Claire Mallison

How to Live a Beautiful Life

Everything You Need to Know About Building a House in Dallas

Including which builder to choose.

The first part is simple: Avoid a bad experience by doing some research. Start with our Best Builders list. Check out certifications. Call the Better Business Bureau. Interview multiple candidates. Speak to references. Make sure your potential builder knows what you want and can communicate clearly. Another great idea is to get specific—ask about the builder’s approach to foundation, framing, insulation, HVAC, plumbing, and electric. You can also call the city building inspection office and ask the chief building inspector about his opinion of the builder.

Now, set your budget. Trust your builder to tell you what things cost, and don’t get stuck on the cost-per-square-foot metric. “When a client comes in [with] a printout from Houzz and his estimation of what something costs per square foot, a whole education process needs to begin,” builder Michael Munir of Sharif & Munir says, “and we start with the myth of square-footage computations.”

Finally, assemble the rest of your team: architect, designer, and landscape architect. Each individual will be looking out for your needs from a different vantage point. Then they can come together to create detailed plans.

Build vs. Remodel

Kurt Bielawski of MORE Design + Build walks us through the questions to ask yourself to find out if it’s time to build or remodel. The first thing? “What do I like about this house now?”


Are you comfortable with the average construction costs for the type of house you want?
Do you have your requirements set (i.e., number of bedrooms, bathrooms, floors, etc.)?
Have you accounted for a landscape architect? Incorporate this into your total plan and budget.


What condition is the house in now? Will it need to be taken down to the studs?
How much reconfiguring needs to be done? For example, are you looking at moving every wall?
Are you happy with your current ceiling heights? Consider building if you have 8-foot ceilings and hate them.

Dallas Homes by the Numbers

We polled our best builders and asked them for the facts and figures that’ll help you see what’s trending in the Dallas market.

The Averages:

  • 5,000 square feet
  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 5 Bathrooms (Most of the builders we surveyed are typically building a full bath for each bedroom, plus a powder room or pool bath.)
  • 3 car garage
  • Pool (58% of homes builders a building include a pool)
  • Formal Spaces (Just more than half our builders found that clients still want that formal dining room, even if it’s just to show off their family heirlooms.)
  • 80% of home owners are still embracing open concept rooms

These five styles are the most popular in town:

  • Mediterranean
  • Transitional
  • Modern
  • Farmhouse

Glossary of Building Terms

Mark Danuser of Tatum Brown Custom Homes knows some details may not be all too familiar for first-time homebuilders. Here’s a handy list of words you should know.


A single vertical part of a staircase railing used between the top rail and either the stair treads or a bottom rail.


The lower portion of the roof that overhangs the exterior wall of the home.


Thin piece of waterproof material (i.e., metal or rubber) installed at joints to prevent water passing into a structure.


A load-bearing ledge or shelf that juts out from a wall to provide support to the structure above. Often seen in countertops, mantels, etc.


An opening that allows water to drain from a flat roof.


This board is tucked away horizontally under the fascia board and is the board that you can see from directly underneath the structure.


The part of the roof that projects out from the wall and includes the fascia, soffit, and any detail trim work.

Muntin Bars

The small wooden bars that divide the glass panes in a window or door.

Finding the best of the best can be overwhelming, especially in a town where business is booming. Allow us to help.

View the 2017 Best Builders List