As buyers rush for elbow room, chances to do it your way are vanishing

As buyers from Denver rush to upsize their living spaces following the Covid lockdown, those people who imagine themselves building a ‘true’ custom home—one that’s designed around their own preferences, their own tastes in finishes—are rapidly losing their opportunity.

“Builders react very quickly to a market like this, where inventory is so low that anything sells before it’s finished,” says Trent Getsch at Timbers at the Pinery—with some genuine custom sites to show you south of Parker, 25 minutes from the Denver Tech Center.

“If builders know that it’s going to sell, they opt for floor plans and finishes that cater to wider tastes. They start construction on the home, and often won’t meet the buyer until the home is further along.”

The Timbers has some exceptionally nice homes like that, underway for summer delivery (you can meet with the builder now on your choice of those, and pick custom options). But Getsch also has some sites wrapped in Black Forest pines where you can choose a builder and work out your own plan, on your timetable.

Either way, buyers wanting to keep a budget within reason need to choose a site and get started with a builder now, says Getsch. In this pretty area wrapped by Black Forest pines, prices for a 4-bedroom custom-spec ranch were running around $1.2 million in 2019. Today, as the pandemic wanes, prices start from just below $1.5 million.

“Every indicator suggests that people who lock in their price now are going to save considerably over what they’d be paying later in the year,” says Getsch.

Lumber prices are a culprit, says Getsch. Builders report costs for lumber are running twice what they were before Covid; and that other materials follow suit—urged along by home remodeling projects as well as new construction.