Is Building A Custom Home Worth It? (The 7 Reasons Why It is, They Will Surprise You)
A custom luxury home represents the pinnacle of the housing market. In the sports world, the best of the best, like Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali, and Wayne Gretzky, are one-of-a-kind. That’s what makes them great. Similarly, the best of the best luxury residences in most markets tend to be custom homes. There are several reasons why this is the case, including the desire for a unique property and the fact that you can personalize a custom home to fit your every need and desire.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg- there are a plethora of other reasons why people engage in building a custom home. We’ll cover the big questions you need to ponder before undertaking a custom or luxury home build-including a look at what makes a luxury and/or custom home and a look at the most common reasons why high net worth families tend to look towards custom construction as the ultimate solution to their housing needs.
So, read on to find out if building a custom home is worth it for you!
What Makes A Luxury Home?
Before embarking on your custom luxury home search, it’s critical that you understand what exactly classifies a home as a “luxury” or “custom” property. These terms are often used interchangeably to mean radically different things, so going into your search with a clear picture will make things a lot easier on you in the long run. Let’s look at some of the key points you need to know to differentiate between luxury homes and standard homes.
Custom Home Architectural Design Guide
Architectural design features are perhaps the most outward-facing way to distinguish a custom home from a tract home, also known as a “cookie cutter” home. Designers, architects, and home builders are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to home design. Custom homes are known for bold design elements, depth and movement, balanced massing, color blocking, and introducing a variety of materials. These elements are often complex, highly stylized, and ornate. Most importantly, they are unique, one-of-a-kind, designed specifically for the client’s vision. Custom and luxury homebuyers are often the first to experience the latest and greatest in new home features and tech. These features can range from heated floors to extensive covered outdoor patios and beyond.
But they’re not just in your home- architectural design features determine how the world sees your home. If you’re a fan of The Office, you might recall a scene from Season 2, Episode 3 titled “Office Olympics.” Steve Carrell’s character, the not-so-smooth Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott drives up to a condo he’s just purchased and remarks, “Right there. My sanctuary. My party pad. Someday I can just see my grandkids learning how to walk out here. Hang a swing from this tree.” Then turns around when he realizes he’s not looking at his home, but an identical property across the street.
This scene perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to be a homebuyer with options comprised of a seemingly endless parade of the same old same old. Luckily, if designed properly, no one will mistake your home for the place across the street.
Freedom in Architectural Design
As Americans, we all love our freedom. Custom construction gives you the ability to truly be free when it comes to how you use your new home.
Choose Your Ideal Design Features
First and foremost, custom construction gives you the ability to pick and choose the very best design features for your home- those that will improve your living experience tremendously, and turn a house into your home.
Customize Your Home’s Orientation on the Lot and Protect Your Home’s Million Dollar Views
Whether you’re a big proponent of Feng-Shui or just have an idea in your head of the perfect orientation, a custom construction property allows you to see your dreams become a reality. How your home is oriented can greatly influence how you live in and use your home, including orientation for privacy, aesthetic approach from the street, the amount of sunlight you get, how much wind your property sees, how hot it gets in the summer, and how cold it gets in the winter.
It also has a huge effect on your home’s views. You have the ability to customize and optimize view corridors- ensuring that when you build your home no one else will be able to build up to block your view of the majestic Colorado landscape.
A Fully Customizable Interior
Of course, customizing your exterior and lot position is only half the battle. With a custom build, you’ve got the power to create a living space that is purpose-built to suit the needs of your and your family. Whether you’re a movie buff that has always dreamed of a luxe home theater complete with movie-style seats and a popcorn machine, or a gym rat with a desire for the latest and greatest in-home workouts, you’ll have the ability to build almost anything your mind can imagine. Create dramatic rooms for entertaining guests, or a perfect palace to get away from it all, the choice is yours.
Let’s look at some of the main components of a best-in-class custom luxury home.
Custom Home Style
With a traditional tract home, you’re typically limited to a few home plans, maybe in a few styles. These are the redundant “cookie-cutter” neighborhoods where all homes look mostly the same. You may be able to add some options from a limited list, if applicable to your home plan, style and lot. However, this ability is severely limited when compared to the awesome power of customization options you get from a custom home builder. There is a saying in this arena – with time and money, anything is possible. Home styles are completely up to the customer. Truly custom builders, like Thomas Sattler Homes, will design and build most any style. Your options are near limitless, and will include:
The appliances you select for your custom home are a defining example of when the threshold between luxury and custom is crossed. Instead of being limited to one make and a few models, you can select anything you want. Subzero, Wolf, Viking, and Thermador are some of the more common luxury appliances found in custom homes. When working with a builder, like Thomas Sattler Homes, you’ll receive expert guidance to help choose the ideal appliances for your home, from your gourmet kitchen to your full bar.
In our food-obsessed culture, cooking nourishes you physically, emotionally, and socially. Those of us stuck in our homes during the pandemic got a lot of mileage off of that old stalwart, the home kitchen. Common kitchen appliances include stoves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooktops, and ranges. You will also find appliances in other places scattered throughout your home- like your air conditioner, water heaters, and the various other mechanicals that keep your home comfortable behind the scenes. Some of the pinnacle luxury and custom home appliance brands include:
High-end finishes are an excellent way to accentuate the beauty of your new luxury or custom home. These additions not only add gravitas and style to your home, but they can also potentially increase your home’s resale value should you decide to move and sell the property. Premium quality finishes can help you reflect your individual style out to the world, while at the same time creating comfort and functionality for your home.
While many consider hardwood flooring to be the peak of luxury, there are many different high-end options you can choose. Of course, hardwood flooring is often an excellent choice, as it can add warmth and elegance to a home. Common types of wood flooring in luxury homes include:
When choosing a hardwood floor, you should pay attention to graining and its staining processes- both of which can increase the cost of the flooring itself. White is among the more popular high-end choices, with a wide variety of plank sizes and staining options. Another option that’s picking up steam is reclaimed wood- particularly exotic varieties that are treated and finished to provide the desired look and durability. Wood inlay is another hallmark of custom homes, bringing rich accents to an area and reflecting the homeowner’s style.
People also love polished concrete. It can be finished into almost any shade, and you leave open the option for the addition of a heated floor- something particularly loved in the Mountain West and other regions that suffer long and/or cold winters.
Composites and Laminates
Composites and laminates are not generally used as the primary hard surface in most custom homes, but they can offer solutions to specific needs in various rooms in your home. For instance, these products are sometimes used in lower levels, mudrooms, pet rooms, or hobby rooms for their durability and resilience to seasonal movement of expansion and contraction. Common composite and laminate options primarily include:
-Engineered composite flooring
The primary difference between the three is that both vinyl and composite are waterproof, while laminate is merely water-resistant. This makes them an option for bathrooms, bars, or other areas that could get wet, in-lieu-of tile.
Like all hard surfaces, tile comes in a range of options- from economy to high-end styles. From stone to ceramic, matte to gloss, or very intricate finishes and patterns, tile can be a dramatic finish to complement a room. Tile is carried throughout the home, across flooring, up walls and ceilings, around fireplace surrounds, and even patios. Luxury tile designs can be very intricate and difficult to install, like mosaics, geometric and chevron/herringbone, or a breeze with a large format or subway tile. Porcelain tile is another popular choice, but recently stone has been redefining luxury tile with strong demand. Types of popular tiles for luxury properties include:
Custom Home Size
The square footage and size of your new home are highly dependent on the price you’re willing to pay, in addition to a couple of other considerations that we’ll get into below.
How to Choose the Square Footage of Your New Custom Home
Among the first decisions you’re going to make during the custom home building process is to figure out exactly how large you want the home to be. This is the single largest deciding factor on your overall build budget. When determining the square footage of your new home, you can use these considerations to help find out what is best for your needs:
-Your home building budget
-Plan/layout for the home
-Space actually needed / will be used
-Size of your lot
-Specific costs in your area, including land, labor, material, taxes, and permits
-Enough space to accommodate desired features and upgrades
An embrace of outdoor living is part of the Colorado ethos. We’re one of the healthiest and most outdoorsy states, and this extends to our living spaces as well. Properly leveraging outdoor design features can help extend your home’s livable footprint into the landscape and can amplify the outdoor environment to the benefit of you, your family, and your guests. Popular outdoor living options for custom homes may include:
-Outdoor living rooms (including TVs, speakers, etc.)
-Fireplaces and fire pits
-Outdoor dining spaces
-Covered patios and seating areas
-Outdoor interactive gardens, both for growing food and decorative purposes
-Statues and other features and fixtures
-Pools, jacuzzis, saunas
One of the big advantages of a custom home is your ability to go big. After all, most cookie-cutter homes don’t typically come with an indoor pool or a bowling alley. This is a great way to integrate your interests and your home as well as make a splash when visitors tour your new custom home. Some of the more popular exotic upgrades include:
-Indoor pools, saunas, and jacuzzis
-Plush pet spaces like dog rooms, ornate dog houses, or cat-friendly features and fixtures
Even if you know next to nothing about real estate, you’ve likely heard the saying that “location is everything” or perhaps the oft-repeated phrase, “location, location, location.” While truisms often turn out to be, well, not so true, location is the most important factor for any custom home build. That’s why a property in Metro San Francisco or Denver will cost you substantially more than a similarly appointed property in Kansas, Michigan, or Alabama. Custom builds are not limited to any particular geographic location. While it is true that suburban and rural areas are a prime target for prospective custom home clients, there are also tear-down and empty lot options within cities.
However, many custom construction properties are built in prestigious communities that feature nothing but luxury custom homes. These neighborhoods are often gated and have strict HOA design guidelines. This ensures that all homes meet the standards and criteria that keep the community healthy, looking incredible, and maintaining value over time. Thomas Sattler Homes is proud to build in many of these communities, including:
This Front Range Community sits in Sedalia, Colorado, just a short drive from Denver. Despite its proximity to the city, it offers up more than 1,110 gated acres of wildflower meadows, Ponderosa Pines, Gambel Oaks, and seemingly endless rolling plains. It’s also got 745-acres of protected open space and an excellent balance of nature, privacy, and community. Check out Keep homesites and availability on their website, here.
The Preserve is one of Colorado’s most acclaimed custom home communities, currently in its Final Phase. It possesses a stunning 45-acre nature preserve, a six-acre resident complex with a private pool and tennis courts, and fast access to the Highline Canal and Metro Denver trail systems. All this is just 15 minutes from Downtown Denver. Currently, the remaining units on the site are comprised of one and two-acre lots. Learn more at The Preserve’s website, here.
This luxe resort lifestyle and golf community sits in Waterton Canyon, near the Platte River in Southwest Denver, about 10 miles outside of the city. This exclusive community boasts 243 homesites that feature 360-degrees of the Front Range, including Pike National Forest, the rock rocks of Dakota Hogback, the Ravenna Golf Course, and last but certainly not least, the magnificent Denver Skyline. Read more at their official site, here.
Estancia offers up luxury custom properties in a truly breathtaking setting. The region sits a short drive Southeast of Denver proper, close enough to the city for all your cultural and commuting needs but far away enough that it feels like a truly secluded, welcoming community, replete with open space, greenery, outdoor activities galore, and so much more. Check out some Estancia lots, here.
The Polo Reserve is a gated neighborhood that sits directly south of Cherry Creek Mall in Southeast Denver. The Polo Reserve is comprised of high-end custom homes surrounding the prestigious Denver Polo Club. You’ll know you’re in The Polo Reserve neighborhood when you see expansive private roads, wrought-iron gates, tall stone walls, and eminently manicured greenery. You can find a wealth of different home styles in the area, including Colonial mansions, Greek and Gothic Revivals, Tudors, Tuscan, Mediterranean, and more. Check out The Polo Reserve, here.
Interested in learning more about the best strategies to find your perfect custom home builder? Check out this blog post on our site, How Do You Find A Custom Home Builder (The 8 Most Important Things You Need To Know)
So, after all of that: Is building a custom or luxury home really worth it?
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about what you need to do to make your custom home dream a reality, you’re probably wondering if it’s really worth it to dedicate your time and hard-earned money to create a personalized living space. Of course, everyone’s individual situation, budget, needs, and desires, are different- but there are several very good reasons why people choose custom construction over cookie-cutter construction.
You Can Personalize Finishes and Fulfill Every Item on Your Home Wish List
You can buy a luxury home without undertaking a custom construction project. However, it’s not going to be made to order. This means you’ll likely get many or even most of the features you want, but at the end of the day, you’re still limited to something that appeals to the general public. If you want your unique needs met, you’ve got to go custom. Above, we covered many of the finishes and features you can use to make your new home truly one-of-a-kind. While you may find some of those fixtures, features, and finishes in a tract/production home, you’re far more likely to fulfill every line on your wish list with a custom build.
A custom home isn’t for everyone- but it has the potential to dramatically change how you live your life for the better. Additionally, a seasoned builder, like Thomas Sattler Homes, will guide you through the endless options available with their team’s expertise – including designers, architects, and dedicated project managers.
Design for Your Lifestyle and Get Exactly What You Want
Your life is complex and multifaceted. Unless you’re spending months on the road each year, much of how you live your life revolves around the time you spend in your home. So it stands to reason that you’d want to live in a home that is purpose-built to suit your lifestyle. While you may have some luck finding an existing home that perfectly fits a Yoga-loving ski enthusiast that loves to entertain, you can actually guarantee you’ll find your perfect home by building it yourself.
How design can impact your day-to-day life and your long-term financial future
There are several ways that you can leverage the awesome power of custom construction to make your life better.
Custom homes can help you make the most efficient use of your space.
Luxury and custom homes tend to be larger, particularly in the Colorado regions in which we serve. However, utilizing an efficient use of your space is still highly recommended, both for the ability to resell the home for top dollar as well as for your own quality of life. Custom construction gives you the power to ensure that there is not a single wasted square foot in your home and can maximize the value of every dollar spent. For instance, if you’ve got kids that are moving out of the home or you don’t regularly have guests, you can reduce the number of bedrooms and use that space to build a bigger kitchen or add a designated room like an extra office or home gym. You can also cut down on outdoor landscaping or features that you might not use or want to maintain.
Get as much privacy as you want and need.
In our modern, digitally-connected world, true privacy can seem somewhat fleeting. Advertisers track your website visits, examine what you watch on Netflix, and you’re photographed hundreds of times a day if you live in most urban or suburban areas of the United States. This loss of privacy has also seen somewhat of a renaissance in indoor home and office design, with open floor plans having a major moment starting in the early 2010s to this day. But not everyone wants everyone else “all in their business.”
There is a way to get a respite from everything going on outside your front door- a privacy-focused custom construction build.
There are several ways that you can use design features to add privacy to your new home.
Custom Home Location Privacy Advantages
The first step to creating an eminently private home is to find a secluded area in which to build. While you can find lived-in and new construction cookie-cutter homes in more isolated areas, you will probably not find that perfect combination of location, luxury, and privacy. The best option in Colorado for a private home is to build on a spacious lot, in a neighborhood or area with low to medium density, with a good deal of distance between you and your closest neighbors. However, even if you live in a more densely populated region or city, like Denver, you can increase your level of privacy with the home design, orientation on the lot, and landscape screening.
Custom Home ROI/Return on Investment
Your custom home is not just a place to live- it is also an investment in your future. ROI, or “Return on Investment” is typically expressed as a percentage. It describes your net return on your investment- basically how much you sell the home for, minus the cost of building it, buying the land, and other associated costs.
The net return on your home sale will be a single figure, but you’ll need to add the cost of building to reach a true figure. Luckily, the ROI for a custom construction home is relatively uncomplicated. Calculate how much you paid for the home- including land costs, construction costs, permit fees, transaction fees, mortgage interest paid, taxes, and any other costs associated with building your new home. You then get a rough estimate on what you’ll receive from the sale of the home after costs like agent fees, title and escrow fees, taxes, and whatever else it is going to cost to sell the home to a new buyer.
Custom construction gives you the ability to build your life around this new paradigm. If you’ve got older family members or kids that are soon to come of age, you can build an in-law unit to give them their own space within your home. You can do the same thing with additional guest suites in the home, as custom homebuilding gives you the ability to build for as many or as few people as you plan to have live in the house. So say goodbye to morning bathroom traffic jams and hello to 21st-century multi-generational living. This trend has become more common in the luxury custom arena in recent years, with more families opting for the simplicity of multi-gen home features.
At the end of the day, whether or not a custom home build is “worth it” has to do with your financial situation, lifestyle and the housing needs and wants of you and your family.
-Thomas Sattler Homes
Found a perfect lot in Castle Rock? Ready to buy a tear-down in Denver and get started building your dream home?
Call us today to schedule your free feasibility estimate! Know your total project cost before you commit to any decisions. We pride ourselves on a customer-oriented experience, always putting your needs first.
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For a deep dive into every Denver-region custom construction-related question you can imagine, check out this article on our blog, an in-depth FAQ On Home Building In Denver in 2022 (The 10 Most Important Custom Home Building Questions)
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