Why Avoiding “Cost Per Square Foot” Can Benefit Your Beginning Conversations With A Home Builder

Why Avoiding “Cost Per Square Foot” Can Benefit Your Beginning Conversations With A Home Builder

At Troxel Custom Homes, one of the initial inquiries we often receive from potential clients is: “How much does it cost to build a custom home?” We understand that regardless of our clients’ financial circumstances, cost is a crucial consideration, and maximizing their investment’s value is a top priority.

Unfortunately, many clients kick off their search for a builder by asking about “cost per square foot,” believing it’s a practical way to compare builders and determine the size of the home they can afford. We liken this to gauging a car’s price based solely on its weight – while there’s some correlation between weight and cost, it’s not a comprehensive metric for selecting the right car model. Similarly, there are several reasons why the “cost per square foot” question may not be the best approach for home building. Let’s delve into three crucial considerations:

A) Confusing Comparisons: Different builders calculate cost per square foot differently, leading to confusion about what’s included and what the real number is. For example: does the quoted number include unfinished areas, exterior porches, and site work – or account for the size of garages, decks, and outdoor living areas?

B) Risk of Underestimation: When pressed with the “cost per square foot” question, builders may offer lower estimates to avoid early dismissal, hindering meaningful discussions.

C) Potential for Disappointment: Relying on a generic cost structure without considering design, specifications, or site factors can lead to disillusionment when actual costs emerge.

So, what’s a more effective way to inquire about cost?

We understand that having a ballpark idea of the final cost is vital for determining how you can best proceed with your dream of building a new home. By investing a little time in determining your priorities, you can have a more meaningful conversation with any builder about what your costs will be. Be prepared to discuss:

A) Size and Style Preferences: Number of bedrooms, baths, and other spaces (both inside and out) that you want to be included. Also discuss preferred architectural style and general square footage.

B) Site Considerations: Property location, condition, and any unique features.

C) Finish Preferences: Desired finishes, from simple to luxury.

D) Additional Details: Any other preferences, features, and general ideas that are important to you.


Providing this information will enable builders to offer more accurate cost ideas that will align with your expectations. At Troxel Custom Homes, we recognize that both total cost and value are crucial factors in building a new home, regardless of the price point. We tailor our approach to carefully listen to your needs and leverage our expertise to exceed your expectations. If you’re interested in learning more, we’d be honored to guide you through the custom home building process!

Color Trends for New Home Builds in 2024

Color Trends for New Home Builds in 2024

As we step into 2024, the world of new home design is witnessing a fascinating evolution in color trends that promises to redefine the aesthetic landscape of new home builds. From soothing neutrals to bold and bright hues, the predicted color trends for this year are almost as diverse as they are alluring.

1. Nature-Inspired Palettes.

In an era marked by growing appreciation for sustainability and “being one” with nature, home builders are expected to embrace earthy tones and organic hues. Shades like moss green, terracotta, and warm browns are predicted to dominate interior spaces, bringing a sense of tranquility and grounding to living environments. These colors not only evoke a connection to nature, but also create a very inviting atmosphere within homes.

2. Timeless Neutrals (with a twist).

While neutrals have always been a staple to interior design, 2024 is set to witness a shift towards more dynamic neutral tones. Classic whites, beiges, and grays will be infused with subtle undertones, such as soft pinks, muted blues, or gentle greens. This nuanced approach adds depth and character to neutral palettes, ensuring they remain timeless yet contemporary.

3. Tech-Inspired Hues

As technology continues to shape our lives, it’s only natural that it influences design trends as well. Expect to see a surge in the popularity of tech-inspired colors like futuristic metallics, digital blues, and electric yellows. These colors not only reflect our increasingly digital lifestyle, but also add a modern and edgy vibe to home interiors, particularly in urban and contemporary settings.

4. Monochromatic Elegance

For those who appreciate simplicity and sophistication, monochromatic color schemes are set to take center stage. Variations of a single color, such as different shades of gray, will be used to create a cohesive and elegant look. This approach allows for a clean and minimalist aesthetic while providing a canvas for highlighting architectural details.

In conclusion, the predicted color trends for new home builds in 2024 encompass a wide spectrum, catering to diverse tastes. Whether you’re drawn to the serenity of nature-inspired palettes, or the modernity of tech-inspired hues, the upcoming year offers an exciting array of possibilities for creating personalized and stunning living spaces. Embrace the colors that resonate with your style and watch as your home becomes a canvas for self-expression. That is what we love at Troxel Custom Homes. Helping you turn a house, into a home that brings you comfort in the many years to come.

“Should I hire a builder or architect first?”

“Should I hire a builder or architect first?”

This is a question that we hear often as people contemplate a new home or renovations/additions to their existing home.  It is understandable that confusion exists as nearly every builder and architect will give you a different opinion. 

Our intention with this post is not to argue that our opinion on these facts is the only right answer, but simply to describe what we have found to work best.  So, before you need to read any further, here is our answer to the question:

TEAMWORK is best

The best results, in architectural design, specification design, and costs, happen by being able to engage with all the key players early on.  These key players are of course the architect and the builder – but should also include an interior designer and cabinet designer, along with potentially a landscape architect, audio/video/automation integrator, and others (depending on the size and complexity of the project). 

By using a team mentality from the very beginning several favorable results are realized:

  • By including the relevant team members, the intentions are communicated from the beginning, helping the team understand the “why” of the design.  This can reduce confusion or omissions later in the project.
  • A complete team will be able to bring their expertise to the table, providing useful/additional ideas to the project.
  • The team can help provide some cost benefit analysis during the design process, helping the homeowner understand the financial ramifications of ideas before extensive design rework may be required.

An overall project balance can be achieved.  With a team in place, the design, specifications, and budget are all able to stay in alignment – with the homeowner being able to understand the relevant possibilities for the home.


For you, the homeowner, your desire is to get the best design that aligns with your dreams, with the best possible specifications and quality level that meet your expectations, all at what you determine is a fair price.  Here at Troxel Custom Homes we call this the “Troxel Triangle!”  The idea is that the 3 points of the triangle are the Design (what the size and structural complexity of the home are), the Specifications (what you put into the home), and the Budget (what it costs to build the home).  For the Troxel Triangle to be in balance, one of the 3 points needs to stay a variable.  So, in practice, if the design of the home is fixed, and the specifications are fixed – then you will need to understand that the cost for the home will be what it is.  If that cost is too high for expectation, then either the size/design will need to change or the level of the expectations for the specifications will need to change to get the triangle back in balance.  If a team has been involved from the beginning, then the balance of the “Troxel Triangle” can be maintained from the beginning!

We are here to help be your guide through this process.  If you are contemplating building a new home or renovating your existing home, get in touch with us to learn more about how we can facilitate the best possible process for you!

Tips for keeping your new home looking NEW

Tips for keeping your new home looking NEW

It is easy to keep your home looking new the first few weeks, maybe even months, after moving in. You do not want anything out of place, and it is still brand new to you. But when your home starts looking lived in, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking new to you, and new to your guests.

Prior to moving in:

Prior to moving in you will want to make sure all warranty cards are filled out on products included for your home – so when something does go wrong (unfortunately it is almost inevitable), resolutions can happen without having to scramble. Having the warranty cards filled out will make finding who to talk to a lot easier and get you the quickest solution. You will also want to make sure you research moving companies. You will want people moving your furniture that will be sure to respect your belongings, as well as the fact that you do not want your beautiful new hardwood floors scratched. Having protective footing on your furniture will help with this too.

Moving in:

It is also important to establish a maintenance schedule for yourself for things like filters, pressure washing the outside of your home, and landscaping. You can also establish such a program with some of the vendors involved in building your home. Something as simple as cleaning your windows on a regular basis will significantly affect your own perception of your home.

After moving in:

A simple way to keep things looking new after moving in is to make sure things have a home, and they get put where they belong. In theory this should go without saying, but when life happens, clutter can happen quickly. When things get put back where they belong, and there is less clutter in your home, it will help to keep it looking new. Having a minimalist approach goes hand in hand with this. The less “stuff” in your home, the easier it is to make sure what is in your home goes where it belongs. Talking with an interior design specialist can also help you with different storage solutions to make this a breeze.

Making sure your home is kept up and things are in good condition will help immensely in keeping your home looking new. 

“Can my builder be my interior designer too?”

“Can my builder be my interior designer too?”

So many decisions! You are planning to invest a lot of money in your new home in West Michigan, but how do you make sure the finished home is perfect? An interior designer is the person that will take the time to make sure the tile, flooring, paint, and couch all work together – and make sure that your home feels cohesive in its finishes. When done well, a well thought out interior design will move the reactions from guests to your new home from “nice” to “WOW!”

Some builders have internal interior designers, while other builders work with a number of external designers. A lot of this decision is based on client desires and experience. As the client, remember that if you choose to not have an interior designer involved, the builder will need you to work through a lot of details and then you will need to make sure that you get all the right information to your builder by the right time. The builder you are working with will need systems and processes in place to ensure they capture all your details.

Interior designers that are familiar with your builder will take care of all the information tracking and have tips and offer direction. With an interior designer on the team, you can avoid the paperwork and enjoy the process of selecting just the right colors and textures for your new home in West Michigan. At Troxel Custom Homes we would love to introduce you to how the interior design process works with us – we look forward to talking with you about it!

Planning for your future home improvements while in quarantine.

Planning for your future home improvements while in quarantine.

Here in Michigan we have had a “stay at home order” since mid March, giving us lots of time to make a laundry list of things in our homes that need to be done, and things we want changed. Now that we have a list of wants and needs, what next?

Some things, like clearing out pantries, and tidying up the kids’ playroom are things we can tackle on our own. Turn on Marie Kondo, spark some joy, and declutter. Other things, like wanting to add another wing onto your existing home for family expansion, well… you may need some help with that. 

Start with an outline. Browse through pictures, magazines, and websites like Houzz. Save pictures of homes, products, or details you really like so you can refer back to them later. Think about your lifestyle and different aspects of your home that will reflect that. In your renovation, are you looking for more room to entertain (when you can finally have friends over), or maybe a whole room dedicated to music for your talented children to practice and record in? These are all important pieces that can make your home uniquely yours. Now that you have an idea, (or a few) of what you want your home to look like and incorporate, we would love to hear from you.

At Troxel Custom Homes, we pride ourselves in our unique processes that include the homeowner every step of the way to make sure your home is just that: uniquely YOURS. On our website, you can download our New Home Starter Guide. It includes what we talked about above, and more to help you get started, and is a great place to keep all of your notes. We hope you are staying safe, and healthy, and we look forward to hearing from you!