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!

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!

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day this year brings new meaning to our lives. As we all have been affected in significant ways by the pandemic covering all corners of the earth, we realize that HOME truly where the heart is. We are spending more time than ever in our homes as we seek shelter with those we love and hold most dear.

For Earth Day this year, we need to think all the more about how our homes affect our planet and how they affect our physical and mental health. I think we all realize that building energy-efficient homes that minimize our impact on our world is a good thing; it is something that we have been doing as a standard at Troxel Custom Homes for many years. But this year I think we are all starting to think about how healthy our HOME is for US!  Our physical well being can be affected by heating and air-conditioning systems that ensure enough fresh air is being brought into the home – how is our air filtered and treated, what products are used and how might those affect air quality, and how is light treated (both natural and otherwise)? It’s also important to know how your home affects your mental health. Through the use of thoughtful design, careful product integration, and lifestyle consideration a home can become more than just shelter. It can actually become a refuge; a space that warmly embraces us, an environment that allows us to thrive, and a space that your family and friends recognize as special and uniquely yours. Your home can be the warm and embracing hug that we all wish we could experience more in these trying times.

If you are interested in exploring what that can look like either as a renovation to the home you have now, or a truly custom home built just for you, we are here to talk! The initial conversation where we listen to your dreams and introduce you to our process is free of charge!

Should I renovate? Or build a new home?

Should I renovate? Or build a new home?

The Case for Renovations (remodeling & additions):

a)      Your home is dated, worn, or doesn’t meet your needs anymore … but you really like where you live – remodeling, and maybe an addition, with Troxel Custom Homes can bring your existing home up to date with your current and future lifestyle!

b)     You are moving and have a specific area you want to be in, but just can’t find the right existing home – consider working with Troxel Custom Homes to show you what might be possible to renovate an existing home to meeting your expectation and desires.

Before Renovation
After Renovation

The Case for a New Custom Home:

a)      You are moving to an area where there just aren’t existing homes available but there is available land – Troxel Custom Homes will help you pick the right location and then help you bring your dream home to reality.

b)     You want a home that will fit exactly what your lifestyle demands now and into the future – Troxel Custom Homes can help design and build that perfect home for you.

Foundation of a new home
Finished new home

Whether you choose to renovate or to build, Troxel Custom Homes will work with you to balance your budget, the size/design of the project, and the specifications (finish details) to be sure that you can be happy for years to come in your new space.