too late. This can help ensure that everything is done properly and within budget as well as allow you to focus on areas where there may be concerns later down the line such as safety issues or other areas where mistakes could cause problems with your home after moving in (such as poorly installed wiring).

Have a clear vision of your dream home from the beginning

  • Have a clear vision of your dream home from the beginning.
  • Build and budget with a good builder.
  • Work with an architect who does not pass on his/her mistakes to you.
  • Work with a lender who understands the ups and downs of building custom, and is willing to work with you throughout the process (not just at closing).
  • Work with a designer who understands that building custom is not for everyone; some people need someone in their corner every step of the way—which includes after closing as well!

Don't be afraid to scale back on the upgrades you can put in later

You may want to consider scaling back on some of the upgrades you can put in later. While it's nice to have all your bases covered, it also means that you could end up spending more than is necessary. For example, if your house has a walk-in closet, but there's nowhere else for clothes storage, what are you going to do with all those extra items? It would be better off being able to use that space for something more useful—and cheaper!

Likewise, if closing off an extra bedroom results in needing less furniture and fewer linens throughout the house and will save money over time (which it will), then it might be worth doing just that. You can always add things later; however, once they're gone they're gone forever!

Don't add amenities that are rarely used

The biggest area where you can save money on a custom built home is by not adding amenities that are rarely used. This is true for any home, but especially true for custom built homes because they tend to be built with every possible amenity included.

The most common areas where this happens are:

  • Pool and hot tub (if you're not into swimming or don't have kids, this probably isn't worth it)
  • Sauna (even if you love getting into the sauna after working out, it still takes up valuable floor space that could be used for other things)
  • Steam room (most people only use steam rooms when they're sick, so it's hard to justify paying for one in your house)
  • Home theater room (there's no way around it—they cost a lot of money and nobody uses them)
  • Gym/exercise room (most people don't use these much past New Year's Day every year)
Scroll to Continue

Focus on building sweat equity into your home investment

One of the most common ways to save money on a custom built home is to build sweat equity into your home investment. Sweat equity is the value of your labor, and it can be a great way for you to put some or all of the money you would have spent on hiring contractors or paying for materials towards building up equity in your own home.

Skip features that are dated now, but will be outdated by the time your home is complete

  • A built-in vacuum system.
  • A built-in dishwasher.
  • Recessed lights, speakers and WiFi.

Custom built homes cost more, but there are ways to save money.

If you want to build the house of your dreams on a budget, the first step is to have a clear vision for what that home will look like. Perhaps you're envisioning a Tuscan-style mansion with vaulted ceilings and arched doorways, but if it's not practical for your lifestyle or can't be built within your budget, it's best to scale back now.

Building sweat equity into your home investment is another way to save money on a custom built home. This means doing as much work as possible yourself instead of hiring contractors and subcontractors—or at least saving when hiring professionals by choosing inexpensive materials or DIY options like spray paint over paint booths.


We hope that these tips have helped you get a better understanding of the pros and cons of custom built homes. The extra cost is worth it when you consider that you're getting exactly what you want in your dream home, but there are still ways to save money on this investment by scaling back on upgrades and focusing on building sweat equity into your home investment.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

Related Articles