Blog

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a House?

A Home's Floor Plans.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?

When you are ready for a new home, you may want to consider getting a home custom built, rather than searching on the market for one you like. Depending on where you live, a custom home design may cost more upfront than buying a home, it has distinct advantages over buying. On average, the median cost of a current 1,500-square-foot home is about $223,000, which is about $148 per square foot. The average cost of a new construction is $289,415. While this is much more expensive at first glance, depending on where you live, the median size of a new construct is about 2,467 square feet, so you’re actually paying about $103 per square foot.

Another distinct advantage of a custom designed home is that you’ll only be paying for features you want. For an existing home, you’ll likely pay extra for interior or exterior features you may not want. If a custom home sounds worth considering and you’re ready to discuss custom projects in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, you’ll want to reach out to the experts at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We offer a full range of solutions for home design. Give us a call at (817) 736-6323.

How can I design my own house?

The custom home design process can be stressful and complicated, but can also be a great and educational experience. The first step in the process is to find a builder that fits with your personality, one that you feel confident you can work with. Builders will have a variety of plans available and can walk you through the whole process from initial sketches to the moment you open the doors. But, before you go to a builder, you’ll want to do some initial planning yourself.

Some initial planning advice includes:

  • Starting simple: Do some pencil-and-paper brainstorming, listing features, making rough sketches and working out ideas.
  • Thinking about the future: Take into consideration the future like whether you’re going to have children and how many or if you may have to take care of aging parents at some point. 
  • Making considerations about the lot: If you have a lot already, take in all the considerations about geography and topography when it comes to considering features and locations of rooms.
  • Prioritizing the features: As you rough out your ideas, begin to prioritize your features to know what you want more and how it will fit in a budget.
  • Considering function and flow: Begin to narrow down the design with the designer to get a feel for the function and flow of the different features.
  • Reflecting on light: Throughout your design process, always keep in mind your natural light and how rooms will be affected by natural light.

Who makes blueprints for houses?

For a custom house design, one essential person you’ll need is an architect. The architect will develop the blueprints for your new home. This is key to the design. An architect and engineer will often work together on the blueprints to make sure the design is sound.

How can I design a house online for free?

With the Internet, custom home design ideas aren’t hard to find. While you can find paid sites, there are many sites online as well as apps for your phone that can aid you in your design efforts. These sites and apps are great tools to use in the planning stages to design your new home. The plans can be saved and printed to share with your builder or architect. 

What is the best website for house plans?

With so many sites and apps available to create custom house design plans you might have trouble finding a site with all the features you want. Below is a list of some of the best sites online:

  • Architectural Designs
  • Builder House Plans
  • Dream Home Source
  • House Plan Shop
  • The House Plans Guide
  • Floorplanner

Some, like Architectural Designs, provide an archive of house plans that can be customized to suit your needs. Others are more hands-on, giving you the opportunity to play around with the design yourself. Open Prairie Custom Homes also has some basic floor plans that you can use and customize to your liking. For us, the sky’s the limit when it comes to designs.

How much does a custom home design cost

Costs will vary for custom home design. A significant factor that will impact the price is location. But you will also have to budget in who the builder is, as well as architect and engineer fees. On average people pay anywhere between $200 and $400 per square foot. Smaller homes may be less. Some custom home builders will not design homes under $1 million while others are happy to design any size home. This is another reason why you want to find the perfect builder for you, and what you have in mind. 

A Custom Home

Custom home design near me

If you are considering custom home design in Weatherford and Aledo, TX, look to leading builders like those at Open Prairie Custom Homes. We can help you at every stage of the process from initial design to finding the right land to the final build. Learn more about how we can help by calling (817) 736-6323.

Why choose a custom home builder?

home being custom built

Get the home of your dreams

When you reach that time in your life that you can afford a custom home to build from the ground up, it can be an exciting time, and it can be a headache, and it can be scary.  This is a home that you hope to spend the rest of your days in, or for the foreseeable future, anyway. There are custom home builders all around us these days, especially in this part of Texas.

Land developers are moving east, west, north, and south of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and custom home builders are flocking in with them. It is a sign of the times that the old-timers hate to see, but the younger, happening now group is ready to see it.

So, when it comes to having a custom home built, where do you start? Do you know how to find one out of all the custom home builders in the area that you want to live in? Do you have your own house plans, or do you want to choose from custom home plans that are offered by custom home builders with floor plans already designed and just waiting for your final touches?

With having a custom home built and choosing the right one from all the custom home builders are around today, how do you know you’re getting the right one for you? There are so many concerns and questions, and it is understandable because this is your home. It is an investment. You will spend a lot of time here and a lot of money.

How do I choose a home builder?

When you make that decision to travel the road of having a custom home built, the first decision is important: Choosing the right custom home builder FOR YOU. Just because your sister and her husband loved theirs, that doesn’t mean that is the right one for you. It also doesn’t mean that because a co-worker has had a horrible time with any of the custom home builders, they’ve used, it doesn’t mean you will too.   

You want a builder that will be a partner in this venture, a partner that will bring your dreams to life. A partner that will ultimately hand you keys to the house that is your forever home. This is not the time to settle for less.  We offer you these 5 tips to consider when you narrow down the right one out of the many custom home builders: 

Quality

For the money you’re paying, this isn’t a temporary place to rest your head. This will be your residence, your home, where your kids will grow up and the grandkids come to visit. You will entertain here; you will spend quiet nights and hectic days here. There will be birthdays and holidays celebrated and a place to relax on a rare Saturday afternoon. 

Repairs are the last thing you should need to be concerned with, especially with any of the structural systems critical to a home. The quality of a builder’s work should be the first thing you check into. Ask to take a tour of a completed past project and ask for a reference. As about the structural materials that are visible. 

Having a solid foundation throughout your home is key to the longevity of it, and experienced quality custom home builders use nothing less than high-quality products. From the framing in the beginning to the finishing touches like countertops and flooring. Ask all the custom home builders you’re considering what materials they use, so you’re getting the quality-built home that you’re paying for. 

Research

It’s overwhelming to narrow down the right one out of the many custom home builders out there today. Start your journey by researching where your future home will be located. Custom home builders stay in certain areas, so you can find out who is building in that area and browse their portfolios and floor plans. While we stated earlier that your sister and brother-in-law’s builder may not be for, it doesn’t hurt to get recommendations from others about local custom home builders. 

Transparency

Most custom home builders are fully transparent and will happily answer your questions right from the beginning. They will promptly provide a comprehensive estimate and timeline and share their philosophy. They will talk about the products that are used in their homes and the different people they work with, including contractors like electricians and plumbers. If any of the custom home builders you interview can’t provide you clear, straightforward answers, move on to the next one. 

Questions

If this is your first time to have a custom home built, you will have questions. Every custom home builder of quality shouldn’t have any problem with that. Remember, this is your money, and this will be your home. You may ask questions and be informed of the whole process. The only stupid question is one that isn’t asked. 

Communication

You want to find a custom home builder that you can connect with, including their design team. The ideal customer home building team will ask you questions AND listen to your answers, learn your goals, and see your vision. They will strive to understand what design and products will fit your lifestyle the best and connect your needs and wants early on so that headaches are avoided. 

Any custom home builder that takes too long in responding to you could be the sign you need to find another one. Custom home builders worthy of their reputation will always respond promptly, making you feel that you are the only customer they have.      

What questions should I ask a builder?

When you’re choosing one from the many custom home builders in this area, there are important questions you need to ask, and you need to get answers for them. The following questions can help you choose the custom home builder right for you and the home you want to create:

  • How long have you been in the custom home building business?
  • How many custom homes have you built?
  • Do you have full insurance and licensing for this area?
  • What are the most benefits of the custom homes you build?
  • What is your new home warranty?
  • Do you have references you can give me of prior custom homes you’ve built?
  • Do you have model homes for touring?
  • If not, can you make an appointment for me to see a custom home you’ve built?
  • What energy-saving features do your custom build homes feature?
  • Do you build custom homes from your plans or can you build from my plans?
  • What are the standard features do your custom-built homes?
  • What options and upgrades do you offer?
  • Who will oversee the construction of my custom-built home, the custom home builder vs general contractor?
  • Who should I contact with any questions I have, you or the general contractor?
  • Can I make changes or upgrades during construction?
  • When will I have the final price for my custom-built home?
  • Will I have access to my home while it’s being built?
  • How long will it take to complete my home?
  • Are there homeowner’s association fees or Architectural Review Committee?
  • What is your inspection process during construction?
  • Who will do the final walk-through with me?
  • How long will changes or corrections take after the walk-through?

What is the most expensive part of building a house?

The framing of a house is the expensive part of building a home when good quality wood is used, and framing a house takes a lot of wood. For an average 3-bedroom 2 bath house of average size, farming can cost upward of $25,000 or more. This includes framing studs, sheathing, and trusses.

Custom home and lovely garden

How can I save when building a house?

Buying a custom-built home isn’t cheap and will probably be the biggest investment in your life. There are things you can do that will save you some money though:

  • Set a budget you’ll stick to but flexible at the same time
  • Research several custom home builders and be selective
  • Look for custom home builders that are offering incentives
  • Research the appliances you have installed
  • Don’t be shy about fake wood floors
  • Go with the standard and budget for upgrades later

If you’re reading this because you’re about to start that custom-built home journey, congratulations! Our biggest advice we can give you is research, research, research and be flexible. A quality home builder will strive to meet your dreams and goals, but some things may be out of their reach and out of your budget. Flexibility is often the key to happiness.  Want to get started on your custom built home today in Weatherford and Aledo, TX? Call Open Prairie Custom Homes at (817) 736-6323!

What is a custom home design?

home design and blue print

Getting the home of your dreams

If you could design it from the very beginning, what would it take to make a house your custom dream home? What custom home design features would be on your must-have list and what would be on your ‘nice to have’ list? This is one perk of being able to afford a custom home are the custom home designs. You choose the features you want, don’t want, upgrade certain features, etc. It’s not just picking a color scheme, but picking the appliances, the flooring, the lighting, and more. 

It can be exciting to know your next home will be a custom home design and build. There are so many custom home designs within different builder’s wheelhouse today. Then there are builders that work with a client’s own custom home design ideas, creating the ideal home of their specific liking and avoiding their specific dislikes. 

What are the types of house designs? 

If you will have a house built with your ideas, likes, and dislikes, the design is all you. There are builders that focus on specific styles though, and the ten basic home styles are:

  • Cape Cod
  • Country French
  • Colonial
  • Victorian
  • Tudor
  • Craftsman
  • Cottage
  • Mediterranean
  • Traditional Ranch
  • Contemporary

What is the most popular house style?

Since 1876, in the United States, the Colonial-style house has been the most popular overall. They typically have several fireplaces throughout their two or three stories and were built with either brick facade or wood facade. Custom home designs were not thought of at the time, but each home may have an owner’s special touch.

What is modern house design? 

Architecture described as “contemporary” and “modern” are often used interchangeably, and they are totally two different styles, actually. Contemporary architecture is constantly changing and is hard to give a firm definition because it is “the style of the moment”. A contemporary designed home may have some custom home designs to it by borrowing from other styles and frequently the different styles are used in the same house at the same time. 

 “Modern” architecture is a very distinctive style that originated in the early 1900s and continued into the 1950s. It is a defined style all its own, never borrowing for any other style, and it never changes, it will always be considered as modern. 

Can I design homes without being an architect?

Each state regulates the practice of being an architect, there is no federal law governing architecture.  You must be an educated, trained, or licensed architect to design a house in many areas of the world to offer custom home designs.  The consensus is that without architectural education and training, your design most likely won’t be good, but anyone can draw up a house plan, many home builders do just that. 

You can purchase custom home designs house plans from other that do that, there are books with house plans. People have created their own house and had a structural engineer stamp it, which if you will have a builder build the house, they may require that stamp. 

In some states, architecture falls under “title” laws and some are considered “practice “laws. In a state with “title” laws, not just anyone can call themselves an architect unless they have somebody with a title stamp their plans. In a state with “practice” laws, you must be a licensed architect. 

How do I design a house plan? 

This list can be so long and will vary from person to person! There are so many facets to be considered and we all have our different “must-have” and “wanna have” things. That list will change with the years too, because of our lives changing, like getting married, having kids, grandkids and pets, our hobbies and passions change. 

Still, there are the basics, and this list will include those basics, plus many things that people who have gone through custom home designs before and wish they had thought of it after the fact.

Closet and Organization

  • Lots of closets and include electrical outlets in the closets.
  • Closets should have space for double and single hung rods.
  • Kitchen area should have a full-size broom closet in the pantry or laundry room.
  • Add more linen closet space than you think you need.
  • A mudroom with cubbies and an electrical outlet in each cubby.
  • A motion sensor in each closet and the pantry.

Bath

  • Outlets in each bathroom for night lights.
  • Outlets inside all cabinets.
  • Heated towels racks.
  • Do not caulk around the toilet – it hides leaks.

Electrical and Plumbing

  • Prewire security system and cameras.
  • Run wire for future solar panels.
  • Separate 20z circuit for A/V and TV equipment with waist height outlet.
  • Pre-wire inside and outside for speakers.
  • Pre-wire for generator.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors near all bedrooms.
  • 220V to garage.

Master Bedroom

  • 4 plug outlets.

Heating, Cooling, and Vacuums

  • Central Vac.
  • Plan furnace vents.
  • HEPA filtration.

Overall

  • Fire extinguishers.
  • Pocket doors where possible.
  • Soundproofing.
  • An inside button for automatic garage door.
  • Additional support on the top of windows for window treatments.

Outdoor

  • Run conduit under the driveway for future electrical wiring or plumbing.
  • Prewire speakers indoors and outdoors.
  • Ensure you have electrical and water outlets all around the house.
  • Cold and hot water outdoor to wash pets.
  • Prewire exterior for motion sensor lights.
  • Keypad entry on front door and garage door.
  • Exterior gas line for outdoor grill.

Kitchen

  • Electrical outlets in pantry.
  • Wide islands with cabinets on both sides.
  • Custom storage organization in drawers.
  • Custom shelves in pantry.
  • Outlets above cabinets.
  • Set up for both electrical and gas.
  • Swiveling pantry door.
  • Copper tubing for ice maker.
  • Microwave counter with drawers.
  • A knife drawer.
  • Pull-out cabinetry for garbage and recycling.
  • Drawers for every lower cabinet.
  • Easy-access for appliances frequently used.

Lighting

  • Light switch in attic and in hallways.
  • Master bedroom switch to control all exterior lights.

Holiday Preparedness

  • Outlets under eaves and easy-access switch for holiday lights.
  • Ample storage for holiday décor and lights, seasonal wreaths.

Pets

  • Specific area for pet food.
  • Specific area for cat litter box.
  • Specific bathing area for dogs.
  • Storage place for dog crates.
  • Exhaust fan near pet area.

With so many things available in the house building industry today,custom home designs are limitless in its offerings. Even with the most basic of house plans, the roofing, the walls, the flooring, can all have an owner’s private touch, thus providing custom home designs. Dial (817) 736-6323 today for your custom home design in Weatherford and Aledo, TX.

The Difference Between Custom Builder and Production Builder

A Custom Home Under Construction.

A Difference in Pricing

First off, the most recognizable difference is the price. Production builders buy materials in bulk and pay less for labor, therefore, the home costs less. When you buy in bulk, you get a discounted price, but you also get a lesser quality product. Also, when you pay your labor force less, the quality of the workmanship goes down. If you pay someone $500 to install your tile in the bathroom or you pay someone $1,500 to install your tile in the bathroom, which job will give you a better result? 

Paying more for material and labor equates to a better finished product. This leads to a longer lasting home free of maintenance and upkeep for quite some time. I tell my clients you won’t have to do anything to the home until it’s time to start updating appliances and equipment in 10 to 15 years. This makes for a worry free and durable home that stands the test of time.

More Location Choices

Next, your choice of location with a production builder is which lot in the subdivision do you want, if you’re lucky. Custom builders will build on your land, or a piece of their land, or they can help you find land to build on.

Customized Floor Plans

There is very little customization to floor plans available with production builders. You can choose between one of their floor plans and make some minor changes, but you can’t typically change the footprint. With custom builders, your possibilities are endless. We make several visits, sitting down with the architect and designer, if necessary, to design the perfect floor plan for your needs and budget and contour/slope of your land.

Pleasant, Stress-Free Experience

Finally, the experience with production builders is just that — production. It may seem like you’re just a number on the assembly line. As a true custom home builder, I make the experience as pleasant and stress free as possible, giving plenty of time to make finish out choices, and making changes as we go.

In my opinion, the biggest difference between production and a true custom home builder is a builder that doesn’t take on too much work, so that they don’t have time to devote to each client, individually. This ensures not only a perfect home but a perfect home building experience.   

Call Us Today

Are you looking for a custom home builder in  Weatherford and Aledo, TX and surrounding communities to build your perfect dream home? For great quality and dependability, the reliable choice is Open Prairie Custom Homes. Call us today at (817) 736-6323 to find out how we can help you.

The Perfect Home Requires the Perfect Home Builder

A Two-Story Home Under Construction.

Learn about the Most Important Aspects of a Custom Home Builder

So you have probably already put a lot of thought into building a custom home. The decision to build rather than buy alone is a huge one. You want to make sure that it can be done in a reasonable amount of time, you have to decide on a budget and you have to figure out what kind of features your custom home will have. Building a custom home can put a lot of strain on an individual, not to mention a couple or an entire family. And that is all before even considering which contractor to go with. Still, once you have worked out the initial kinks, there are certain aspects that you should look out for when it comes time to hire a custom home contractor. In the following post, we will discuss some of the more important attributes to look for in a custom home builder. If at any time you want to ask us any questions directly, be sure to email us or give us a call here at (817) 736-6323!

Level of Quality

Think about it – your custom home is one that you and your family will most likely be living in for a very long time. The first thing you want to make sure of when selecting a custom home contractor is the level of quality they offer. You don’t want to have to be faced with costly structural repairs just a year or two after your home is completed so it is of the utmost importance that you consider quality first. One of the best ways to check for quality is by asking for references – preferably projects that were completed at least a decade ago. Talking to homeowners that have had their homes built by the contractor you are considering is the best way to gain insight on the level of quality they offer. You can also ask them what kinds of materials they normally work with. If you are talking to someone who sounds like they are going to go cheap on materials or cut corners, you may want to consider someone else. While lower costs for materials may sound enticing at first, you will be spending a lot more in the long-run on future repairs.

Keep It Local

You will want to work with a contractor that is local and has some accountability in the area in which you want to build your home. Let’s say for instance that you are ready to build in the Weatherford and Aledo, TX area. If you hire a company that is nowhere near that area, they don’t stand to lose a lot of face if they do shoddy work because their base of operations is elsewhere. Working with a local company that has some status in your area is a good way to ensure a quality job. Asking friends and neighbors in the area could help select the right candidate.

Communication

Building a custom home from scratch can be a long process so before you even start, ask a lot of questions. Ask about materials used, timelines, past experience estimates and anything else on your mind. The contractor you choose should be communicative because building a custom home is a collaboration between owner and builder. When your partner isn’t good about being available to field your questions and listen to your ideas, the project may not come out so great.

Tours

Does the company you are considering offer tours of previous homes that they have completed? Some will and some won’t. That is not to say that ones that don’t are not high quality but they should at least be able to provide you with a comprehensive portfolio of their past work. If they do offer tours take advantage of them. They are a great way of gauging the quality of the company and getting an idea of what they are capable of building.

Consultation

Initial consultations are key to successful collaboration with a custom home builder. Be prepared before your initial consultation. Be sure that you have at least a general idea of what you want your home to be like. Bring pictures if you can too. Pictures of what you have in mind (either physical pictures or digital images from the web or your camera) will give the contractor a visual of what you are looking for and help them determine whether or not they can handle it. Ask a lot of questions at the consultation as well and be sure to get estimates.

Here When You’re Ready

A Building Contractor Placing Trusses On a New Home Construction.

We Can Build You the Home of Your Dreams

At Open Prairie Custom Homes, we are here to help with your project when you are ready. We use premium materials, customizable floor plans, maintain a strong line of communication with our clients, and can provide references. When you want a custom home in Weatherford and Aledo, TX and the surrounding areas, give us a call at (817) 736-6323 to speak with one of our custom home builders.