You’re ready to sell your old home and start fresh from the ground up — literally. Building a custom home is an exciting venture. You get to actually create the home of your dreams choosing each detail from the granite countertops to the shrubbery in your front yard.

However, your custom dream home comes with a price tag. Building your own home in Arizona can set you back an average of $289,415. Indeed, according to HomeAdvisor, custom homes can cost anywhere from $350,000 up to 1.5 million+.

In Chandler, Arizona, you can expect your custom home to typically cost $174 per square foot though, of course, your costs ultimately depend on the type of home you want to construct. A trendy tiny home will cost incredibly less than a mansion with several floors and a pool.

So where do you begin? Start with purchasing the right lot of land to build.

Finding the Perfect Property

You have a vision of your perfect home. Now you need a place to put it. You’ll want to find a property that fits your needs. Is the neighborhood on the rise? What will your commute to work be?

But perhaps even more importantly, you’ll want to know if the property has access to water and sewer systems. Be sure to check with the city for any permits you need to build, deed restrictions, zoning ordinances, or regulations about what you can build.

You don’t want to find out too late that the property has home size restrictions or that a new commercial business bought the land across the road from you.

Current lots and lands for sale in Chandler range from $145,900 to up in the millions — note some of these lots do have existing buildings or even homes. And according to the National Association of Home Builders, the average lot of buildable land costs around $85,139.

But before you buy any plot of land, you’ll want to decide on your budget ahead of time and make sure you stick to it as in addition to the cost of the lot, actual construction costs add up quick.

Construction Costs

Before you break any ground, you’ll want to hire an architect and a builder in order to make your dream home a reality.

Generally, an architect, builder, or engineer will cost around 5% to 15% of your construction costs with architects charging $60-$125 an hour and engineers costing $100-$150 per hour.

But once you begin the actual construction, your costs will truly start to add up.

Foundation

Starting with the foundation, you’ll see costs range from $4,000 to $25,000, though the average cost is around $8,000, with prices from $4 to $7 per square foot depending on type of material.

You’ll see foundation prices increase if the land is very uneven, there are large rocks underneath your lot, or if you need retaining walls to prevent flooding.

Framing

The next step is framing — the bones of your home. The framing process will determine your home’s layout indicating how many rooms with their size and location, as well as building the roof structure.

The more complex your design, i.e. more levels or spiral staircases, the higher the cost.

Materials for this process include immense amounts of lumber and metal to build the frame and trusses. All in all you can expect framing to cost you anywhere from $1,500-$6,500.

Exterior

Exterior finishes will truly make your house start to feel like it will be liveable. With exterior finishes the builders will be adding exterior walls, roofing, windows, doors, and garages. And depending on the type of material and house size, these costs range from $40,000-$60,000.

Installing Major Systems

You won’t want to skimp during this step. The major systems include HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Typically, these costs will add up to around $33,000 though the costs could climb depending on size and if you choose to install energy efficient systems.

Interior

This is when your house becomes a home. All the interior finishes will be installed such as insulation, painting, cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, plumbing, lighting, doors, drywall, and more.

Again, costs will vary depending on the type of material. With marble finishes and granite countertops, your expenses will certainly be pricier. To cover your creature comforts, expect to pay from $68,000 to upwards of $85,000.

Additional Costs

These extra costs can include the price of finishing the driveway, adding landscaping, as well as building patios or decks.

However, the biggest additional cost after all the construction is the actual sales price of your home. Your home price is determined by your builder and other vendors which is calculated from the lot cost, your builder’s profit, commission costs, marketing, and financing.

This price can add up to around $190,000 on top of all the construction costs.

If you do choose to go with a custom builder, you’ll need a construction loan that works like a line of credit. Otherwise, if you go with a standard builder who builds homes in developments, you can apply for an FHA loan or conventional loan.

Certainly, developments are another option to save on costs. Building in a planned community, you still will get to pick your lot of land and many of the design features, however, the homes will generally all follow the same floor plan and layout.

You can also save by opting to go with the less expensive options of prefabricated or modular homes. A prefabricated home is built offsite and then is assembled on your lot while a modular home is created in sections and then assembled onsite.

The Top 10 Custom Home Builders in Chandler

1. Alexander Enterprises

Alexander Enterprises is comprised of an impressive husband and wife team who have 60 years of construction experience between them. They specialize in lavish builds of both modern and old world-style estates complete with floating bridges and arched brick entryways.

2. Dahl Luxury Homes

Dahl luxury homes focuses on new trends and contemporary and modern design promising to deliver both exquisite and functional homes. Their focus is on fine details and making you happy by staying within budget and creating the home you’ve always wanted.

3. Desert Star Homes

The Desert Star Homes team has over 40 years of experience and has great connections with experienced and top-rated architects. They specialize in custom homes, home remodeling, and design builds.

4. Reef Builders

This company is a full-service design/build and remodeling firm with a team of experienced designers, project managers, and craftsmen. Reef Builders specializes in residential construction focusing on artistic design and high quality craftsmanship.

5. Nu Wavz Homes

Owners Dan Johnson and Ben Sivert have been in the business since 1985 and use their expertise to create the home you’ve always envisioned — their top concern is your satisfaction.

Nu Wavz Homes specializes in building custom homes, demolition, energy-efficient homes, and green building.

6. Stonecreek Building Company

Continuing a 25-year family tradition, Joe Costello started the Stonecreek Building Company to create truly distinct, custom homes that have been featured in worldwide architectural and design digests as well as have won numerous awards.

Costello collaborates with architectural firms Gordon Rogers, McCoy and Simon, David Dick and Will Bruder in order to create his one-of-a-kind designs.

7. Love Development and Construction

You’ll be working with David Love and his team to create anything from a custom luxury home to a simple remodel project. David is one of the few custom builders that was born and raised in Chandler. He knows the area well and what his clients are looking for in a dream home.

8. Fulton Homes

Fulton Homes lays claim to the title of largest family home builder in Arizona boasting having built over 25,000 homes in the past 40 years.

They work out of a 13,000 square foot Design Center specializing in energy-efficient homes, custom home construction, and sustainable design.

9. Halo Development, Inc

Halo Development, Inc is all about the costumer. Their team will work with you every step of the way during each phase of construction on your new home to ensure that your expectations and vision is met.

Halo Development, Inc specializes in everything from home remodeling and porch design to creating your perfect custom home.

10. FHP Builders LLC

Casey and Greg teamed up to build luxury custom homes by using natural materials like adobe to create houses that are in sync with nature and the surrounding environment. They create homes that feel modern and historic with a focus on energy-efficiency.

Before You Build

You don’t want to make the decision to build lightly. Building a new home from scratch is a huge cost and time commitment.

So before you sell your current home, work with an experienced, local real estate agent who will walk you through the entire process and help you set realistic expectations with your budget and help you look for great property that’s high-value and within your price range.

Your agent will tap into their extensive professional network to help you connect with qualified and expert local contractors and home builders that will be able to create your home vision and stay within your budget.