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How to Create a Budget for Buying Land and Building a Home in San Diego County

How to Build a Budget for Buying Land and Building a Custom Home

Hey everyone. Today I am going to talk about one of the best ways that we have developed to budget a custom home build. I will go into some detail and explain what that process looks like.

Skip the Home Plans First, Find a Builder

We have found that drawing plans at the beginning is a bad place to begin. Typically, you want to locate a builder that is very familiar with your area that you want to build in. They will understand the municipality’s development process of the land, the development costs, timeframes, and length of build. They will also have a great pool of subcontractors that service that area and give good pricing for the area you plan to build in.

Finish Level

One thing they need from you is a very good idea of the level of finish you want in your home. An example of a finish level could be a custom grade or luxury grade finish. A stained open beam ceiling, for example, in one home compared to another with a standard drywall ceiling would indicate a higher luxury finish, which comes at a more expensive price to build.

Once you locate the builder that you want to work with, give that builder the level of finish for your house. Explain the quality of flooring you want, describe the cabinets and countertops. Go through the building materials: doors, windows, wall tile, all of that. Oftentimes, finding pictures is the best way to show them what you’re looking for. The builder may have professional pictures on their website, as we have done for our homes. If that builder has already produced homes with your taste in finishes, they will have a really good idea of what that’s going to cost. That builder should be able to review their cost breakdown for that project and provide you with some ballpark price adjustments based on square footage or other aspects.

Site Costs in San Diego County

Site costs will impact the budget in many different ways. Even the permits and fees can vary quite a bit. You want to make sure that you understand what it’s going to take to put a road in, to complete the grading, to install the driveway, plant any required landscaping for final, etc. All of these things and more add up to a significant chunk of money, which could range from $100,000 to $200,000 depending on the site’s requirements.

The Design Process

After a preliminary budget has been determined, only then is the timing appropriate to begin the actual design process with a builder. Design build contractors are best to utilize in working with you and your architect. Having this team combo will achieve the best home design that meets your budget.

Identifying your budget and site costs will guide you to identify what actual amount of funds will be available to spend on the house, and this amount will affect the level of finishes that can go into your home. Put it all together and you’ve got a package that you can actually afford to build, present to the bank, and obtain an appraisal.

Buying Land and Custom Home Resources

Hopefully this sheds some light on some of the many things to consider. If you want more information on how to buy land or to build a custom home, visit our website at www.freemansconstruction.com. We have many resources that include a custom home building cost guide as well as a land buying guide. You can download all of these on our resources page. Need more information on building, buying, or selling your home or land? Visit our resources page on our “Real Property” real estate website. Thanks for your time and have a great rest of your day.



1. Request a Project Consultation Online or by Phone

2. We Will Meet With You at Your Home or Building Site

3. Establish a Budget for the Project & Start Drawing Plans

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