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Home Build prep guide



Your Initial Quote for Home Build

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written by:

Carrie Barker


Your initial quote for your home build can be a little frightening, BUT it’s OK!

Your initial quote is just that … an INITIAL quote.

It doesn’t mean it’s the final price of your house.

It’s just a starting point.

Believe me … it’s MUCH better to get a crazy high quote BEFORE you start building because this allows you time and space to pare your future house down to a comfortable price before you break ground.

Tune into this episode to learn about a concept I teach inside BYB (i.e. creating a REALISTIC budget).

Creating a REALISTIC budget (that you can actually stick to!) all starts with getting an ACCURATE initial quote and then paring it down in a strategic way.

Ready to confidently build a house that you absolutely LOVE … without blowing your budget? Join us inside ‘Before You Build’ (BYB) and get immediate access to the ‘BYB Blueprint’ framework, floor plan feedback, personalized support, and so much more. Click here to get allll the BYB details.

Your Initial Quote for Home Build

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Below is the full transcript for this podcast episode.

Welcome back to the Before You Build podcast. I’m your host, Carrie Barker, aka Caroline on Design.

Today in episode 60, we are talking about your initial quote for your home build. 

This is going to be a good one because I think this is a really scary thing for a lot of people, and it was for me too. 

We’re going to talk about why it’s okay if your initial home build quote comes in higher than you want. 

Seriously, it’s okay.

I’m also going to talk about a concept that I teach inside my BYB program, which is creating a realistic budget. 

We have a whole module on this. The reason we do this is because I want you to create a budget that you can actually stick to. 

The only way to do that is if you create a budget that’s actually realistic, and you can actually stick to it. 

We’re going to talk about that in this episode as well.


Okay, so let’s talk about what a realistic budget is before we go into your initial home-build quote. 

As I said in the introduction, this is a concept I teach inside BYB. I walk my clients through creating their realistic budget. 

We’re going to talk about what that is, and then we’re going to talk about the first step in that module where you get your initial home build quote.

I use the term realistic budget to define a budget that’s based on your clear and honest vision for your home, as well as the amount of money you can comfortably invest in your home. 

A lot of people just figure out how much they can spend. 

That’s great. 

That’s a great start. 

But you also have to be very clear and honest about your vision for your home because a realistic budget can be created only if you are upfront and honest about everything you envision in your home, and you communicate these details to your builder before they give you a quote.

When you hear family, friends, strangers, builders, whoever, saying that ‘most people go over budget’, it’s usually because those people waited until they were in the middle of building their home to really think about what they wanted. 

So their budget was not even realistic because it might be based on finishes that are not what they want.

This is not how you want to go in your home build. You want to have a very clear vision before you build because that’s going to give you a better likelihood of sticking to your budget.


I always tell my clients to get everything out on the table before they break ground. 

Make sure you’ve included everything in your house quote. 

If your house quote comes back really high, it’s okay. 

You just make adjustments from there. 

You make adjustments to your floor plan, your design details, whatever you need to make adjustments to, you do that before you break ground.

For instance, if you think you want extensive trim work throughout your house or 10-foot ceilings or high-end appliances. 

Those are some examples. 

If you don’t let your builder know this before they give you a quote, your quote might come in looking pretty good, but it’s not going to be realistic because once you start building, you’re going to realize that, “Wait a second, I actually wanted 10-foot ceilings,” but your quote was for 9-foot ceilings. 

Right there, you’re going over budget, just with that one thing, and that would be a big over budget.

That’s why we want to get everything out on the proverbial table because your builder can’t read your mind. 

They can’t give you an accurate quote unless you’re completely honest about what you want. 

A lot of times, it’s not that people aren’t honest with their builder; they just don’t know what they want.


That’s why it’s very important to really clarify your vision in such crystal clear detail so that you can tell your builder everything you’re envisioning. 

That’s why the first step in BYB is to clarify your vision. We go so deep because I want you to know everything that you want in your house BEFORE you get that initial home build quote

Okay, so that initial home build quote is going to come in high, and that’s okay because it’s like your kitchen sink quote, like your magical quote. 

If you could have anything and everything you wanted in this dream home, that’s going to go into your initial quote.

Now, we’re not talking about things you know you can’t afford. 

If you know you can’t afford a 10,000-square-foot mansion, we’re not doing that. We’re being realistic about what you can afford. 

But if you know that you want high-end appliances, and again, that’s an easy example, you need to let your builder know that. 

That’s what I’m talking about. 

You throw in all of the things that you want, and then you get your initial quote, and it’s probably not going to be pretty, honestly. 

But that is okay because you haven’t broken ground yet.

That’s the key to creating a realistic budget. 

You have to get a realistic quote for your house. 


I mean, that’s going to start pretty high because you’re telling your builder everything you want, all the bells and whistles.

With that initial quote, really, the sky’s the limit. Other than, again, you don’t want to say, “I want a 10,000-square-foot mansion” if you know you can only afford a 1,200-square-foot house. 

Okay, so we’re going to be realistic there. 

Your initial quote is just a starting point for creating a realistic budget. 

It’s basically your kitchen sink quote, your unicorn quote, your everything you want quote. 

Your quote is going to be higher than you probably want, but that’s okay because this is simply your initial quote. 

It takes into account all of your wants, needs, desires, and most importantly, your vision for your home, how you see the home, and what upgrades you think you’re going to want in the home.

This initial quote is how much it would cost to build your house if you had every single bell and whistle that you wanted. 

When you get this quote, one of two things is going to happen. 

You’re either going to be comfortable with the amount, and get everything your heart desires, which would be awesome, but more likely you’re going to want to puke when you see the initial quote. 

You’re probably going to want to throw up because it’s going to be much higher than you’re comfortable spending or can spend.

I’m not saying this to scare you. 

I’m saying this to prepare you because you’re going to get that initial quote and just freak out. 

That’s okay because you haven’t built your house yet. You’re not in the middle of your build, deciding where your upgrades are. 

That’s when you go over budget, when you’re deciding mid-build. It is so much better to start with this higher quote that’s realistic and then start paring it down.

That’s what we do in BYB. We refine your budget down until it’s something you’re comfortable with, and then you create your splurge and save plan. You figure out where you’re willing to compromise and where you’re willing to invest.

The point of this entire podcast episode is not to scare you. It’s to give you hope and confidence that you will get there. 

You’re going to have this quote that might freak you out, but then all you need to do, it’s still on paper, so it’s okay, you just start paring it down. 

If you need to cut square footage, you cut square footage. If you need to get rid of some of the more upgraded details, like 10-foot ceilings or extensive trim, you cut that out of the budget. If that’s something you really want, and it’s a must-have, you keep it. But if it’s something that you’re like, “Eh.” It’s okay, or something you can do later, like trim, you can do crown molding and all that trim work later. That’s something that can easily be done later.

I just don’t want you to be discouraged. I want you to realize that the initial quote is not what your house costs because you can pare it down to a number that you’re very comfortable with. Then, from there, you can create a realistic budget that really takes into account your must-haves.

That’s what we do in BYB

That’s how I walk clients through the steps of creating a realistic budget. It all starts with clarifying your vision. Of course, there’s some other things that are involved, but that is the most important thing. Just clarifying your crystal-clear vision and communicating that to your builder and letting them know everything you want in your house before you get that initial home-build quote.

Then when it comes back too high, it’s okay. It’s still on paper, then you work on refining it. You create your splurge and save plan, and then you can stick to budget. 

That’s how you stay on budget. Or if you don’t stay on budget, you’re going to stay very close to budget, which I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go 10,000 over budget than 100,000 over budget any day of the week.


Hopefully that gives you a little bit of confidence that it’s okay if the initial quote comes in high. 

You’ve got this; you can just pare it down. 

If you want to learn more about what I teach in BYB, I have a great free training that’s going to teach you the three keys to building your dream home without blowing your budget.

Grab your FREE (virtual) seat for this on-demand training!

Ready to confidently build a house that you absolutely LOVE and is perfect for YOUR family (now + into the future) … without blowing your budget? Join us inside BYB today and get immediate access to the ‘BYB Blueprint’ framework, floor plan feedback, personalized support, and so much more. 🙌 Click here to learn more about BYB.

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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