Daydreaming about your dream home? Deciding to go the custom home route is one of the best ways to transform the vision you have for your family's home into a reality--but it can also be surprisingly easy to let your costs balloon, spilling over your budget and running you into debt. Luckily, here are three steps you can take to ensure that your new house is the home of your dreams without blowing through your budget.

Choose the Right Architect

Finding a skilled architect who is experienced with designing custom homes is the most important step you can take towards building the home of your dreams while staying within your budget. With a list of your ideas and goals in mind, a seasoned architect can help you sift through everything and create a plan for your new home that keeps the most important goal in mind: your budget.

Consider What Spaces You’ll Need in Your New Home

When thinking about what you want from your dream home, it can be tempting to try and maximize your square footage. Remember that bigger isn’t always better; beyond the fact that larger homes are costlier to build and maintain, a home with five bedrooms and an enormous formal dining room might not fit your family of four’s lifestyle. Consider what you truly need from your home, and work with your architect to design around that.

Create a List of Priorities

Much like square footage, many prospective homeowners looking into building a custom home get distracted by all the possible features they can add on. Take time to figure out what’s really important to you and your family. If you enjoy cooking, a larger kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances might be worth it–but perhaps you’re fine compromising for ceramic tile instead of marble for your bathrooms. Making these choices early on and sticking with them will help prevent you from becoming tempted to run over your budget later on in the home building process.