Amidst the striking landscape of desert vistas and red rock canyons, more and more people are building new homes in Southern Utah with the help of custom home builders like Dennis Miller Homes.

Custom home builders in St. George, Utah (and surrounding areas) can help you incorporate local materials, colors, and designs to create a home that embodies the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape while meeting your budgetary and lifestyle needs.

On top of that, a home construction company local to the area will also know how best to build in the fickle desert conditions and what common building mistakes to avoid. If you plan to build a home in southern Utah, avoid this article's top five home-building pitfalls!

After all, this is your chance to build your dream home in a dreamy environment. The journey ahead can feel long, costly, and sometimes overwhelming. But if you can work with a trusted home builder and avoid these common construction mistakes, you’ll end up with the home of your dreams in a vivid landscape of sunshine and natural beauty.

Lack of Proper Planning and Research

When it comes to building new homes, there’s no such thing as doing too much research and planning. 

Common Planning Mistakes

No Clear Vision

Don’t rush the planning phase. Your first step should be to write down a clear vision and goals for your custom home. What is important to you? What are some of your must-haves? Envision your future home and everything it needs to accommodate your family’s lifestyle.

Ignoring Local Building Codes & Regulations

The last thing you want is for an inspection to end in fines and disappointment. Research the area’s residential building codes and regulations before any serious planning.

Choosing the Wrong Home Builders 

Choosing a custom home builder in Southern Utah is the most critical decision you will make, as it will directly affect every step of the process -- for better or for worse. Research and compare custom home builders and custom home construction services. Scour review boards and portfolios until you’ve found a trustworthy builder to actualize your vision.

Underestimating Budget and Financial Planning

It is highly likely that, in the end, your dream home will cost more than you originally planned. One of the most common errors in building a custom home is failing to prepare for the following:

Unexpected Costs

Expect unexpected expenses. Period. Many unforeseen costs can arise, from clearing trees to needing special permits or structural changes. Leave room in the budget for unforeseen costs (we typically advise between 10-20% of your overall budget) to not hinder construction or scramble to make up for a stressful lack of funds.

Long-Term Costs

You may think you want a custom home fully loaded with all the bells and whistles but don’t underestimate the long-term costs of your decisions. Consider consequential expenses, such as electricity bills, maintenance fees, and other costs required to power and maintain your new living space.

Financial Advisors

When building a custom house, a critical mistake is managing all the financial aspects by yourself. Working with a trusted advisor and credible mortgage lenders can make a massive difference in the overall cost of building a new home.

Overlooking Functionality and Practicality

A widespread construction mistake is to prioritize form over function. An experienced St. George home builder, like Dennis Miller Homes, can help you avoid these common pitfalls. 

  1. Don’t get so caught up in the visual aesthetics that you forget what matters most: creating a safe, comfortable, functional home where you can grow old. Plan function first; style second.
  2. It’s easy to plan for your current lifestyle, but it’s essential to plan for your future. Don’t make decisions now that will negatively impact you 10, 25, or even 50 years from now.
  3. Smart homes are all the rage. A custom home builder can help you take advantage of tech without creating an over-complicated mess of conflicting tech.

Poor Communication with Builders and Contractors

Failure to clearly and frequently communicate with builders and contractors can result in costly mistakes. Establish clear lines of communication with all parties involved in your new build. Keep their contact information organized and set clear expectations about your goals and priorities.

There are so many decisions that go into building a new home. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but if you don’t stay active in making decisions, you could delay construction or contribute to some costly misunderstandings. Any site builder worth their salt will invite you to participate in regular site visits and inspections. Attend whenever possible to ensure you are always updated on the process and any unforeseen issues.

Neglecting Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

We said it once, and we’ll say it again: plan for your future. As you build your brand-new home from the ground up, you have the opportunity to make wise decisions that will benefit you in the long run. Energy efficiency is one such example.

Don’t make the mistake of mindlessly following dated home-building traditions that incur hefty long-term expenses month after month. Take advantage of emerging breakthroughs to make your home energy efficient and sustainable! Spring for solar panels or geothermal energy systems to power your home, add skylights wherever possible, and choose water-wise landscaping designs. 

Dennis Miller Custom Homes Builder

Building a custom home in Southern Utah allows you to design your dream home from the ground up in a beautiful setting. Avoid these new home construction mistakes to save yourself a great deal of time, money, and a whole lot of stress. As long as you research, plan, and communicate, you can establish a powerful relationship with your custom home builder, resulting in a home as beautiful as it is functional and sustainable.

If you’re looking for a custom home builder in St. George, Utah, look no further than Dennis Miller Homes. We have the experience, expertise, and resources necessary to actualize your vision while avoiding all the common home-building mistakes. Contact us today to get started.

Buyers looking for a new home often ask, "How much does it cost to build a custom home?" The cost to build a custom home depends on a range of variables, including the specified location, size of the home, and more. Although many people confuse custom homes with multi-million dollar McMansions, building a custom home means choosing your price.

HomeAdvisor estimates that a custom home can cost anywhere between $350,000 to over $1 million. At Dennis Miller Homes, we tell our clients there is no firm price on building a custom home in St. George, Utah. Instead, our custom home building process allows you to customize your home and budget.

Because you decide which style, features, and amenities you want in your home design the total cost of those will depend upon your selections.

When you work with us, our home builder in St. George, Utah will work with you to set a comfortable budget, whether $400,000 or $2 million.

Our team will present you with a proposal at the beginning of the building process that includes a long-hand bid. This bid will have several different allowances to give you an idea of how much money you will pay depending on your home design.

For example, the long-hand bid often includes an appliance allowance. If you don't use your kitchen as often as other areas of your home, you might decide to install appliances that aren't as high-grade as we included in the bid. On the other hand, buyers who enjoy cooking might want to upgrade their kitchen appliances.

Based on your decision, you can update your budget to reflect how much money you spent on that allowance. Then, you can decide to allocate money from a different allowance or adjust your final budget.  

No matter which option you choose, our team will be by your side to regularly update you on where your money is going. We want you to stay informed throughout the process to make design choices to help you reach your end goal.

Average Cost of a Home in St. George, Utah

Unlike quick builds, prefabs, or used homes in St. George, custom homes are original designs informed by our clients.

Dennis Miller Homes's custom home-building services will help you build a home that reflects your lifestyle and budget. Working with our St. George custom home builder, you will be guided through every step of the design and construction process. 

You will select everything about your new home, from the location to the floor plan to the finishing touches by collaborating with our design + build team. Before you begin the custom home building process, to ensure you understand the cost of building your St. George custom home, our team has outlined a few variables that may affect the final price.

Let's discuss.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Your Custom Home

The Current Market

The current real estate market can dramatically affect the cost of your new home. If homes are selling at a higher price, you can expect to pay more to build a custom home. If the market is low, you might pay steady or, even, discounted prices. 

Other market factors that come into play when building a custom home are lumber or other material costs. The laws of supply and demand means that prices sometimes fluctuate.

It is up to you to decide when it’s the right time to build a custom home.Some homebuyers have a flexible timeline while others must begin the building process immediately. Our team will work hard to meet your timelines and ensure you get the best price for your custom home. We are on your side. 

Custom homes come with a custom price tag. No matter the current standing of the Utah real estate market, there are always benefits to building a custom home, including:  

Location

Although the estimate for construction in the United States is $150 per square foot, that cost fluctuates depending on where you build. For instance, the construction costs for building a custom home in St. George, Utah, are vastly different than they are in Los Angeles, California, or even Salt Lake City, Utah.

The price discrepancy is due to changes of the price of materials, building permits, labor, and other fees by location. No matter where you build, there is always a potential for unforeseen costs. For example,  rocky surfaces require special machinery to remove, which may affect your budget. 

Our team will analyze potential build sites to provide you with an estimate and alert you to any factors that may increase your costs.

Project Scope

Another location factor that impacts price is the project scope. The size of your custom home will directly impact the cost to build it. Generally speaking, increasing the size of your home or the amount of work that it will take to build your home will increase the total project cost.

If you choose to build your custom home on a lot with sloping, you will pay more for grading, foundation work, and retaining walls. If you select a large lot, you may spend more money on landscaping. Other factors may include adjustments for water table levels, reclamation needs, and tree removal.

When you choose the right custom home builder, you can collaborate and agree on a project scope that fits your budget.

Complexity of the Design

How much design work your custom home requires will affect the final cost of your project. For example, if you need a fully customized home plan drawn up by our team, it will cost you more than if you were to alter a replicated design. At Dennis Miller Homes, we offer it all.

Our three-tier design model ensures that you have the home-building services you need to fit your budget.

Specifications

The major advantage of building a custom home is customizing your design. As discussed earlier, your specifications determine the cost of your new home. You will spend more money on larger homes with luxury finishes than mid-grade finishes in a mid-size home. The cost is up to you.

Installing optional features in your custom home will also drive up the cost. One feature that many St. George homeowners love to install in their custom home is an outdoor pool.

While swimming pools are fantastic in a hot location like southern Utah, installing a pool will cost you more money. The variations on swimming pools range from custom designed pools vs. prefabricated liners, hot tubs, fountains, stone and concrete work, slides, or diving boards. 

Our design + build construction team can estimate the cost of your planned outdoor swimming pool in the original bid for your custom home. Together, we can determine how to design a custom home that includes all of your wishes for the right price.  

Other Factors To Consider When Building a home in Souther Utah

Along with the typical construction costs, there are a few more factors that will affect the final cost of living in your custom home. Some overlooked items are landscaping, fencing, and furnishings. 

In addition, a custom home requires having some maintenance items on hand. For many first-time homebuyers, these can be a surprise. Ladders, garden hoses, lawnmowers, and other tools for your home’s daily maintenance and upkeep come with a price tag.

Once you’ve built your beautiful new dream home, you’ll want to decorate it with furnishings that compliment the space and match the finishing touches in your home. Furniture and other home decor can be an added expense.

Landscaping around your custom home may also cost more money than you might expect. Many buyers have an idea of what the exterior of their home will look like but forget to budget for a sprinkler system, sod, plants, trees, and bushes, and outdoor furniture.

Our Dennis Miller Homes design team can work with you to create an allowance for every aspect of your new home, including interior design and landscaping.  

Cost of Custom Home with Dennis Miller Homes

Although building a custom home doesn't include a straightforward price tag, working with the right builder will allow you to comfortably stay within your predetermined budget. Let Dennis Miller Homes be your constant throughout the custom home building process.

At Dennis Miller Homes we offer complete cost clarity to our clients. In the beginning stages of building your custom home, we will draft a long-hand bid that includes approximate project costs.

Then, you can shop around using the allowances that we decided on together. We will provide complete transparency, so you know where every penny is going towards your new custom home's cost.

Trust our home builders to ensure your dream home fits your budget.

Build your dream home in St. George, Utah, by contacting Dennis Miller Homes today.

Owning a home is a goal that the majority of American’s share. Making the transition to home ownership is an exciting opportunity, and, for most, a landmark point in one’s life. There are a variety of barriers that keep this transition from happening. Qualifying for a loan, affording a down payment, or timing in one’s life all prevent renters from becoming owners. However, at Dennis Miller Homes we have discovered another obstacle for prospective homeowners: the fear of maintenance.

Much like death and taxes, having to maintain a house is an unavoidable fact of life. As a renter, a tenant can simply call the landlord or property manager when aspects of the home need to be repaired, changed, or updated. However, when people their own home, that responsibility falls on their own shoulders. Many people are hesitant about owning a home because they fear that responsibility. The fear doesn’t come from having to do the work, but rather knowing how to do the work.

For this blog post we decided to help eliminate that fear and enable you to take steps to owning,  or better yet building, a new home. We’ve come up with 6 common home repairs and tips on how to conquer them.


(1) Fixing a Leaky Toilet

Not only does the constant running of the toilet water get annoying, but it can also be costly. With the water continually running, your water bill is sure to skyrocket; and plumbers these days are not exactly cheap. Follow this link for a step by step guide on how to fix the problem so that you can save time and money.

(2) Cleaning the Refrigerator Coils

Energy efficiency in homes is a dominating trend in the housing industry. A top “energy sucker” is the refrigerator. Keeping the coils clean will help your appliance run efficiently and extend the life of the product. Refrigerator coils are usually on the back or underneath the fridge. Use your vacuum or a coil brush to get your coils to a cleanly state.

(3) Unclogging a Drain

Most people try attacking a clogged drain with Draino or Liquid Plumber. However, we recommend having a plunger and/or drain snake on hand. Once you have used those tools, combine baking soda and vinegar to pour down the drain. Most people typically have those ingredients on hand and it will help you avoid the harsh chemicals of the typical de-clogging products.

(4) Accessing Breaker Panel

Breaker panels are typically located in one of three places: the garage, a utility closet, or in the basement. For larger homes, more than likely there are different panels for either side of the house. We recommend labeling the different breakers as soon as you move in.

(5) Changing HVAC filters

This topic goes back to the energy efficiency of your home mentioned earlier. The more consistent you are with changing your HVAC filters, the more efficient your system will be. This is pretty easy to do. Simply remove the grate holding the filters in place, pop the old one out, and then insert the new one.

(6) Igniting Water Heater

There is nothing worse than running out of hot water in the middle of a shower. For one reason or another, the pilot light in water heaters will go out. Knowing how to ignite the pilot light without having to call a handyman is critical. Every water heater model is different. Older model usual require you to manually ignite the pilot light whereas newer models have built in igniters. Read the instructions located on the water heater to know how yours works.


Being a homeowner is a wonderful adventure. Coming home every day to a place you get to call your own is a very satisfying feeling. Don’t let the fear of maintenance keep you from experiencing the pride of ownership. At Dennis Miller Homes we are more than willing to come back to your house long after closing and make sure your home is running smoothly and efficiently.  Don’t let the fear of maintenance keep you out of the game. Experience for yourself the pride that comes from owning your own home.


What are You Waiting For? Design Your Custom Home Today!

In step 1 of our preliminary process mini-series, we talked about certain things to consider when choosing a building site. We explained the importance of that critical step and how a building lot provides a foundation for designing a home. In today’s article we talk about the next step of the process; arguably our favorite. At this point, we get the creative juices flowing and start dreaming. We call this step The Creation Process.

The Creation Process is designed for brainstorming and dreaming. This process can be done on your own, or together with us as we give input. We’re dreamers at heart, so we love to hear what types of things prospective clients have always yearned for in a home. However, even if a person has been planning the details of their home for years, when they hear the question, “What would you like in your new home?” almost everyone starts to draw blanks.

Because thinking about every facet of your home can be overwhelming, we broke this process down into three different categories: Lifestyle, Features, and Style. Going about the Creation Process while keeping these components in mind will bring organization and clarity to the endeavor.

Lifestyle


Thinking about lifestyle is a perfect starting point. Some people start with features only to realize that they have unnecessary features or that they forgot certain features they really need. We feel it better to start with thinking about your lifestyle and then place the features in a way that will support that lifestyle. Questions you should ask yourself at this point of the creation process include: Do I need space for entertaining? Do I want the main gathering space for my family to be in a great room near the kitchen or in a separate family room? Do I plan to have visitors often who would appreciate their own suite? Do I want more space in the house, or more space in the yard? Asking questions like these help you figure out what is really important to you. It will ensure that your home is perfectly functional and that you are utilizing the space you call home.

Features


As you brainstorm about lifestyle, you’ll notice that the next step, which is to focus on features, will come naturally. If you have decided you need space for entertaining, then more than likely you are going to want a dining space and a large kitchen island or bar. If you want to enjoy St. George sunsets, you’ll probably want a covered patio. Is a jacuzzi tub or fireplace in the master suite something you can’t live without? Do you want your kids to enjoy a pool in the backyard? Some people feel that it is helpful to look at other floor plans to get their wheels turning. Don’t worry about missing certain aspects, we will be sure to bring features to your attention that you may not have considered.

Style


Once you have thought about your lifestyle and the features you want to include in your home, the last thing to go over is style. What do you want those features to look like? This is where your home will start to reflect your personality and creative taste. Do you want your home to look modern? Maybe you like the cozy and inviting feel of french country. Do you want your house to take on the trendy craftsman-style look? Whatever style you choose, we have a team of professionals that are sure to bring all of the components of your home together so that it looks aesthetically flawless.

Some other styles you might consider include the following: Ancient ModernAdobe SouthwestTuscan, and Industrial.


Remember that the creation process is a time to have fun. Try not to get overwhelmed. Reserve judgments on your dreaming. Let the ideas run free. Many people are surprised on the amount of things they can include in their home. As was mentioned above, we love this step in the building process because we get to have fun with our clients. One of the reasons a person chooses to build a home as opposed to buy a home is so they experience this creation process. Make sure you enjoy yours.


What are you waiting for? Design Your Custom Home Today!

You have finally arrived. For the majority of your adult life you have dreamed of building a house that has everything you’ve always wanted and that you get to call your own. Everything has fallen into place. The timing is perfect. You know where you want to live, you’re financially ready, you have a lot picked out, you’ve known your color scheme for years. All that you have left to do is actually build it. Then you ask yourself the question, “Who are we going to use to build our home?”

For most individuals endeavoring to build a new home, choosing a builder will be the most important decision they make throughout the entire process; and more than likely the most daunting.  Many people have heard horror stories of hiring so-called professionals that were a nightmare to work with. With such stories in the background of their mind, many people fear that they will make the wrong choice. After all, this is your dream we’re talking about.

Rather than go into analysis paralysis and prolong the building process, following the advice we have laid out below will give you more confidence when choosing your general contractor.


(1) Get Recommendations

A great first step in choosing your home builder is talking to friends and family. Who have they used in the past? Did they enjoy their experience? Have people in their network talked about home builders they really liked? You might also consider asking what process they used when choosing their particular contractor. Another great place to get recommendations is local supplier stores. Go to your local appliance, window, or materials store and ask them what builder they would recommend.

(2) Talk to Subcontractors

Subcontractors are tremendous resources to get the facts on what it is like working with a particular builder. Once you’ve contacted a certain contractor, ask them for a list of some of their subs with their contact information. Ask the subcontractors what it’s like working with that builder. Does he communicate well? Does he pay them on time? Have past clients been satisfied? What better way to know what it’s like working with someone than to ask the people who do it on a regular basis?

(3) Talk to Previous Customers

If at all possible contact individuals that have used the contractor you are researching. Even if they used the contractor years ago, previous customers provide excellent feedback. Take time to look at the contractor’s reviews on Facebook or Google. When it comes to a home, finding customers of five or more years is invaluable. This will let you know how the product will stand against the rigors of time.

(4) How Long has this Contractor Been in Business?

We all know that every contractor has to have a first day on the job. But in this industry experience matters. Home builders that have been perfecting their craft for years, know how to manage problems and overcome difficulties that are sure to come up.

(5) Meet Face to Face

Before you sign a contract with any home builder, make sure you meet face to face. You are going to be working with this person very heavily over the course of a few months. Meeting face to face will help you know whether or not the two of you will work well together. Is he easy to communicate with? Do you feel like the two of you could work together to solve problems?

(6) What is their Contract Policy?

Some contractors would prefer not to have any written contracts. Others are very organized with their documentation. Make sure you choose someone who documents everything you have agreed to. It will ensure that both parties are satisfied when the building process is complete.

(7) Don’t let Price be Your Primary Factor

Although most people have a budget and price is important, price should not be your number one criteria when making a decision.  There are times when the contractor who has come in with the lowest bid, has done so by cutting corners. Never sacrifice quality and value for a cheap price.

(8) Location Matters

When you are looking for a lot, keep in mind that certain subdivisions require that you use their preferred builder. Before you close on the lot, make sure you know what your options are and whether or not you can use the general contractor of your choosing.

(9) Go with your Gut

At the end of the day, your initial feelings and impressions about a certain professional is probably the right impression. If your gut is telling you no but it logically makes sense, go with your better judgment. This is YOUR home. You know what will be best.


Home builders are often labeled a dime a dozen. That may be true, but here at Dennis Miller Homes we are confident that you will never regret hiring us to build your home. With decades of experience and hundreds of satisfied customers we know how to make our clients happy. We know that choosing a professional to build your home can be a daunting task. However, our team doesn’t want to just build your home, we want to make sure your dreams become a reality.


What are you waiting for? Let’s start building!
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