Little Known Secrets for Building a Custom Home in Asheville

A custom home east of Asheville.

Thinking about building a custom home in Asheville? You’re not the only one. Custom home construction is on the rise nationwide. Results from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) indicate that 20.2% of single-family homes started in 2019 were custom builds, up from 19.5% in 2018. The advantages of a custom home are obvious: you get granular control over the final product, an energy-efficient home with all the modern amenities, and everything from the roof to appliances to flooring is all brand new — which means maintenance shouldn’t be a factor for years. Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and building a custom home has some disadvantages as well.

The first main obstacle between you and the home of your dreams is price. While the Census Bureau puts the cost to build a new home at an average of $397,800, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) offers a steeper estimate of $485,128. Site selection, square footage, and finishing details will play a significant role in your project’s cost—but don’t be surprised if you experience some sticker shock.

The other key consideration when building a custom home is the time you’ll need to dedicate to the project. Your team will be doing most of the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), but you’ll have the final say. That control is a good thing, but it can be taxing. Over the course of your home’s construction, you’ll make hundreds of decisions ranging from major to minute. If you don’t prioritize, decision fatigue can take a mental toll and add a significant dose of stress to your life.

Knowledge Is Power

So is the juice worth the squeeze? We sure think so. Instead of shoehorning your life into a pre-existing property, a custom home will fit you and your family perfectly. That being said, gather as much information as possible before starting the project. Whether this is your first custom home, or you’ve been through the custom construction process before in another location, you should be aware of these three factors that are unique to the Asheville and greater Western North Carolina area:

1. The construction industry in Asheville is made up of lots of small builders

Larger metro areas like our Queen City neighbors will have a home-building industry dominated by a few bigger companies. These groups might churn out several hundred homes per year. By contrast, Asheville has many smaller builders like Kaizen Homes working on anywhere from one to four projects annually.

What does this mean for the prospective buyer? All else being equal, building a custom home in Asheville will cost a bit more. Our local builders just don’t have the same economies of scale as the industry giants. You might also have to wait a little longer to move in. Our builders are focused on doing the job right rather than maximizing efficiency and boosting shareholder profits at every turn. According to the Census Bureau, the average timeline for a new construction home in 2020 was 8.8 months, which is at the shorter end of what you can expect here in Asheville. The good news? Your patience is rewarded with the highest quality. The small builders in our area are staking their reputations on each project, and it elevates the entire industry.

2. Building a custom home in Asheville requires more extensive engineering

We know you’re eager to make your dream of a mountaintop retreat come true, but you absolutely must have a professional look at a prospective site before the purchase. It’s true that you can build on essentially any site. The problem is that steep slopes, creeks and drainages, or unstable soil could quickly eat through your budget. That might force you to make compromises to your dream home that you’re not going to want to make. Look before you leap!

For flatter, less complex lots, an experienced architect can offer advice about building suitability and any design limitations you could encounter. On steeper grades or those with more varied soil quality and topography, have a civil engineer look at the site. The lot is quite literally the foundation of your custom home project. The right one can make the difference between a rock-solid dream home and a frustrating money pit. Always invest in a professional opinion.

3. Asheville and the surrounding areas are growing fast

You’re not the only one thinking about building a custom home in Asheville or the broader Western North Carolina area. Keep in mind that the word is out! Asheville has won countless accolades in recent years, including Airbnb’s #1 Most Hospitable City in the US, National Geographic Traveler’s Top 10 Music Cities in the US, AFAR Magazine’s #5 Best Small City in the US, and many more.

As the remote work trend continues to gain momentum, more people are moving to Asheville than ever. A limited number of homesites and builders mean the price of a custom home is likely to increase dramatically over the next few years. By starting the process as soon as you can, you’ll secure a spot in one of the South’s most amazing locations. And as a bonus, you’ll also get to enjoy your home for longer!

Building a custom home can be an intimidating project, and you probably have countless questions about the process. Kaizen Homes is here to help. We’ll continue to update our blog with useful information, but don’t hesitate to reach out. If you have a specific question or just want to chat, get in touch via our contact form. Prefer a good old-fashioned conversation? Give us a call at (828) 333-4478. We look forward to hearing from you!