Picking Lots

Picking The Perfect Lot!

If you’re making plans to build a new home in the near future, you probably have a lot of questions that need answering concerning costs. What a lot of people don’t realize is there is a lot of costs savings that can be made long before their home is ever built simply by shopping around and choosing a quality lot. When you’re designing your dream home in your head, you’re probably trying to choose between brick and stone, hardwood and tile, and whether or not to finish the bonus. Tree removal and extensive dirtwork probably aren’t the things that keep you lying awake in bed at night, filled with excitement. Those things, however, can add up quickly and cut deep into your budget before you ever get started if you’re not careful. Here are some tips on lots:


  1. Shop around. Don’t settle for the first lot you come too (unless it’s in the only subdivision you have any interest in being in). Even then, try to negotiate. Depending on how long a lot has been on the market, the individual may be willing to work out a better deal. If not, it was still worth the try. Look for steals. There has been some good improvement in the last few years economically, causing property prices to rise again, but there are still some bargains out there that you can’t pass up!


  1. Consider restrictions. What are the setback requirements on the lot? If you are looking to build a bigger home on a smaller (or odd shaped) lot, there may be an issue with actually fitting the home on the property without overstepping setbacks. Take that into consideration. Also, be aware of any easements. For instance, a piece of property located next to a main highway may have 50’ or more of easement to allot for future road expansion. Utility easements are another factor to be knowledgeable of. Finally, consult the local environmental department about ordering a “Perk Test” for the property before you purchase it if you’re in an area that is going to require a septic system. The conditions of the soil can greatly influence what type of system must go on the lot when a home is built. That, too, can be a major item in the construction budget.


  1. Review the physical features of the lot. How much work is going to have to go into the property to get it ready for home construction? Is it heavily wooded? Is it exceptionally low? Are there any major ditches or runoffs surrounding the lot? The amount of dirt that will have to be moved and the amount of timber that will have to be hauled off can be major contributors to cost.

We want everyone to be able to build the home they want. Property prices can greatly influence that before home building ever begins. Hopefully, this will help you on your search for the perfect lot! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at customhomes@gustafsonproperties.com! We look forward to hearing from you!


Adding A Little Color!

Interior design can be challenging at times. We all want something different but not too different, trendy but unique. This often leads us to popular apps such as Pinterest or Houzz, looking for creative decorations that hopefully, in an effort to stand out, no one else has found yet!

For those who don’t already know, Brooke Gustafson and Michael House are expecting their first child in November! So, like most first time moms, decorating the new nursery was a top priority. With a little help from Kathryn Flynt Smith she was able to take a plain brown bedroom and turn it into a fun, creative nursery for future “Baby House”!

The “Before” picture of little William’s room is shown below:

Baby House 7

Then, with a little hard work…the new nursery:

Baby House 2 Baby House 1
Baby House 4 Baby House 3

Murals are an excellent idea for those individuals who want to take interior decorating a little further than picture frames and knick-knacks. With a little background information, your artist can actually design something unique to just you and your family. It may be that one feature in your home that, in a way, encompasses who you are through artwork.

Kathryn Smith has been painting for years and is obviously very good at what she does! If your considering doing a mural in one of the rooms of your home but just can’t find the right artist, message Kathryn Flynt Smith on Facebook. If you have trouble contacting her, feel free to email us at customhomes@gustafsonproperties.com, and we will pass the message along. If you’re in the market for a new home or looking for a custom homebuilder, visit www.gustafsonproperties.com and contact us today!

Warranty For Custom Homes

Fire Prevention In Your Home!

Fire Prevention week falls on October 4-10 this year. We spend a lot of time discussing floor plans and building trends, but if safety precautions are not taken, your home could become a trap in the event of a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (more commonly the NFPA), there were a roughly 369,500 recorded house fires in 2013 resulting in over 2700 deaths. Often times, fires in the home can be prevented. Here are a few things to consider:

First, make sure there are smoke alarms installed in your home and that they are installed in their proper locations. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside the bedrooms in the vicinity of sleeping areas, and on every floor level in the home. Hardwired smoke alarms with battery backup are preferred over simple battery detectors. Also, make sure your hardwired smoke detectors are all interconnected so that if one activates they all will. You can test this by holding down the “test” button on one of the smoke detectors in your house until it activates. If you continue holding down after it activates, you will hear the other alarms throughout the home activate as well. Smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year (even if your detector is hardwired). A good way to remember this is by changing your smoke detector batteries whenever you adjust your clocks for time change.

Electrical issues are a major cause of house fires. Multi-outlet converters have become increasingly more popular. There just never seems to be enough receptacles where you need them, and these little devices are excellent problem solvers. This can often result in overloaded outlets leading to fire danger. Overloading extension cords is equally hazardous and running them under rugs creates a recipe for disaster. Take no chances when it comes to electrical issues. If a receptacle or wire appears to be faulty, have them inspected by a licensed electrician.

Finally, use caution with appliances and heating equipment. Be sure to clean the lint filters in your dryer after every load. Keep portable heaters a safe distance from everything. When cooking, make sure all handles are kept out of the 6 o’clock position as to avoid spilling any flammable cooking oils. You can never be too safe when it comes to fire safety. Create a home evacuation plan and outside meeting place (commonly the mailbox), especially if there are young children in the home. Explain the importance of fire safety to your children. If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family, fire stations are open to the public at any time!

We love building homes! It brings us joy to see how excited people are when they get to move into their new home. The last thing we want to see is a family lose anything in a fire. Check your home for any fire dangers. To learn more about Gustafson Properties, LLC visit www.gustafsonproperties.com.

ac maintenance

What Is It Going To Cost To Design Your Home?

For most people, the most exciting part of building a new home is the opportunity to make selections and design it exactly how they want! From flooring to lighting, appliances to countertops, the options are endless. What kind of budget are you looking at, though? When customers have a hard time getting a game plan together for their new home, it’s usually because they have no clue what kind of money they are looking at spending to incorporate all of those great ideas into their project. We’re going to try to make that a little easier… starting now!

Keep in mind; all of these are average numbers. If you’re looking to build a new home, what you want is ultimately what affects the bottom dollar. This article is simply to help our customers get a ballpark idea of what they may be spending on any particle option so that they will be better equipped when planning their new home design.

One of the biggest design selections for a customer is cabinets and countertops. For an average size home (2000-2500 sq. ft. heated), you’ll want to set aside at least $8,000 for cabinets (that’s being very conservative). Obviously, this can vary drastically depending on the amount of cabinet space a floor plan calls for. Another thing to think about with cabinets is upgrades. Upgrades are limitless when it comes to cabinetry. Paint (instead of stain), adjustable shelving, elaborate trim, even certain sizes all constitute as upgrades when it comes to cabinets. You can easily take a base price and add $5000 or more, depending on what you’re looking for. Countertops, while they may not be as complicated concerning upgrades, range in price quite a bit as well. Granite, being one of the most popular options today, can run as low as $35/sq. ft. for remnants to $70/sq. ft. and more. When you’re figuring stone countertops, consider the number of sink cutouts in your home. These can run up to $350 apiece and drastically increase your cost.

For appliances, consider what features are going to serve you best. For instance, if you’re the holiday host, you may be interested in a double oven. Do you prefer gas or electric? Will you be bringing your current refrigerator with you to the new home? All of these factors can affect cost. For budgeting purposes, consider entering $1500 in for a basic electric appliance package (smooth top stove, microwave vent-a-hood, and dishwasher). Add about $1200 for a refrigerator if need be. That should give you a good starting point, and you can upgrade as you see fit.

Lighting is one of the most popular selections among customers. Good lighting can make a home! It can also get expensive, though. Lighting may be one of those areas you really want to splurge. If that’s the case, you can very easily purchase a chandelier that costs as much as an entire base lighting package. Again, for budgeting purposes, consider putting in about $2500 for a base package. Then add all the extras you want. Don’t forget, can lights are a popular choice, but if you’re looking to run them as secondary lighting throughout your entire home, they can add up pretty quickly.

Hardwood flooring and ceramic tile are two of the most popular flooring options. I would figure about $6/sq. ft. (material and labor) for hardwood floors. For ceramic tile, you’d be safe staying in the $4.50/sq. ft. range. These prices will give you a reasonable allowance to purchase a wide range of flooring. If your flooring budget looks a little higher than you like once you figure it, you may consider scored and stained concrete in your home. It can be done significantly cheaper ($2.75/sq. ft.) and can be easily laid over down the road if you change your mind.

Lastly, let’s look at some exterior design… landscaping. Typically, we provide our customers with anywhere between $500-$1000 allowance for their new homes. To really give your home that mature and distinguished look, you’ll want to be very selective with your choice of plants. Trees at the corners of the homes should be about 1/3 the height of the house, plenty of evergreens should be planted to fill the voids, and flowering plants should be layered to add color. If you’re a big outdoorsy person and this is where you want to spend your money, you shouldn’t have a problem using that $1000… and more. A lot of customers, however, choose to save in this area at the time of construction and really “beef up” the landscaping the following spring. If that’s your preference, a smaller $500 allowance should be fine, providing you a few yards of mulch and some shrubs to add a little character.

Taking these numbers into account, let’s assume you’re building a 2000 sq. ft. home for $200,000. These options can account for roughly $31,000 worth of the project. That’s 16% of the total cost, and that’s being fairly conservative. Design options play a vital role in the cost of a new home. We want our customers to have the homes they dream of. That means providing you with the resources you need to plan for that new home! Hopefully, this will give you a good starting point for figuring the costs of your future home; and when you get ready to build, give us an opportunity to work with you! Learn more at www.gustafsonproperties.com.




New to the Area? Community Info!

If you’re relocating to Hernando, MS from out of state, let us start by welcoming you to the area! Hernando, MS is a wonderful place to live, and I’m sure you’re going to be very well pleased with all it has to offer. It can, however, take some time to find your way around if you’re not familiar with the city. We want to make the transition as simple as possible for you! Below we’ve provided a list of some of the main businesses and places you may need to connect with:

Hernando City Hall

475 West Commerce St.

(662) 429-9092

Hernando Main St. Chamber of Commerce

421 West Commerce St.

(662) 429-9055

Desoto County Courthouse

2535 Hwy 51 South

(662) 469-8000

Desoto County Admin Building

365 Losher St.

(662) 469-8180

Desoto County Health Department

3212 Hwy 51 South

(662) 429-9814

U.S. Post Office

12 West Commerce St.

(662) 429-2481

Hernando Elementary School

455 Riley St.

(662) 429-4160

Hernando Hills Elementary School

570 McIngvale Rd.

(662) 429-9117

Oak Grove Central Elementary School

893 Oak Grove Rd.

(662) 429-4180

Hernando Middle School

700 Dilworth Ln.

(662) 429-4154

Hernando High School

805 Dilworth Ln.

(662) 429-4170

Hernando Head Start Center

1290 West Oak Grove Rd.

(662) 429-1517

Desoto County Driver’s License Station

159 License Dr.

Nesbit, MS 38651

(662) 429-5584

Hernando Police Department

2601 Elm St.

(662) 429-9096

Hernando Fire Department

(Station 1)

475 West Commerce St.

(662) 429-9094

In the era of smartphones and computers, this list may mean little to the vast majority, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a central place to go and find community information (especially if you know very little about the city you just moved to). For those familiar with the area, feel free to post anything I may have overlooked in the comments section on Facebook or share this list with someone you think may be able to make good use of it.

If you are new to the area, don’t forget to check out our website at www.gustafsonproperties.com. We have been building homes in Desoto County for nearly twenty years. If you decide to build or buy a new home, we would love to work with you!

Design Pics

Home Design Pictures!

I often have customers asking to see pictures of homes we have built. Below are some photos of some of our most popular projects, from smaller interior designs to full front elevations. Take a look at what we have to offer! Comment on Facebook beneath this blog, and let us know what designs you like or would like to see more of. If you are interested in a quiet community away from city congestion, be sure to check out our Emerald Estates homes in Eudora, MS.

Perkins outside

IMG1 DSC_1081
custom outdoor fireplace IMG_1742 DSC_1077
pic 2 custom touches in Gustafson home Custom stairs by Gustafson
Home by Gustafson properties Custom home detail custom paint

If you’re looking to build or buy a new home, don’t hesitate to contact us at customhomes@gustafsonproperties.com.  Also, check out our website at www.gustafsonproperties.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Customer Testimonial

Customer Testimonials!

We always love to get some feedback from our customers (even family)! Recently, we built an overhead addition for Tommy and Judy Bondurant on their new home. Here’s what Tommy had to say about Gustafson Properties:

“Brandon and Waylon Gustafson, both firemen, have a side job associated with Gustafson Properties doing construction work like you see in the picture. I have watched each step of this construction and have been so impressed with their workmanship. Soon to be finished, I can’t hold back a BIG THANK YOU for the beautiful work on our new patio.”

Thank you for the kind words and the opportunity! We hope that you are both very pleased and enjoy your new addition for years to come!

For more information on building or buying a new home, or additions and remodel work, be sure to visit our website at www.gustafsonproperties.com. Gustafson Properties has been building homes in Desoto County for years and would love the opportunity to build for you!

Before Overhead
After Overhead
Why We Build

Why We Build!

I was about 13 years old when my dad came to my brother and I and asked if we wanted to make some money- not allowance, an hourly wage for hard work. He had become a homebuilder and was building his first home in Lakes of Cedar Grove. The thought of having a real job over just doing chores around the house was exciting! At $5.00/hr, we would be able to do anything! Money was no longer an issue! Of course, looking back, “no” was not a viable answer anyway. We would have just ended up working for free. My dad always told us he believed in child labor laws- if you were a child in the Gustafson house, you were going to labor. So, we put on some old clothes, grabbed a shovel, wheelbarrow, and rake, and my dad drove us to the place where we would experience our first day of hard work. When we got there, I stepped out of the truck and onto the dusty, hot job site. It was covered with busted bricks, bags of mortar, and loose plastic. We were the cleanup crew. So, we started. This was nothing like cleaning up our rooms (or even our whole house). This was the biggest mess I’d ever seen in my life! It would take forever to clean up! But we kept on… trying to break the boredom by pretending the wheelbarrow was a basketball goal as we through bricks in. We built ramps to help us run the wheelbarrow full of heavy trash into the dumpster. It probably took us a week to complete that job, only to find the next crew would mess it all up again. We developed a system though. The next house my dad started only took us a couple of days at a time to clean up; then, just one day. We were getting faster at what we were doing. We were getting better, and we had stepped into something that would have as much impact on our lives as our family themselves… homebuilding.

What started out as a new business for a young father and a first job for two boys, turned into something that would continue to mold us in the men we would become for years. Some of the most sobering moments of our lives happened on those job sites. I remember my dad tearing up as we stood by a fire on one of the jobs in 2004 and talked about my grandfather, cousin, and great uncle who would all die a month apart that year. I laughed with friends that worked with us through the years. I learned how to frame walls, install flooring, and paint. The company brought my family closer together. On more than one occasion, I jumped into jobs bigger than one man could handle, only to have my dad and brother run to my aid. For years, I worked in the blistering heat and the rainy cold, for the sake of raising one more home! We built something bigger than we thought our family would ever be able to, only to watch it take countless beatings by a failing economy in 2007-2009. Then, we began working to build it back strong again. Gustafson Properties has given us priceless memories and heartaches all at the same time. Years of hard work gave my dad back problems. At the same time, framing punch-outs, flooring jobs, and long days of throwing sod brought us closer together.

Why do we build?

It’s rewarding. To take a piece of land, clean it off, and construct a home from the ground up is an amazing experience. To drive through neighborhoods years later and watch couples working in their yard, taking pride in their home and knowing that we were the ones who put it there, gives us a sense of satisfaction that is different from any other. When we meet with customers about building a home, we get asked a lot of questions. Very rarely (if ever) have I been asked why we build. In my opinion, it is one of the most important questions to ask. You wouldn’t want a teacher teaching your children because she likes the work schedule or a doctor performing heart surgery on your loved one because he likes the pay! People that do work they are passionate about doing excel over people that are in that line of work for other reasons! We build homes because we love the art of building. We love implementing new designs and features into our homes! We love the excitement of starting a new home and the satisfaction of seeing the finished product! Everyone should know a little about their builder before they purchase a new home. That’s just a little about Gustafson Properties!

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

design options

Elegant Touches To Upgrade Your Home!

We would all love to live like the celebrities…multi-million dollar homes with thousands of dollars of landscaping. For the average person, however, that just isn’t very practical. I recently heard a man talking about how there was a time in his life when money was no issue! He could buy whatever he wanted and eat out every night! He had the newest clothes and a nice ride! Unfortunately, he turned 18 shortly thereafter, and with adulthood came bills and responsibilities that put an end to that extravagant lifestyle. We laugh about stories like that, but being on a tighter budget doesn’t always mean you can’t have a home with some classy, distinct features.

Concrete work is one of the first areas a person can add some character to their home. Adding a section of pavers to the end of a driveway (or even stamping the concrete for that matter) can break the monotony of a typical broomed finish and can be done for a fairly affordable price. For longer drives, curbs add a classy touch and distinctive look. Stained and scored floors are very popular among many people for the insides of houses. For the same affordable cost, however, you can have patios and porches scored and stained, bringing some added contrast to the outside of your home. Jack Weathers of Pro/Con does an excellent job scoring and staining concrete, and has been doing quality work for Gustafson Properties for years!

Another option for giving certain rooms of your home a stylish look is custom paint. Pin striping is a popular choice here. You can take a paint color and alternate it against the same color with only 50%-75% of the formula to create an elegant “ghost pin stripping”. For a bolder look, consider alternating contrasting colors. Another option in painting is faux painting. From leather-looking ceilings to marble walls, the possibilities are endless! You can give your walls a crackling appearance or add a textured look with sponges! Brandon Abernathy at the Hernando Sherwin Williams is a great source for information on any paint projects you may have in mind!custom paint

Trim work is another area that can make a home “pop”! If you’re building a new home, take time to carefully decide how to line your rooms. Take into account ceiling heights and area. Choose a trim that is large enough to make a statement but not so large as to over power the room. Stacking trim can give a room a very sophisticated look, and chair rail is excellent for breaking the uniformity of an office or dining room!

What ideas do you have on giving a home a more distinguished look? Comment on our Facebook page beneath this post! If you’re in the market for a new home, visit us at www.gustafsonproperties.com and contact us today!

Local Churches

Desoto County Recreation

After a long day at work, my four year old meets me at the door with the all too familiar question, “Daddy, can we go play?” My wife usually suggests getting out and taking a walk. Our eight month old is simply thrilled with life. Whatever decision we make will be fine with him. When you’re young parents, life moves fast. Your children are growing up before your eyes, and you want to live in a place that offers the most for them.


Desoto County is a wonderful place to live and offers tons of family friendly options for those lazy afternoons and weekends! Take for instance the Lee Summit Park located at 1270 Monteith in Hernando, MS. This park offers just over 4600 feet of walking trail and a play area for 2-5 year old children.


If you’re the athletic type, the Hernando Sports & Fitness Park may be more appealing to you. This park offers a ¼ mile track and a large variety of exercise equipment, ranging from pull-up bars to a rope climb! For more information on Hernando Parks, visit www.hernandorec.com (Pictures and information were gathered from www.hernandorec.com)

If you’re looking for a child-friendly place to eat out, consider Chuck E Cheese’s located at 7178 Desoto Cove in Horn Lake, MS. It’s definitely not the place for a quiet dinner, but with all the pizza, arcades, and prizes, you’re sure to rack up some points as a parent! It’s also a great place for a child’s birthday party!

When all else fails, you can’t beat a good family movie. Southaven’s Desoto Towne Cinema is conveniently located at 7130 Malco Boulevard (just 1 mile from I-55) or check out the new Olive Branch Cinema located at 6430 Goodman Rd. Both cinemas are located near popular restaurants!

For the “outdoorsy” family, consider the Dubb Patton Campground located at 3905 Arkabutla Dam Rd. or Hernando Point at the end of Wheeler Rd. These Arkabutla Lake locations are perfect for boating, fishing, swimming, and picnics. For more information on Arkabutla Lake (and the other many recreational activities Desoto County has to offer), visit www.sodesoto.com.

I’ve been a resident of Desoto County my entire life. It’s a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to raise children! If you’re looking to build in the Desoto County area, we would love to work with you! Visit www.gustafsonproperties.com and contact us today!