In the custom home building process, it's easy to fall into a trap of hearing what you want to hear. We've seen it happen to unsuspecting buyers so many times.
Your Dream Home Wish List
It starts with creating a wish list for your dream home, which includes the size, location, and the features you really want (or at least think you really want). The problem is that wish list falls outside your budget. And instead of telling you the truth about what will fit in your budget, many builders will initially tell you what you want to hear. They say:
"Sure we can build that plan you found online within that budget. Not a problem."
But after you sign the contract and start building, the costs escalate over time. All of a sudden, your dream house is way over budget. Chances are the builder knew that from the beginning, but they roped you into a contract by telling you what you wanted to hear.
Real life example
We're currently building an home for an Oklahoma family who got caught in the trap with another builder. During the preliminary conversations, the other builder assured them they could build the house within their budget. The family committed to the project by putting down a significant non-refundable deposit.
Then the builder created designs that didn't match their budget and told them what they could really afford. They realized they had been victims of what's essentially a bait-and-switch: tell the buyer they can afford everything they want, get them to commit, then tell them about reality once it's too late to back out.
Moral of the story
What's the moral of this story? If you've asked multiple builders about your wish list fitting into your budget and more than one has said no, believe them. Don't keep looking for the one that says "yes." Instead, choose the builder you trust and feel you can get along with, and work with him to find a realistic combination of house plan and budget.