Do I Need to Have a Custom Home Design Plan Before Meeting with a New Home Builder?

When you imagine building a custom home, what do you think of first? Does your mind go straight to line items on a spreadsheet, or do you fast-forward to flooring and finishes? Either way, the architectural plan will be the primary consideration that sets everything in motion. Do you need to have an architect’s drawings in hand before meeting with a builder for the first time? If you already have plans, then great—bring them—but if not, remember that a custom builder is the expert who will work with you to you design a floorplan based on your unique goals and requirements. Most custom builders have licensed architects on their teams who work together with you and the builder to create the home you envision.

Ensure that the initial meeting with your builder is productive by following our tips below.

Top Considerations When Meeting with a New-Home Builder


Before you begin discussing a specific floorplan, your builder’s team needs to know where you plan to build. Some builders can help you find a lot, and others may have residential lots they are willing to sell to you. Either way, the property on which your new home will be built determines much about the type of home that can be built. For example, a home with a walk-out basement can only be built on a sloping lot, and a sprawling ranch-style home would require a significantly larger lot than would a more compact two-story home with a smaller footprint. Factors such as trees, vegetation, curb-and-gutter, and utility lines must also be considered, as their presence  (or lack of, in some cases) affects construction costs, timelines, and the placement of the house on the lot.

As you consider potential locations, don’t overlook factors such as your daily commute and the quality of local schools in the area. Remember, also, that the area in which you decide to build could impact the type of new-home options that are available to you, based on existing HOA covenants or municipal code requirements.


While custom home builders possess the optimum skill set and experience to guide you in designing your new home, remember that they can’t read minds. You need to come prepared to clearly communicate your budget and building design preferences. Brainstorm a list of questions you want to ask, and be ready to discuss the answers to questions such as these:

  • What is your budget, and how do you plan to finance your new home?
  • What are the must-have features in your kitchen?
  • Will you be entertaining?
  • Do you plan to age-in-place in your home?
  • Do you have a specific square-footage requirement?
  • How much garage space do you need for cars, boats, RVs, etc.?
  • Do you have a need for any special, uniquely-purposed rooms?
  • Do you prefer stairs or no stairs?
  • Do you want an outdoor living space, or a small backyard that’s easy to maintain?

Thoughtfully considering the answers to these questions prior to your first meeting helps start the building process on sure footing.

Financing Plans

The sooner you figure out the size and scope of your budget, the better. A custom builder won’t be able to give you specific pricing until you’ve laid out a plan and established a baseline for finish specifications, however, working with a mortgage lender ahead of time to receive pre-approval for a specific loan amount puts you in the driver’s seat as you work with the builder on design. Knowing how much money you’ll have to work with helps guide decision-making from the outset, and your builder will thank you for knowing exactly how much home you can realistically afford.

If you haven’t found a specific lender yet, the builder may be able to help you find one, as many builders team with mortgage lenders to provide full client service.

Sheffield Homes is Here to Help You Build Your Dream Home

No matter what stage of the home design process you find yourself, Sheffield Homes is here to help. We’re a locally-grown Colorado company building custom homes for more than 40 years in the Denver metro area and in northern Colorado. We’d love to work with you to design and build your dream home! Get in touch with us today to get started.


6777 Wadsworth Boulevard
Arvada, CO 80003
(303) 420-0056