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Home Build prep guide



6 Crucial Steps Before You Break Ground

Published on:


written by:

Carrie Barker


If you’re dreaming about building a custom home in the near(ish) future, you might be curious about what steps you need to take before building in order to have a positive home-build experience and to make your future dream home a reality. I’m not going to sugarcoat it … there is A LOT that goes into making your home build a success and it all starts with following 6 crucial steps BEFORE you ever think about breaking ground.


Welcome back to the Before You Build Podcast! I’m your host, Carrie Barker (a.k.a. Caroline on Design), and today in episode 40, we are going over the six steps that make up my signature ‘Before You Build’ Method (which is taught inside my private group coaching program called ‘Before You Build’).

Believe me … I know from experience that the more effort you put into preparing for your home build very early on in the process (i.e. before you break ground), the less stress you’ll feel when the decisions come flying at you and the happier you’ll be with your final results (i.e. your completed home and your mortgage).

Following the six steps in my ‘Before You Build’ Method (i.e. BYB Method) will help you to strategically plan for your home build in a way that makes it easier (and more likely) to stick to your realistic budget, to confidently make design decisions that you won’t later regret, and to bring your beautiful dream home to life … a home that makes you, your family, AND your wallet happy :).

All right, let’s dive into the six steps. 

Psst … you can download this list in my *Free* Custom Home Build Prep Guide.



There are MANY moving pieces that go into building a custom home, so it’s important to create an organizational system to keep all the moving pieces in order. 

Not only will getting organized help you feel more in control of your home build, but it will also allow you to really focus on your budget and your design selections without the stress of wondering where important information is when you need it.

A couple of my favorite organizational tools to use while building a home are Pinterest (to organize all my design inspiration) and Google Drive (to organize all my documents and notes). These are both FREE (!) tools and they help me keep my thoughts, my design inspiration, and any necessary documents extremely organized.

Now if you’re interested in all of the tools that I recommend for organizing your home build, you can find it all inside my ‘Before You Build’ program.


Before your dream home can become a reality, you first need a crystal clear vision of your future home. 

When you can envision exactly what you want your custom home to look like (and feel like … and how you want it to function), it will help you to define your goals for your future floor plan and design details.

By taking the time to thoroughly define your vision and to understand exactly what you want to accomplish with your home, you’ll be able to more successfully communicate your vision and goals to your builder so they can provide you with a REALISTIC quote/budget for your custom home. This alone will give you a much better possibility of staying within budget.


The builder you choose can make or break your entire building experience (including whether or not you stay on budget), so it’s imperative that you do some strategic research and a thorough interview process before you choose a builder.

I highly recommend that you hire a builder with a positive reputation and a track record of staying on (or close to) budget. It’s also important that you feel comfortable with your builder, and that you can communicate well with them because you will spend A LOT of time with them throughout the home build process.


Your budget is the absolute foundation for your entire home build. Your budget will determine your maximum floor plan square footage, your design finishes, and which custom details (e.g. extensive trim work throughout the house) make sense to keep or cut from your wishlist.

It’s critical that you are open and honest with your builder about your vision (as we discussed) so that you can work together to create a realistic budget that takes into account both your financial situation (i.e. your projected construction loan amount + current home equity + ‘cash’) as well as your vision for your home.

This honest and open communication will allow your builder to give you a realistic quote of how much your house will cost which will help you avoid any financial surprises (i.e. budget overages) once you’re already in the midst of the building.


One of the best things about building a custom home is that you get to create your floor plan from scratch.

While this can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task, it’s also SO fun to create a functional floor plan that is perfect for the way YOUR family lives.

When designing your future home, it’s important to thoroughly consider efficient space planning and your overall floor plan design BEFORE you ever start building … and it’s also important to communicate with your builder throughout the process.

You want to have this all hammered out early on because making floor plan changes AFTER you start building is a recipe for budget overages. Believe me!


Designing your dream home (you know … that home that you absolutely love and is perfect for your family) all starts with building your design foundation. This is an ESSENTIAL step that you need to work through BEFORE you start making design selections for your new home.

And we do this inside the ’Before You Build’ Program. There are prompts to help you understand your design style, develop a cohesive design scheme, and choose the best (timeless) finishes for your dream home.


All right … so there you have it. The 6 crucial steps to take before you break ground.

When you follow these six steps (that are taught in-depth inside the ‘Before You Build’ Program), you’ll be well on your way to laying the groundwork for a successful home build that allows you to stay within (or very close to) your realistic budget (yes, please!) and to confidently make design decisions without making costly mistakes that you might later regret. 

Best of all … you’ll bring that dream home vision that’s swirling around in your head to life. I can’t wait to see what you build!

Don’t forget … you can download my *FREE* Custom Home Build Prep Guide which has all the steps we covered today in more detail.

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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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