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They say pictures are worth a thousand words! If you have ever been involved in or privy to the Custom Home Building process, you may find the task daunting and perhaps even stressful.

We at Fisher Custom Homes have had many clients come to us with the concept of their dream home and employ us to construct that dream. Specializing in custom home building in the North Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas of Arizona, we have designed and built over 700 homes during our 35+ years of being in business. The gorgeous image above reflects some of the beautiful work our custom builders create and the expertise and care that comes along with designing your luxury home. Flexibility is one thing that makes custom home building unique, but it can sneak up on a client, and all of a sudden you have a yacht when you originally intended to have a dingy. As long as the finished custom home is in fact the embodiment of your dream home, it is worth it!

However, not everyone who is looking to have a custom home built has access to unlimited funds or limitless time. So how does one build a custom home on a budget? At Fisher Custom Homes, we like to use the acronym F.I.S.H.E.R.

1. FORM your ideas. Fisher Custom Homes is a Design/Build Firm. This means that we have an in-house architect who works with our clients to create a design. The best way to stay within your budget is to have the most specific idea of your home design possible and a general idea of material you prefer. While working with the Architect and the Builder, they will be able to give you ideas on how to value engineer your design and select like-kind materials that may be more practical and less expensive. (To see ideas of an eclectic collection of Custom Homes, you can visit the Fisher Custom Homes website at During this phase, allow a free-flow of designs between you and your Design/Build team; you may be pleasantly surprised that your dream home changed for the better!

2. INVESTIGATE and do your research on which materials will create your dream home ambience. One of the most difficult parts about creating and staying within a budget is that there is a misconception of material costs. Designing and building a home is a huge undertaking with many pieces to take into consideration. When you hire a builder, like Fisher Custom Homes, you can rely on their team of experts to guide you in your inquiries, pull from their years of contacts and connections to find material selections at the best prices.

3. STICKS and Bricks are the easy part; Fit and Finish can be a different scenario. In the industry, we refer to the grading, foundation, framing, insulation, etc. as “Sticks and Bricks” – the boring stuff that creates the structure of your home but is not cosmetic and in most cases not even seen when your house is complete. As long as too much time has not gone by (rising material costs) and no design changes have been made since you created your original budget, these items easily stay within budget. The Fit and Finish on the other hand, are the beautiful items that make your home have that certain feel. This is where many clients stray from the original budget. Just like any other shopping experience, you may have an idea from pictures and suggestions that you want a certain floor, for example, and then when the time comes to actually select the flooring material, you have seen or heard of something else you like better and change your mind. Now, this is Custom home building and the beauty of it is that you can change your mind without too much hassle in many scenarios, but when you are trying to stay within a budget you may want to stick with the originally-selected Mercedes-Benz rather than that Ferrari next to it that you like much better!

4. HAVE a realistic view of your tastes versus budget. Explore if you will truly not be satisfied buying that Mercedes-Benz knowing you could have the Ferrari. Before you create unrealistic expectations by making a budget too low for your desires, be honest with yourself, think about what the “must-haves” are and for what items you do not mind exploring options. This will eliminate stress during the process when you are called upon to make material selections and are trying to find materials you really like and want, but are staying conscious of a designated budget.

5. EVERYTHING has options. Do not hold yourself to your original decisions if you feel they are not right for you now. Trying to keep with a decision you made over a year ago solely to stay within your original budget is like having to choose chicken or fish when you R.S.V.P. to that wedding you were invited to a year in advance. Except with your dream home you will see your ultimate decision every day. Will you be happy with it? Your Custom Home Builder can help you find that middle ground between changing your mind and staying close to your budget with their knowledge and expertise.

6. RESERVE the ability to change your mind. When you are building a Custom Home, try to see the big picture and keep your eye on the prize. Being as thorough and as honest with yourself as possible in the beginning, sticking to your original decisions, and hindering your spending are the best things to do if you are concerned with staying within your budget. It is important to be gentle with yourself too, however. Know that it is acceptable to change your mind during the process. Remember before you started this endeavor how excited you were to have your dream home? Think back to what excited you most. Make sure that those needs are being met and the rest will fall into place. Be practical about your budget, but be practical about what it is that will keep you enjoying your custom home for years and years to come.