Custom Homes Are in Everyone’s Reach


Bill Fink, owner of Paragon Homes and past president of the Builders association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh answers some local home buyer’s most common questions. If you have a question that is not answered here please feel free to email us at

Can I afford a custom home?

For years the myth has been that custom homes are too expensive for the average buyer. That is simply not true. Most custom builders believe in giving their customers a complete home from the beginning. They do not strip out all the amenities to then charge the customer for huge markup for options that are really today’s necessary features. In most cases, by the time a customer adds in all the options that they need in their new home they end up at a higher price from a production builder than they initially started out with a custom builder. We build “true” custom homes starting at $300,000 to well over $2,000,000  and that is why we encourage buyers to explore custom building.

Can I build a new home when I still have existing home to sell?

Absolutely! Many lenders have financing options for people that have a home to sell, and statistically the average home in Pittsburgh region sells well within the construction time frame.

pittsburgh-custom-home-builders-paragon-homes-7Do I need a construction loan?

That depends on your builder. We offer our customers the option to build using standard construction financing from several are lenders, or they can choose to use an end loan when the house is complete like buyers from production builders. Both options have advantages, and which one is best for you depends on your particular situation. Most of our clients do choose to use a construction loan because it can save you thousands in closing costs. Ask us about the advantages of each financing option and we can help you determine which one best meets your financial needs.

Are home prices in Pittsburgh house market stable?

Yes, Pittsburgh is regularly ranked among the best housing markets by sources like Business Week who recently ranked us number two for affordability, and the sixth strongest market nationwide.

Why build a new home vs. buying an existing home?

Everything is brand new!!! Some of the advantages of new construction are new kitchens and baths built for today’s lifestyle, new fixtures and appliances, which in turn is significantly less home maintenance. Building new allows you the ability to choose everything about the home from the locations of closets to the size of your family room. Perhaps the most important aspect of new construction is energy efficiency. New homes are built significantly tighter with more insulation and better materials than were even available just a few years ago.

What is a normal price for a builder to charge per square foot?

Unfortunately, square foot prices are impossible to determine without a specific floor plan in mind. Just like a new car can vary significantly based on style, quality and finishes so can a new home. Comparing homes based on cost per square foot can leave buyers with less finishing quality than they hoped for. I encourage buyers to take the time to understand what you are getting for the money you are spending.  After all, buying a home is most likely the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime.

What if I want to make changes to my home?

In most cases with a custom builder the benefit to you is that they are flexible if you want to make changes. Even after construction has begun they will usually work with you, especially if you have changes that need to be made in order for your dream to become a reality.

What are your expectations for home prices in the Pittsburgh region?

While home prices in Pittsburgh have always been steady I do expect to see new home construction prices rise in the coming months. The lack of construction around the country had been keeping material prices down, but with construction around the country returning to normal in hard hit areas I think we will see construction materials increase in cost.

What changes do you see in the housing market these days?

Many home buyers are choosing quality over square footage. What I mean by that is that they are going with a slightly smaller floor plan, putting nicer finishes into the home and feeling confident that the materials used on their home are going to last. I encourage anyone that is considering building a home to take the time to sit down with builders and review their building specifications, which will give them a thorough understanding of what is going into the construction of their home. By educating themselves, it allows buyers to compare apples to apples when choose their builder and in turn it gives them peace of mind when they move into their home.

Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years.  In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa.  In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. You can reach Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807.