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5 Tips to Design the Perfect Custom Home

Building a Texas Hill Country custom home can be an exciting adventure to embark on. When building a new home or even improving an old one, there are so many things to consider. Homebuilders will need to consider where to build their house, how much money they want to spend, and what the design of your home will look like. While all of these aspects throughout the home building process are important and need to be addressed, one of the most integral and potentially difficult parts of building a custom home can be navigating the design process. Here are 5 tips to help you design the perfect custom home.

Get serious about your budget

A line-item master budget can be an extraordinarily helpful tool when designing your perfect Texas hill country home. The list of amenities and features you may want to incorporate will be far more financially feasible if you plan on how to pay for them from the start. Come up with a master budget (that has space for wiggle room) that details what you’re willing to spend when designing your custom home. Your budget is a great place to include specifics like custom cabinetry, granite countertops, or 18-foot ceilings that you may want in your home. After your budget has been created, you can sit down with your custom home builders before creating blueprints to discuss the intricacies and costs of the design you want to incorporate. It’s also smart to budget when you’re designing your home because small building incidentals can unintentionally add up quickly. If you build an emergency fund into your budget, there will already be funds set aside to cover small issues when they arise, like if you decide to change your design plan, or add in another custom feature down the road. Doing some financial planning on the front end of designing your home will save you time, energy, and money in the long run. It will also often help your money to stretch further during the building process, moving you one step closer to living in your perfect custom home.

Find the best location

When it comes time to design your luxurious new home, choosing a location is a key step. If you already live in the Texas hill country, you may just be moving down the street. However, if you’re from a different part of Texas, another state, or even another country, moving to the greater San Antonio area may be quite a change. Stone Creek Custom Home prides itself in building on your lot. This means that as a company we are ready and willing to build on the lot you’ve chosen or help you find one. We build in many neighborhoods across the Texas Hill Country, a few of which are  Vintage Oaks, Timberwood Park, and Bell Oaks. However, those are only three of the multitudes of locations and neighborhoods that Stone Creek Custom Home can build your perfect custom home in. If you already have a location in mind, Stone Creek is excited to build with you. If you’re still in the decision-making process, it’s smart to consider the future and style of your new home. This may make it easier to choose a location or neighborhood. Many new home builders also enjoy seeing neighborhoods in person and speaking to new potential neighbors to get a feel for the area. These steps are helpful in determining if you’d feel comfortable moving in. Doing some research and visiting potential locations is a great way to make sure that you end up in the neighborhood of your dreams.

Get Involved in the blueprint process

The right team of home builders can make the blueprint process a breeze, however, it’s smart to be involved. Being involved in this important step of the building process can help you not only achieve your desired floor plan but also add in space for the specific design details you’d like included early on. Your builder will also be helpful with providing insight and advice for the layout of your home, the space you have, and how the design will play out in real life. Building a home is a unique opportunity to create the perfect, custom home of your dreams. Therefore, involving yourself in the planning process is important so that your home is everything you’d like it to be. As your builders develop floor plans, implement design and ask for your input, make sure to stay involved in each step. You should also feel comfortable voicing your opinion.

Don’t over customize

A common mistake that custom home buyers make is going overboard on customizing their new build. This can often look like an owner choosing customizations that are beyond unique and uncommon. While no builder wants to keep their client from achieving their perfect custom home, there are some design decisions that can produce a negative impact in the long run. For example, some customizations may be a poor use of the space in your home, and may even be a poor use of your budget. Building a custom home is an excellent idea and ultimately, what you choose as the client, is what will be built. However, many owners will over-customize a home that will make it difficult to eventually sell. When it comes to customization you should build out the plans for your home as you see fit and make decisions that will make you happy and comfortable. It’s also wise to consider the future and try to balance customization with what will contribute to the home’s resale value.

Choose Stone Creek Custom Homes

Stone Creek Custom Homes understands that designing and building your dream home can be one of life’s most exciting adventures, but it can also be overwhelming. At Stone Creek, our builders are completely committed to providing you with outstanding customer service throughout the entire building and design process. Our business has a consistent track record of the not only meeting, but exceeding our customer’s expectations when it comes to client communication, building times, and elements of design. We build the kind of homes that we would want to live in. There are no cut corners, only surpassed expectations.  Are you interested in learning more about your perfect custom home? Click here to learn more about the services we provide.

Written by Caroline Kidd of KC Creative

Why Building a Home in San Antonio Can Be Cheaper Than Buying One

It’s not a secret to anyone living in the greater surrounding San Antonio area that the city is quickly growing. More and more people are moving to San Antonio because of the rich culture, the excellent job market, and the beautiful scenery. This means that homes are more in demand than they ever have been.

In fact, The San Antonio Board of Realtors reports that the average cost of a home has increased 19% within one calendar year, which interestingly, it’s greater than the rise in home costs from June 2019 to June 2020  (source). As locals welcome the influx of new faces flooding the San Antonio area, they also usher in a rise in the cost of living, which has directly affected the cost of owning a home in the Alamo city. This leaves many people confused about whether buying or building is a better idea. If you’re deciding between building a home or buying one, here are three reasons why building a home may be more financially advantageous than buying one in San Antonio right now.

Your custom built home will be new

San Antonio offers a lot of history as a city. Whether it’s historic battlefields like the Alamo, hotels that have stood for hundreds of years, or even the River Walk, which was added in 1941, the city shines with all the things people have constructed. While the history of the city is a jewel in San Antonio’s crown, it also means that there are many outdated homes across the city. This fact coupled with the real estate market boom means many people are selling their homes. Furthermore, a lot of the inventory people are listing is outdated and the cost can easily be inflated. Instead of buying an older home, you can build a custom home that will cost less in the long run. Maintenance upkeep is typically far less for newer homes. Eventually things will need to be replaced, but that could be ten to twenty years in the future, instead of within the first year of buying an older home. Beyond that, new builds typically have more competitive utility rates. Custom built homes have a track record of being more energy efficient and therefore less expensive than older homes with higher bills. Oftentimes, newer homes can be more cost efficient for these reasons.

The freedom to design

One of the wonderful things about choosing to build a custom home is the freedom to design. When you decide that building your own home is what you want to do, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for what the inside of your home could hold. Whether it’s modern or traditional, your custom builder should be able to help you decide on which direction to move forward. While this may seem like a more costly decision, it can actually save you money in the long run. When you are buying a house, unless you have time and funds budgeted for a major home renovation, you are more or less settling for the architecture and layout that is already in place. With a custom built home, you pay for exactly what you want. If you build strategically, this can be more price competitive than buying an existing home. Some existing homes will contain unwanted expensive features that have been chosen by the previous owners. People who build custom homes have a blank canvas on which to paint their dream house and the option not to have to pay for the upkeep of expensive features that they may not be interested in.

Skip the competition

 

As more and more people move to San Antonio, real estate competition and home prices will continue to rise. Even real estate experts are not sure when the San Antonio market will begin to cool down. With this unexpected economic climate comes the virtual certainty that house hunting will not be easy. When buying a home, it’s smart to analyze financial costs, but it’s also wise to consider your time. Instead of months of searching for a home that fulfills all your needs and also exists within your price range, you may consider looking into custom building. If you decide to build a custom home, you rid yourself of the potential of competing offers, which can quickly and drastically raise the price of buying the home. Instead, building a custom home can provide price security as you have greater control over expenses. Instead of navigating a competitive market and potentially overpaying, there is the option to build a home that is more reasonably priced and stable.

 

We know that deciding between building or buying can feel like a stressful process. However, the team at Stone Creek Custom Homes has decades of experience in hearing people’s dreams and turning them into reality.

 

If you’re interested in booking a free consultation with one of our experts, click here.

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Can building a home provide you with instant equity?

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How building a custom home can provide you with instant equity

After months of pouring over every decision, you open the door to your dream home on move in day. Imagine exhaling with contentment, knowing you already have equity in your new home. Sound too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be.

Equity is the difference in what a home is worth versus what you owe on it. Generally, the market determines what a house is worth, “a home’s value at any given time is what a willing and qualified buyer is willing and able to pay for at that time” (source).

There are two traditional ways to gain equity, paying what you owe on the house or waiting for the value of home to increase over time. People who purchase an already built home are generally paying the full market price (or more in the current competitive market). They are the people who end up paying for the additional equity thoughtfully built in.

Thus on move in day, if someone has equity in a home it’s usually from their own deposit, not representing any true gain. This is where building a home can present an economic opportunity. For someone to have instant equity in a new build, the cost to build must remain under the appraised market value for the finished home.

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However, many people build a home without gaining extra equity or even spending more than it would be appraised for. This can happen simply because the average client may not understand what truly adds value to a new home. As you can imagine, it is much easier to add cost than value.

Generally, it is the ‘luxuries’ that add up in your budget without really contributing to home equity. When you build, it’s possible to consider these factors along the way. This could leave you with instant equity on closing day, meaning you could turn around and instantly sell your new home for more money than you spent to build it.

Instant equity can be created by considering the overall values of the market in addition to your family’s wishlist. Value comes from smart, lasting decisions that will remain over time. Examples include, adding an extra room, garage, or a home office. While spending extra on your favorite light fixture may feel valuable, it will eventually be outdated and does not represent as much value to the home buyer market.

To gain equity by building, you must balance your wishlist with market must haves. This goal often requires making many decisions based on logical market factors instead of only relying on personal must haves.

With the many decisions required in building a house, it’s important to find an experienced builder to help you maximize equity and avoid spending pitfalls. Their expertise can help you navigate budgeting and keep you from spending more than your future home’s market value.

If you are interested in learning more, schedule a free consultation today with one of our experienced staff members to discuss your goals and how you can build your dream home with instant equity.

For more information on budgeting, read out Decisive Guide to Staying on Budget when Building a Custom Home

-The Team at Stone Creek Custom Homes, proudly building the finest custom homes in the San Antonio Hill Country

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The Decisive Guide for Staying on Budget when Building a Custom Home

Have a contingency fund

We’ve all seen at least one episode of an HGTV show where something goes horribly wrong and the budget takes a major hit. The best way to plan your custom home budget is to leave room for unexpected expenses. Here we suggest to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Your contingency fund can absorb unexpected shocks without hurting the rest of the budget.

Another benefit of having a contingency fund is having a pool to dip into for pieces you really love that exceed budgets. This is crucial when your dream countertop costs more than expected. Having this fund gives you flexibility to splurge without having to deplete other budgets.

Lastly, we recommend setting aside this fund to give you the flexibility to change your mind. As the framing goes up, you may realize that another window is needed for natural light or another change needs to be made. Budget now to give yourself options later.

Make an itemized custom home budget

We all know it is important to have a set budget for how much you are willing to spend on your Hill Country dream home. More importantly, you need to know how much to spend on each category. An itemized budget provides organization, accountability, and clarity for both you and your builder. Without specified categories, it is impossible to track your progress in spending. This make sure you continue to have funds for the many important things in your dream Texas home.

An itemized budget also allows you to make educated decisions and tradeoffs. If you splurge on a dining room light then others need to be substituted to remain on budget. This clarity allows you to make educated decisions as you choose the features in your custom home.

Work with the right professionals

Most of us aren’t walking around with the expertise on what to budget for things like flooring, drywall, and contingencies. That’s why it’s important to find the people who can. The right professional home builder can help set realistic budget expectations catered to your specific budget and style. Even better, a local builder has specialized knowledge on what your home needs to stay cool in Texas summers. They can also help you set the right contingency fund to avoid going over budget. A good home builder considers factors such as your lot, home plans, and design preferences. A builder with years of expertise in the field often finds ways to maximize your budget for your priority areas.

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Don’t make every nook “Pinterest worthy”

It’s hard to scroll through cultivated images and not feel the pressure to make every nook photo worthy. In reality, not every corner of your house needs to draw attention. While having your dream home should be a priority, it’s important to focus on focal points in your home. This is easier on your custom home budget as focal pieces tend to be costly, but it’s also beneficial from a design perspective.

Allowing simplicity in some features allows show stopping aspects to stand out, such as floor to ceiling windows of your Hill Country view. When every aspect of a home is cultivated for snapshots, it can become overwhelming and even feel cluttered. A more simplistic approach overall allows show stopping features to be appreciated and can help your home feel stunning, rather than overwhelming.

Make a list of non-negotiables

While this may seem counterintuitive, making a list of non-negotiables can actually help protect your budget. This can help you and your builder have a clear roadmap of priorities. At first, every detail in your Hill Country home may feel like a non-negotiable, but with the many decisions that will be made, you will soon learn that there are many things that you simply do not care about as much as lighting, tile, wall colors etc.

This means that items that don’t fall on your non-negotiable list can be substituted for more cost effective options allowing you to direct more funds to the home aspects that you care more about.

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Choose your style before the decisions are made

When faced with warehouses of options for your custom interior, it can be overwhelming, particularly if you have yet to decide on a style for your home. Do you want Hill Country Style, a modern farmhouse, or terracotta tile to incorporate the Mexican roots in the San Antonio area? Without choosing a guiding style, it can be easy to find yourself choosing individual accents that you love that have no cohesion resulting in a chaotic space. Many of the most eye-catching accents also usually come with a hefty price tag.

Deciding upon the style and feel you want for your custom home can help guarantee cohesion and help you decide how to alot your budget. Are the floor to ceiling black paned windows crucial for the style you want? Then splurge! Do you want the look of hardwood floors but are flexible on the type? Then save! Use engineered hardwood that offers the same style for a lower cost.

When designing and building your Hill Country dream home, we know budgeting can be overwhelming. With decades of combined experience in the home building space, our team is here to help with free consultations to help turn your dreams into reality.

Click here to schedule a free consultation for expert help!

-The Team at Stone Creek Custom Homes

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How to navigate building delays in 2021

After staring at the inside of their house for a year, it seems that everyone decided to move at the same time. This includes everyone in the San Antonio area. Like the rest of the US, Texas is experiencing building delays in 2021. With the US housing supply at record lows, more and more people are building. This is creating crunches in supply lines still backed up from pandemic shutdowns.

The already overwhelming process of building a home just got a little more complex. That’s why we compiled this list of how to navigate the building challenges of 2021 from your favorite Texas home builder.

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT EARLY

With sky high demand for new houses, the rotating list of out of stock or delayed items is ever changing. An experienced team of homebuilders can mitigate this if their customers make early decisions. Decide your design style, important features, and which can be substituted. This helps your builder complete your Hill Country dream home even with Texas-sized building delays in 2021.

FIND AN EXPERIENCED BUILDER

Now is not the time to take a chance on your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin working out of his mom’s garage. An experienced builder will have a deep understanding of home timelines and lumbar and other shortages. Jason Gale, a founder of Stone Creek Custom Homes has over 15 years in home building. Gale shares that “right now we are having 16 week lead times on brick, windows, and garage doors, so some things we are having to order when we sign a contract.” Needing 4 months notice for basic home materials is not a normal industry standard. I’d rather not roll the dice with your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin, no matter how great his mom says he is.

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MAKE LISTS FOR MEETINGS

Before meeting with your architect, designer or builder, be sure to know what you want and what changes you’d like. This is particularly important to do with your architect. Due to the influx of new homes being built, many architects have longer turnaround times, even for minor changes. Delays with your architectural plans have the potential to hold up the rest of the building process.

That is why it is so crucial to organize your thoughts ahead of time and make clear lists of adjustments. This allows your architect to make all the adjustments at once. We suggest looking at your plans and finding kinks you’d like to work out ahead of time. This can help you catch little things, like realizing you need a plug by that countertop for your mixer or a wider doorway in the laundry room. An experienced building team helps you catch these adjustments, but it is still important to consider personal needs.

DON’T ASSUME EVERYTHING WILL BE IN STOCK

Unless you are shopping for fixtures and furniture on Amazon, don’t assume there’s 2 day shipping. Particularly for light fixtures, many choice pieces may be out of stock. Ordering early in the process will help counteract longer lead times for must-haves. We don’t want you to have to miss out on the rattan light pendant or modern farmhouse sink any more than you do! Surprisingly, home furniture is facing similar lead times, particularly when ordering items such as custom couches. Working with an interior designer can help you visualize your space so you can order pieces far enough in advance to have them in time for move in day!

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BE WILLING TO PIVOT

When focusing on individual details, you may become convinced that your Hill Country dream home will be ruined if you don’t have the exact outlet you wanted or the specific window covering. While the details matter, they pale in comparison to the overall feel and style of your home. As you lovingly pour over every detail of your home, it can be helpful to take a step back and ask yourself if this aspect is crucial to the style you want or if a substitute would work. This can help you stay focused on the things that really matter and not get stuck in the delays and decision making. I promise your friends will never judge your choice of outlet, and if they do, you don’t need that kind of friend anyway.

While the everchanging delays may feel intimidating, finding a skilled local home builder and making your design decisions confidently and quickly can make your home building process feel seamless.

Schedule a free consultation here for more information on how we navigate building delays!

-The Team at Stone Creek Custom Homes