Building a custom home is an exciting process, full of opportunities to tailor every detail to your family’s needs and preferences.

Though it can be overwhelming, the meticulous planning and decision-making involved in creating your custom home design is more than worth it, as it will ensure it perfectly aligns with your vision and lifestyle. 

If you’re at the beginning stages of building a custom home in Calgary or the surrounding area and not sure where to start, let us help. We’ve outlined our top 5 tips to help you navigate every stage of this rewarding process

Tip 1: Define Your Vision & Priorities

When you picture your future custom home, what does it look like? 

Getting real about your vision for your home in Calgary or the surrounding area means getting specific about the style, size, and features you want included. It means pinpointing your preferred aesthetic, each space’s functionality, and how it will accommodate the lifestyle of everyone living there for years to come.

At Ellergodt Design, we help you get real about your vision and priorities through our comprehensive design questionnaire. We encourage you to show us as many examples of homes and features as you can. 

As we work on your custom home design, we’ll continue to collaborate with you to ensure your vision is clearly articulated and that every step we take aligns with your preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Get specific about the style, size, and features you want included
  • Show your designers as many examples as possible
  • Define needs and non-negotiables
  • Collaboration is key

Tip 2: Choose the Right Location & Lot

The lot you choose to build on can impact home design, value, and enjoyment. If you’re just starting your home-building journey, you may still be looking for the perfect lot. How do you pick the right one for your home and family? 

Factors to consider:

  • Topography
  • Soil and geological conditions
  • Community amenities
  • Zoning and regulatory compliance
  • Privacy and views
  • Usable space
  • Accessibility

Many of our clients already own a lot before they come to us for a custom home design. If you’ve already picked out your lot but are struggling to find its potential, we can help. 

Whether that’s overcoming topographical challenges such as slopes, hills, or uneven terrain, maximizing usable space, or finding the right orientation for natural lighting, we can help you solve a wide variety of needs.


Key Takeaways

  • The lot you choose influences home design, value, and enjoyment
  • Consider critical aspects such as topography when choosing a lot
  • Professional advice is available to help you navigate and optimize lot features
team of residential designers working

Tip 3: Budget Realistically & Plan for Contingencies

Building a custom home in Calgary or the surrounding area requires several professional teams that handle home design, construction, interior design, and more. Then there are the building materials, furniture, appliances, exterior features, and so on. 

All of these things come with a cost, and it’s important to understand them and plan for unexpected changes

To do this, having a contingency fund in your budget is wise, but beginning your home-building journey with realistic cost expectations is too. It’s easy to get caught up in unrealistic cost expectations—especially after watching a little too many home makeovers on HGTV where local construction costs aren’t represented.

We strongly recommend that our clients select a builder in these early stages to make them part of the design process. A trusted custom home builder can provide you with construction costs throughout the design stage, helping to keep them within your budget or notify you what the true cost of your home will be. 

Don’t have a builder in mind? We are happy to recommend excellent builders we have worked with for years. 

Key Takeaways

  • Plan for unexpected changes
  • Set aside a contingency fund
  • Have realistic cost expectations
  • Hire a builder in the project’s beginning stages

Tip 4: Select the Right Team of Professionals

The success of your custom home project depends largely on the team you choose. From home designers to builders and interior designers, ensuring these professionals are right for your project is key. 

When selecting a team, be sure to look into:

  • Credentials and licensing
  • Project history and references
  • Communication skills
  • Experience and specialization
  • Insurance and warranties
  • Collaboration and team dynamics
  • Availability and time frame
  • Cost structure and transparency

Successful home building is a collaborative effort. We strongly recommend securing a custom home designer, builder, and interior designer in the beginning stages of your project. 

Questions to ask potential team members:

  • What challenges have you faced in previous projects, and how did you overcome them?
  • Are you licensed and insured for residential construction in this area?
  • How do you typically manage a project from start to finish?
  • How often do you communicate with clients during the construction process?
  • What is your approach to handling unexpected costs or budget overruns?
  • What is your typical timeline for a project of my size and complexity?
  • Who will be my primary point of contact during the project?

The builders, secondary partners, structural engineers, and energy modeling consultants we work with are the same ones we would confidently choose for our own personal projects. We’re always happy to connect our clients with them, should they be looking for a pre-vetted team.

Key Takeaways

  • The success of your custom home project hinges on the right team
  • Consider factors such as licensing and communication
  • Collaboration is essential
  • Asking the right questions can ensure a team’s suitability

Tip 5: Stay Engaged & Flexible Throughout the Process

Staying actively engaged throughout the design and building process is essential to ensure the final product matches your initial vision. 

But while aiming for your home to resemble your initial vision is important, it’s still critical to stay flexible throughout the process as project challenges are likely. Adjustments to certain features may be required, or permit time frames may take longer than anticipated. 

In any case, setting aside time before the design process takes place is key to ensure your project moves along smoothly. Because we rely so much on feedback from clients, your input is integral to the overall design and its timeline.

Key Takeaways

  • Staying actively engaged is crucial
  • Be prepared to adapt to changes
  • Allocate time before the design process
  • Your input is vital!
Alberta custom home

Your Custom Home Awaits!

Building a new home is incredibly rewarding, but it requires patience, careful planning, and lots of collaboration. Embracing the process with excitement and flexibility is key—as is having the right team by your side. 

Ready to build your dream home? Schedule your consultation with Ellergodt Design today and turn your vision into reality. 


What is the most important consideration when designing a home?

We believe the most important consideration is ensuring the design fits your lifestyle and long-term needs. This means getting clear on your vision, priorities, and practical aspects such as location and budget. 

What’s the most cost-effective way to build a custom home?

Building a custom home cost-effectively requires prioritizing thorough planning, budget-friendly materials, energy efficiency, using space efficiently, and choosing the right builder.