Before You Build Your Custom Home in Oregon…


Imagine moving into a home where every brick, every door and every window has been built to your liking. Welcome to the world of custom homes, an experience that is hard to replicate if you buy a pre-built home. It is often said that your home defines your lifestyle,e and this perhaps explains the overwhelming popularity of custom homes in Oregon as other parts of the United States. Most people think that building a custom home in Oregon starts with finding the right contractor. Yes, choice of a contractor is very important as they will give shape to your ideas, but there are a number of other factors that come into play way before you even start discussing a project with a contractor.


Choose Community Wisely

You may have come across different websites and publications that rank different communities in Oregon. Don’t blindly believe what they say! There is no community that is “perfect” for you to start hunting for a lot, and there is no do-not-buy list either. The fact is not all communities suit every individual and family. There are communities that are conservative while others are liberal; there are communities that are great for retirement homes while are great for a young couple. Choose a community by taking into account all the pros and cons for your specific needs, not just what everyone else is saying.

custom home in oregon
Portland, OR may be the focal point of many parts of the Oregon lifestyle, but if you don’t like progressive, youth-driven culture, it won’t be a good fit for you.


Be Careful With the Lot    

Let’s say you find an awesome lot in your most desired community, and at a great price. You might be tempted to simply pick it up without taking into account whether it is best suited for your particular home idea. Like communities, not all lots are meant for all kinds of property. You should walk on the lot and take note of its dimensions and gradient before you buy it. If you do have a relationship with a contractor already, make sure you get their opinion n the lot before you take the plunge.

Take Note of Amenities

Before you make up your mind to buy the lot, consider the nearby amenities. If it’s out in the country, is access to all required utilities readily available? In urban settings, are there fun places to shop, eat and play for your kids? If you don’t take these things in consideration, you could end up with a beautiful home but limited recreational activities for you and your family.

To learn more, download our guide below to discover your dream home!


4 Considerations When Building a Custom Home in Washington


There are people who stay away from building a custom home thinking it will be expensive and cumbersome. But the joy of designing and building something from scratch to your liking is a feeling unlike any other when you do it right. What exactly does that mean? Here are four things to look for when building a custom home in Washington or Oregon.


#1 Contractor’s Skills & Expertise

The choice of contractor when building a custom home in Washington is almost as serious as choosing a surgeon for a surgery. If they are inexperienced in the area and aren’t used to building in the PNW, you might run into problems. You need to carefully review the skills and expertise of the contractor before engaging them in your project. Take a look at their portfolio and the kind of projects they have executed in the past. Never go in blindly and hope for the best when it comes to building a home.

#2 Fix Your Budget

Fixing your budget is as important as finding the right contractor. You need to discuss the project carefully with the contractor beforehand so both of you are on the same page. From start to finish, you need to get an accurate quote from your builder and source funds at least 20% higher than what the contractor has quoted, just in case something doesn’t go as planned or you decide you want to add or modify your original building plan.

building a custom home washington
Good communication around financial matters is key to having a memorable homebuilding experience.


#3 Future Oriented Design

Your needs are likely to change down the road, and would most likely grow as your family gets bigger. So it’s very important that you work towards a design that leaves rooms for future expansions, or other modifications you may want down the road. When you are discussing the project with your builder, always make sure you ask about this. After all, they’ve built a lot more homes than you have and probably have great recommendations when it comes to planning for the future like this.

#4 Eco-Friendly Architecture

If there is one thing that characterizes modern homes, it’s their eco-friendly design. Everywhere in the world, we’re seeing serious concerns for environment and how we have stretched our planet to its limits. Cutting down on power bills and increasing the use of natural light has become as important as choosing the right storage plan for your kitchen. Also, in case you decide to sell, energy efficient homes tend to find buyers easily compared to those that rely on power for lighting, cooling and heating purposes.

The Importance of a Great Kitchen


At Elk Ridge Custom Homes, we get dozens of inquiries each week. For the majority of our clients, the kitchen is one of the most important topics of discussion. As custom home builders, we believe if your home has a heart it surely has to be the kitchen. We’ve built all kinds of homes, from the cozy ones to properties that are dressed in luxury. We can say one thing for sure: a great home starts with a great kitchen, and this article explores a few reasons why we hold this belief.

It’s a Continuing Tradition                 
If you go back into history and take a look at the remains of ancient buildings across different cultures, you’ll find that kitchen has always dominated home architecture. Early human civilization was centered on food, leading the kitchen to be one of the most important parts of any home. This tradition has continued well into our modern world.

Resale Value         
When it comes to building smart, you can’t really go wrong by investing in your kitchen. Square footage, a nice kitchen and a great master bedroom are three of the most deciding factors that determine a home’s resale value. While you may not be that concerned with resale value if you are building a home for yourself, it’s good to be smart about this in case life changes and you do find yourself relocating down the road.

custom home kitchen example
Always invest in a great kitchen when building your custom home — you’ll be glad you did!


It Defines Your Lifestyle   
The kitchen is where you welcome and entertain most of your friends and guests, and its décor and layout cast an impression in their minds. In this way, your kitchen can really define your values and lifestyle around hospitality. Naturally it’s also the most expensive room in your house, so treating it with high priority can make a real statement to all you welcome into your home.

It Is Where the Family Meets
Regardless of whether you have a small or a large family, the kitchen is the place where your family meets to have dinner, share their stores and create memories! It’s the place where kids often complete their homework and where couples can reconnect at the end of the day with a nice glass of wine. A modern kitchen serves as the control center of your home, creating a focal point for establishing memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Given the importance of kitchen to your home and life, you need to carefully plan the project. Take note of the size, layout and storage – these are the three vital things that make a good kitchen. The idea of a modern kitchen is constantly evolving, so make sure you research the possibilities and adopt a design that suits your needs and defines your lifestyle.

At Elk Ridge, our standard kitchen is one of the best out there. Download our free PDF now to learn more about our process, and specifically how we can build the kitchen of your dreams!

To learn more, download our guide below to discover your dream home!



Building a Custom Home in Vancouver, WA


As we are headquartered in Vancouver, WA, we have a special place in our hearts for any projects that we do in this area. We know the market, community, and everything else very well so you can be sure you get the perfect homebuilding experience. For this post, we look at four specific things that are crucial to building a custom home in Vancouver, WA or anywhere else in Oregon and Washington, the areas we serve.

custom home vancouver wa
We welcome the opportunity to build your custom home in Vancouver, WA – our home base!


#1 Know Your Needs
The process starts with knowing your needs as the very idea of custom homebuilding is based on a niche space that is defined by your goals and aspirations. How big of a home you are looking for? How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms do you want to have? Are you looking for an attached or detached garage? These are very important question that should be discussed and listed out before the process even gets started. You will be asked all of these questions from your builder anyway, so you might as well be prepped ahead of time.

#2 Hire A Seasoned Builder
There are dozens of builders who can build homes in our Vancouver area, but not all of them have expertise in building custom homes. This is why you should be extremely choosy while hiring a builder for your project. Go deep into their portfolio to get a thorough feel of the projects they have executed in the past. If you don’t do your due diligence here, your dream home could turn into a nightmare. Additionally, make sure the builders you hire must be fully licensed and insured.

#3 Consider The Lot
Before you start discussing the project with a custom home builder you need to make them aware of the size, dimensions and gradient of your lot. This is very important as not all floor plans may be compatible with the shape and size of your lot, or your house could end up looking like it was forced into place. We are very experienced with this and can suggest the right kind of floor plan for your lot.

#4 Resale Value
Even though you might be convinced this is your lifelong home, the statistics say you are likely going to move again! Because of this, you should always keep the resale factor in your mind when building. Over customization and too “unique” ideas may prove to be an obstacle in attracting a buyer. Also make sure that the plan you work on is extensible and allows for modification and improvements as this is what most buyers look for while choosing a property.

Getting an FHA Loan for a Custom Home


Are you looking for options to finance your custom home? If you don’t have a lot in the bank, FHA (Federal Housing Administration) could potentially offer very flexible, attainable options for you. At Elk Ridge Custom Homes, we have helped several clients build their custom homes thanks to our model that makes this and other traditional financing options available – even for a custom home project.

Today, FHA loans are among the most popular mortgage programs for Americans. Once restricted to low-income groups before last decade’s economic meltdown, they’ve since gained immense popularity and are being used by people across the income spectrum. In fact, analysts credit the FHA program with saving the housing market during the most recent meltdown.

What Is an FHA Loan?
The idea behind this mortgage program is to help borrowers qualify for the loan they need and reduce the risk for the lenders. It is a win-win arrangement where loans are easily made available and lenders can also find customers without additional acquisition cost. Apart from home building, these loans can also be used for refinancing a property and come at the most attractive rates.

fha loan custom home
Even first time home buyers can build a custom home with FHA financing!


If you have a high credit score (580 or higher) you can be able to get mortgage with mere 3.5% down payment (article written May 2016). The flexibility of the loans makes them very popular. You can choose a 15 or 30 year repayment pla, keeping your options open for whatever works best for your budget – now and in the future. This loan program also allows home builders to bear the closing costs on your behalf, making it the perfect mortgage plan for a custom home project. In fact many customers looking for custom homes prefer the FHA program over traditional construction loans – they just aren’t able to secure them without other partners in place

At Elk Ridge Custom Homes we help you get FHA loans easily through our financing partnerships. We work with great lenders offering financing through FHA loans and would guide you through the entire process. The beauty about the entire FHA program is that you are eligible for financing even if you don’t have the perfect credit score. Over the years, we have worked with dozens of clients who have got their homes financed under the FHA program, which has helped us build expertise with the loan program. If you have a steady job we can talk about your custom home project, even if you don’t have an extravagent budget. Book a consultation with us, or download our PDF below to get started!

To learn more, download our guide below to discover your dream home!



Custom Home Builders: 4 Exceptional Qualities

Just mentioning the term ‘custom homes’ is exciting as it allows homeowners to create a space that is truly tailored to their desires and needs. And the project starts with hiring a seasoned builder for the job. But with so many custom home builders, zeroing in on one can be an overwhelming task. Here are four exceptional qualities that we try to emulate here at Elk Ridge Custom Homes.

#1 Strong Reputation          
As is the case with most other service providers, you need to take note of the reputation of your builders. It takes a lot of time for a builder to establish a strong reputation. When you engage with a reputable builder for your custom home project, you can expect the finest workmanship and enjoy a living space that youll be proud to call your home!

#2 Flexibility in Planning & Execution
The very idea behind custom homes is that “one size doesn’t fit all.” The idea of a dream home is as diverse as every individual. You need to choose custom home builders who offer you a wide choice of floor plans. They should have options for every budget and should be able to work with all kinds of topography. Some builders will only be able to make minor adjustments to their plans, while others will bend over backwards to accommodate you needs. We’re committed to always being in the latter.

custom home builders
Investing time during the planning process is a guaranteed way to minimize stress and confusion during the building process.


#3 Quality of Service           
The third important quality to look for is the level of service. A builder may enjoy great reputation but may not be able to handle special requests while the project is being executed. Similarly, a large builder may not engage their best team for your project, especially if you are looking for a budget home. All these tend to have an impact on the final outcome of the project, so quality of service is a very important consideration.

#4 Patience
Last but not the least, a good builder needs to have patience and should understand that the home means a lot for the customer. It is a big investment decision and you are bound to have doubts and apprehensions in your mind along with the ideas that you bring to the table. A good builder should educate you on the pros and cons of all your ideas so you can make the best choices for the long run. That’s how we approach it.

If you’d like to get started, book a consultation and we will be happy to go into greater detail with you in person or over the phone!

Custom Homes for First Time Homebuyers

The very idea of owning your first home sounds exciting. Who doesn’t like to call a property their own? Apart from the fact that you claim ownership over something significant, you are also in control and can customize it however you’d like. From your own home theater to a wine cellar, your options are limitless. But here lies the big catch; if you buy a pre-owned home or even a newly constructed model, there are certain limits to your customization options. Of course, you can remodel it, but that can get expensive and you are still limited to the original architecture of the home.

Give New Meaning To Your New Life
If you are young couple starting your life journey together, you probably haven’t thought building a custom home is a realistic option. However, this is actually the perfect time to look into your opportunities. You are likely to be filled with energy and ideas for your dream home, and this is the best time to focus on building a long-term foundation for your future. While most young couples dream of a custom home, many drop the idea owning to the fact that they do not qualify for the construction loan to build a home. On top of that, owning the land, having a big down payment and the financial reserves for a contingency fund make this dream even harder to attain. In the spirit of innovation, Elk Ridge Custom Homes has re-invented the custom home model. We have teamed up with financing partners who work with us directly, enabling you to get pre-approved for a regular home loan (FHA, conventional, VA and more) and close after construction. We are so confident in our work that if you walk away from your house, we know we will easily be able to find another buyer!

custom home first time homebuyer
Make your first home a dream home, and every day will feel a little bit like a great family vacation.

Dream it and Get It
Most young couples are very aspirational about their life and living opportunities. With better financing options at your fingertips, nothing should stop you from waking up each morning with a sense of pride for your home. Whether you’ve been constructing ideas in your mind for years, or were awestruck by a home that you spotted during your last vacation, your dream house is more attainable than ever. As custom home builders, we love working on challenges and always strive to help our customers become kings and queens of their own homes. With a skilled and experienced team, we look forward to building you exactly what you want!

To learn more, please download our free e-book below, or you can kickstart the process today by booking a consultation!



Custom Homes in Camas and Washougal, WA

There are few things in life that give you as much satisfaction as owning your own home. A custom home amplifies that feeling tenfold, as you get live in a space that you create from scratch based on your needs and sense of style. There are many different factors that define your idea of a dream home: You need to find a great community, have easy access to amenities you enjoy, and of course, everyone wants good value for their money. If you are thinking about building your custom home in Washington, you may need to start looking beyond Portland and Vancouver.

Tale of Two Cities
In recent years, homebuyers have shown lot of interest in Washougal as a fast growing community of 14,000 located in southwest Washington along the Columbia River. Once a supply camp for fur traders and explorers, it has turned into a hot destination for homebuyers. With plenty of public parks and options for other recreational activities, it is a place gaining strong momentum. A little more than a mile to its west, Camas is garnering similar attention in the realty market. Bordering Washougal on the eastside and Vancouver on the west, it’s home to businesses such as Hewlett-Packard and Sharp Microelectronics, and is a preferred place to live for many professionals.

If you are looking for reasons to invest in Camas and Washougal, we have plenty for you –

Portland Has Become Saturated
Like all other big cities in the United States, Portland has also become saturated. Once a much-sought out place to buy a home, many residents in the city are migrating to the suburbs to escape the suffocation they feel every day in their lives. With the population growing at a brisk pace there is little room for people who want to live in a calm, relaxed environment within the city limits.

custom homes in camas washougal
Portland has become a vibrant, exciting place to live, but many are now preferring a short commute to a home outside of the city.

Growing Communities
Both Washougal and Camas offer great prospects for those who want to invest in a custom home. They have some of the best neighborhoods with easy access to great schools, shopping areas and places for recreational activities. They have also become popular communities among people working in Portland and Vancouver, with a very reasonable commute time.

Return on Investment
If you are building a custom home purely from the perspective of investment, Camas and Washougal would be an ideal pick. The price of realty in Washougal has gone up by 12% in the last one year while Camas homes are growing by 10% (2015). This is a trend that is expected to hold for years to come, as there is ongoing interest in these communities among buyers. Investing in a property here would offer you great returns in the future.

9 Brilliant Reasons to Build a Custom Home

Build Custom and Win


A home is an extension of your personality, which is why people around the world are extremely choosy when they build a home for themselves. There is something special about building a home from scratch, as you watch your dream take shape and offers you a sense of accomplishment and achievement upon completion. Here are nine brilliant reasons why you should build your custom home.


custom home builder
Building a custom home makes your dreams come true each day and every night.


  1. Original Design –Everyone has an idea of a dream home, and when you build one from scratch you can design and style it the way you want. It will always leave an impression in the minds of your friends and family.
  2. No Renovation Costs – Buying a pre-owned home may require you to spend a fortune renovating and remodeling it to suit your style. There are no such costs when you are building one for yourself.
  3. Control Over Budget – When you are building a home, you have more control over the budget. Whether you are looking to build one for a leaner budget or plan to spend serious cash, you can go the way you want from the beginning.
  4. Serves Niche Needs – Every individual and family has special needs for their living space. The home for a young couple would not be the same as for an elderly woman. When you build a custom home, you can design it to serve your needs.
  5. Optimize Space – Every family sees space from a different point of view. While some may opt for a larger garage, having their personal theater or gym might be a priority for others. You have complete control over space optimization with a custom home.
  6. Flexible Model – Often home building is a continuous exercise where you can plan to expand in the future. With custom homes, you can easily leave the scope for an extension down the road.
  7. Quality Control – You have more quality control over the construction material used as well as the quality of workmanship. This is a big advantage over pre-owned homes, where you have to accept what you have and hope for the best.
  8. Safety Standards – Building codes have evolved, as well as the technology that keeps your family out of harm’s way. In your custom home, you’re be able to install the latest safety equipment in terms of fire-safe materials, alarm systems, etc. to improve safety.
  9. Less Maintenance – Since you are building a brand new home, less maintenance is required for at least a few years to come. Whether it’s your HVAC system or your plumbing, going custom gives you peace of mind and time to save for repairs down the road.

To learn more, download our guide below to discover your dream home!



4 Ways to Build Resale Value into Your Custom Home

Building a Valuable Home


The entire process of building your custom home is an exciting and memorable experience. But it is an equally challenging season of life, as you need to make important decisions for the future. Depending on your goals, one of the areas that you may need to focus on is building your house in a way that increases the resale value of the property. Here are four valuable ways in which you can add to the resale value of your custom home.


#1 Treat Each Room As An Individual Entity
Chalking out a plan for your custom home is crucial, and it should be done methodically rather than emotionally. One of the ways to minimize the chances of poor decision-making is to take each room one at a time and treat each area of your home as an individual entity. Each part of your home should be purposefully- built with pros and cons and mind. Do different areas complement each other? Will one part of the house become a disadvantage to the other? This allows you to create a home that is aesthetically appealing and at the same time, comfortable to live, driving its resale value up. For example, building your home with a master bedroom next to the garage might not look bad on a floor plan, but would make for a loud and uncomfortable master suite.               

#2 Focus on Kitchen
The kitchen represents the nucleus a family, as it’s a hub for cooking, gathering, and more. It’s also often where families welcome and serve their friends and guests. It is definitely the most popular place for gathering and entertainment, and of course delicious food. When you are building your custom home, this is one place that should be heavily considered and built around. The sink, backsplash, flooring and the cabinetry all need to be planned carefully, down to the last detail. But keep in mind that over-customization, or doing something very unique may actually deter future buyers down the road.


custom kitchen vancouver home
Investing in a great kitchen is one of the smartest things you can do to add value to your home.


#3 Give Due Attention To The Bathroom
Bathrooms undergo the most wear and tear in any home. For a prospective buyer, they can win the day or lose it. Since you are building a custom home, you have the chance to build smart, durable bathrooms. One of the best ways to do this involves your choice of materials and cabinetry used in the bathroom. Though this can increase your cost a little bit, it will serve as a sound investment if you decide to sell your home.


#4 Maximize Space
Put yourself into the buyer’s shoes and think of priorities that you would focus on when buying a pre-owned home. Space utilization is almost always at the top of your list as everyone wants to live in a spacious home. Although floor space is a physical aspect of the property, proper planning during the building phase can maximize space utilization and make a property look larger than it actually is. With all the projects we do, we work closely with our clients to help them get the most out of their home!