An allowance is a way to estimate the cost of certain construction items such as flooring and light fixtures before they have been selected.  This gives you the most flexibility over your custom home project while remaining within the projected timeline.

Allowances make it possible to start a project before all of the construction items have been decided.  To keep things on track, an allowance schedule is created with decision dates for each  item.


Why Allowances?

How Allowance Schedules Work 1

Master Bath in a custom home built by Refined Custom Builders

In most cases selections like plumbing and electrical fixtures are not made until we are well into the building process.  Most people like to take their time to make the right decision with these items, so we allow them to consider their options while we get started on the rest of the house.  Like you, we want to get started building your dream home as quickly as possible.

In addition, waiting a while to decide on certain finishing items allows us some flexibility in case of a change to the build plan.  For example: if square footage is added to one room and reduced from another, and materials for flooring and fixtures had already been purchased, they could potentially go to waste.

Allowances are also a great tool to help you stay within your overall budget.  It can be easy to lose track of the larger budget while deciding on individual construction items.  With an allowance in place, you have a better idea of what you can afford.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about allowance schedules:


How is the allowance Schedule Determined?

The process starts by walking through several of our completed homes to determine your preferred finish levels.  Your preferences, in combination with your budget will determine the allowance schedule for the project.

Then, our design team will get input from you on your preferred styles and finishes.  The more specific you can be, the easier it is for us to come up with choices that you will like.  It helps if  you have pictures of specific items that you may have found online, in magazines, or in one of our completed homes.

The team will then present you with some options that fit your budget in your preferred styles and finishes.  We take in your feedback, and the team adjusts and re-quotes if necessary.


What happens if I go over/under the budgeted allowance for a particular item?

If the selections are over the original allowance budget we will ask you to approve the difference in price.

For example, if your original light fixture allowance is $15,000, but you find a few fixtures you absolutely love that are $1,500 more expensive and put your total lighting package at $16,500; you would pay the difference of $1,500.

However, if your lighting package comes in under-budget, we credit you the difference.

For example, if your selections come in $1,500 under budget you will receive a credit of $1,500 that can be applied to other allowance selections, or taken off the final construction payment.


How do homeowners know they are getting charged the correct amount for allowances?

We always show you the invoices for allowance items direct from the supplier and/or installer.  Any discounts we receive (usually around 10% to 20%), we pass along to you.


Making your dream home just the way you want it

Allowance schedules allow both you and the builder the flexibility to craft a custom home just the way you want it while keeping on schedule and on budget.  If you would like to learn more about the allowance schedule policy at Refined Custom Builders, please contact us using the form to the right or give us a call at 281.589.1185.


Want to get a feel for the type of home that’s right for you in terms of size, rooms, amenities, and build time?

Most of the custom homes we build fall into four categories.  Find out which category is a match for you based on your answers to a few simple questions. It takes less than a minute! Click here to get started.


Here are some helpful related articles on the topic of allowances:

Tips to Stay Within your Building Allowance
What to Know about Builder Allowances
Allowance Policies Benefit Homeowners as Much as Custom Home Builders