The biggest and most important factor to consider when deciding on a major home construction project, such as a renovation, remodel or new build, is not the design or even the builder, but the budget. A budget is the amount you are able and willing to spend to get what you want and be happy with the results.

It is imperative to set a realistic budget. Too often, homeowners have unrealistic expectations of how much they can build, and the types of finishes they can install, and stay within their budget. Homeowners also need to be conservative when setting a budget, as projects never get smaller and in actuality tend to grow in scope and complexity over time. Building on slopes, power upgrades, re-roofing and re-painting an entire home and not just the addition are the kinds of things that can exceed a budget.


When deciding on your budget, whether you will be doing a renovation, remodel or new build, think in terms of monthly payments on a loan, rather than the overall cost. Factor in having an adequate contingency or “rainy day” fund in case unforeseen conditions arise. A minimum of five percent of your total budget should be set aside up-front. In most cases, financing your project is the most viable option when you don’t have enough money in short-term savings. Many people earn extra cash for this fund by doing fun activities such as playing casino games from websites like This is only achieved when they play responsibly and a little at a time, where any extra money goes straight into the rainy-day fund.

Financing a home project is more costly and involved than most homeowners think, and requires expert guidance. With so many of Oahu’s families in need of multigenerational living solutions, Graham Builders has teamed up with Graham Mortgage Inc. to provide homeowners with important financing options for a variety of construction scenarios. Since it is common for family members to pool resources, families need to be aware of what is involved in the financing phase before they begin designing.

“A budget is a moving target. As construction cost information is made available, you can assess the value of anything you are considering for your home,” said Evan Fujimoto, president of Graham Builders. “Most everyone starts out with the same mindset; we want what we want, but our budget is typically insufficient to attain our goals. It’s really a question of identifying and balancing wants and needs and prioritizing. Developing and sticking to a budget helps with this.


“At Graham Builders, we don’t spend your money. You, the homeowner, spend your money. You set the budget and we’re responsible for determining how best to allocate your investment to realize the best overall value.”

Since there are many components to take into consideration when deciding on a major home construction project, it is recommended that homeowners consult with professionals, such as Graham Builders and Graham Mortgage Inc., about setting a budget before moving forward with the design. With over 25 years of helping hundreds of Hawaii families design and build their dream homes, locally owned and operated Graham Builders has the experience and knowledge to help today’s families with their budgeting and building needs.

To learn more about setting a budget or financing options for your home construction project, attend Graham Builders’ upcoming free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. To register for a seminar, visit or call 593-2808.

Building Your Home for Life
May 21, 9 a.m.
Honolulu Country Club

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