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Design Build Live - New Home Builder Chicago

Build a new construction home where you are in control. design, Build, and customize as you like

This guide will walk you through our pricing and process for building an energy efficient, new construction home in Chicago and the surrounding area. This eBook includes details on starting model costs, personalizing your home, costs for developing your lot, how to move forward,  and what to expect when you start working with our team.

Whether you have your own lot to build on, or need to find property in your desired location, this will help walk you through our process.

FAQs on Pricing for Custom Homes

What is your cost per square foot?

It depends. When people ask about pricing per square foot right off the bat it often fails to address the details of what is being priced out and the criteria that went into putting that price together. Our take on it is that anyone giving you price per square foot costs without asking you a huge list of questions probably isn’t giving you reliable information. Poor information leads to unrealistic expectations which can make for a less than desirable home build experience.

I have a pretty specific budget, but I still want an eco-friendly home. Is this manageable?

We believe that every family should have access to smarter, greener, more sustainable homes. With that in mind, we created green home solutions that offer different homes that not only range in size and amenities but in price. We want our homes to be accessible and believe that there’s an energy efficient house perfect for every family’s unique preference.

What contributes to the final cost of the home?

Your fixed price agreement (the final cost) will consist of the base price of the home, land development costs, and any upgrades or modifications that you choose. Everything in a BrightLeaf home is priced out and approved by you in our online client portal.When the Fixed Price Agreement is signed, it is guaranteed to never change during construction. Ever.

How do I know what is included with the price of the home? How can I be sure the price given is the actual cost?

We have created exhaustive spec sheets and also have a single online platform for you to digitally sign off on all the aspects of your new home, so it’s abundantly clear what is going into the price. All of these details are what builds the Fixed Price Agreement, which when signed off on, is guaranteed to never change.

How sure are you that the home will actually stay on budget?

By creating a fixed price agreement, that is what you get, a fixed price. If, for some unseen circumstance, your build does go over budget. We eat that cost. Just a part of our guarantee to make sure you know exactly what you’re spending.


What can I expect for the total cost of ownership?

We find that more often than not, most people fail to take into account their utility bills and ongoing maintenance for years to come. Taking these factors into consideration is what we call theTrue Cost of Living for your new home and should be factored in when budgeting for living in your home, not just purchasing it. The science and technology that goes into building a BrightLeaf home may slightly increase your purchase price but significantly reduces many other costs - mainly, the price of utilities and regular maintenance.

Why do lot development fees seem to vary so much?

Depending on the layout and location of your land, costs will vary including permitting costs, local building code requirements, topography, as well as utility locations.

What kind of financing is required to start this process?

If you are looking to get a loan for your build, you will want to get pre-approved for a construction loan. That way when we start designing your home we are doing so to align with your budget.

What is the BrightLeaf guarantee?

You will not pay $1 more than your fixed price agreement states.

All of our homes come with a 1-year slab to shingle warranty. This covers your entire home during your first year there.

We also include a 10-year envelope warranty on all homes to provide an added layer of security and confidence. This envelope warranty covers the structural elements of the home plus the windows, siding, and roofing.

Your home also includes brand new appliances, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems that operate efficiently, effectively, and safely; and carry their own warranties as well.

We’ll revisit you in a month, six months, and one year after you move in to conduct a walk through and ensure your new home is performing as it should.

The lot, land development costs, the level of customization, and add-ons can all alter the price of a new home. This guide will allow you to go through the major steps to get a good idea of where the price of your new home could land. 




"Housing Innovation Award winners represent the top 1% of builders across the country who successfully demonstrate they can meet the federal government's most rigorous specifications for high-performance homes. Zero energy ready homes are designed to provide a whole new level of homeowner experience including ultra-low utility bills, ensured comfort, comprehensive water protection, whole-house fresh air delivery, high-capture filtration, contaminant control, and enhanced durability." 
– Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect at DOE's Building Technologies Office