4 Steps to a Hassle-Free Custom Home Design and Construction

Custom Home Design Tips

We’re the first to admit: there’s a lot of fun to build a custom home from the ground up. There are plenty of exciting choices to be made, from picking out the tiles for your kitchen wall to selecting the hardwood floors for the dining room. But all the stress and worry about making sure that everything is perfect can turn your custom home building project into a nightmare.

The key to a hassle-free custom home construction is having a clear plan from the beginning. To help you, we’ve created a list of four essential steps you need to follow to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

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Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Custom Home

Custom Homes

When it comes to custom homebuilding, everyone has a unique idea on what they want their house to look like in the end. The most professional and creative custom home builders go to great lengths to make that vision a reality for their clients. Sometimes, however, some requests could cost you, the client, and the builder lots of time and unnecessary expense. If you are thinking of finally building that beautiful custom home in Portland, Oregon, here are some costly mistakes that you might want to avoid.

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4 Reasons to Build a Custom Home in Portland Oregon


Portland, Oregon is a utopia, providing residents with access to fantastic schools and a booming job market, surrounded by a picturesque wilderness. Choosing a home in Portland is a big decision, and a difficult one if you have a special type of home in mind.

If you are contemplating a new house in Portland, OR, but are on the fence about which to choose, these guiding principles may be just what you need to take the plunge.


Quality in Craftsmanship

Having a custom home built in Oregon means that you are in control of the quality. The builder is not going to be looking for the cheapest deals to fill the needs of multiple houses at a time. Instead, they get to examine all of the different types of materials available, and then make a choice based on quality, rather than price.

Higher quality will also extend to how well those materials are put together. A custom homes Portland builder is working with a select group of professionals, each with their own expertise to add to the job. With that type of attention being paid to the construction of your home, you can rest assured that not one nail placement is being overlooked.

Built to Suit Your Style

From ultra-modern to classic Craftsman, building your own home gives you complete choice over all stylistic elements.
From ultra-modern to classic Craftsman, building your own home gives you complete choice over all stylistic elements.

Any person who has ever bought a pre-fabricated home knows that no matter how seemingly perfect, there is always that one or two elements that are missing for you. Maybe one room has a closet in the wrong corner, or a window was placed in an inconvenient spot. When you build a custom home in Portland, every single aspect can be controlled by you. With no limits, you now have the chance to finally live in your perfect dream home.

No Messes to Fix

An issue with buying a home from a previous owner is fixing their mistakes once you have moved in. You could rip up carpet, only to find ruined wood floors or realize that the upstairs windows were accidentally painted shut. Even a pristine looking house can be hiding past mistakes that will take your time and money to fix.

When you custom build a home in Portland, every inch is brand new and free of poor color choices, bleach stained carpet, and crayon wall drawings. You and your family are free to create your own messes, without the worry about cleaning up someone else’s first.

Ownership of a Unique Property

Driving through a cookie cutter neighborhood can almost be unsettling. You know there are unique families living behind the closed doors, but there is little outwardly evidence of this. A custom built home is unique, both in its floor plan and its appearance, making it difficult to pull up into the wrong driveway by mistake.

The city’s breathtaking mountain views, tranquil lifestyle and temperate climate give you good reason to want to live in Portland, Oregon. Buying a custom home that you had a hand in designing just makes being a resident that much more pleasurable.

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


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 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.