How do I choose a house plan?

Typically, people already have some idea of what they are looking for in a new home. Sometimes they bring us a drawing they’ve made. Sometimes they show us several plans they found on the internet or in a house plan book, but want to modify them. Once we have an idea of what they want, we build a house that is not only what they are looking for, but also can be modified to really make it their dream home.
Other times, we will take an existing plan but copy the bath or kitchen from another plan. There are all kinds of ways to finalize a house plan. We work with a wonderful professional who draws our plans up and we are more than happy to have you meet with her during the process should you choose to do so.

How should I choose a builder?

When you build a custom home, you will be working very closely with a builder for several months. Therefore, it’s very important that you trust your builder and feel comfortable with them.

You should certainly base your decision on choosing a builder by the quality of their work, their personality, their honesty, and whether or not you think you will enjoy working with them.

In our opinion, building a house should be fun, not stressful. After all, it is “making a dream come true.” Certainly there are choices to be made, but the experience should be should be a fun one overall.

It is also a good idea to talk with subcontractors, bankers, and others who have experience working with the builder you are considering to build your home.

Finally, consider the experience the builder has in building the type of home you want. The fact is, most builders have a “comfort zone” so to speak. Some build houses under $200,000; others focus on extremely large homes.


This is the question we’re asked the most. However, it’s also the hardest to answer until a house plan has been finalized and a lot selected. In addition, the style of the house can make a big difference in cost, as well as your selections of fixtures, floor coverings and appliances.

Our foundations will cost about the same amount per foot regardless of size, unless the lot slopes badly and extra material must be used to create level ground. If the pad is high on one end, piers must be drilled and filled with concrete and steel to anchor the house. Thus, the foundation would cost more per foot.

Two 3,000-square-foot houses could see a difference of as much as $15 to $50 per foot, depending on many factors. If one has a larger kitchen, there will be increased cabinet costs. If one has the garage at the back of house but the driveway still comes from the front street, that home will see higher driveway costs. Some houses are built between existing houses and the fence is already there on two sides, possibly three if there is a house behind it with a fence. Other houses in new developments may need a full fence.

A house with three baths will, naturally, have higher plumbing costs than a house with two. A three-car garage will add about $7,000 to the cost of a house.

A house can have a $1,800 appliance package, which would include a normal stove with an oven and cook top combined, a microwave/vent combination above the stove, and a dishwasher, or a $4,500 package that would include a double oven, a radiant cook top, a dishwasher, a trash compactor and microwave/vent combination, all in stainless steel. Some want commercial-style appliances that may take the costs to more than $10,000.

Floor coverings are another area where costs can widely vary. Good tile sells for $2 per foot, but you may prefer tile that costs $4 per foot. Granite counter tops cost much more than Formica counter tops. A full masonry fireplace costs twice as much as a fireplace insert. Rock labor is four times as expensive as brick labor so a house with lots of rock costs more per foot. Some homes require a septic tank which also adds to the cost of the home.

The reality is that cost per foot of each house is different depending on many factors as well as location. Currently most of our houses cost between $110 and $130 per foot plus the cost of the lot. It all depends on the style of the home and the features you’re looking to have in it.

We do promise that when we price your home, we will make clear exactly why it will cost as much as it does. Then, you are more than welcome to change selections in order to lower or raise costs.
What do I get to pick out for my new house?
You get to pick nearly everything related to your new custom home. Your selections will basically be in the following order:

• Front and back doors  • Window style and color  • Roofing type and color  • Brick, rock or stucco, type and color  • Plumbing fixtures 
• Texture on walls  • Style and amount of trim, baseboards, crown molding  • Style of inside doors  • Paint color for outside trim, cabinets, walls and ceilings and inside trim  • Countertops  • Electrical fixtures, ceiling fans  • Floor coverings  • Appliances 
• Lockout package which includes door knobs, bathroom fixtures 

How long does building a new home take?

Again, this depends on several factors, including both the size of the home as well as the details you want inside it. Most Cornerstone Builders homes are finished within five to seven months after the contract is signed. For more information, please see Steps in Building a Custom Home.
Share by: