Choosing the right builder is an essential part of the custom home process. Since the builder will become your partner for the better part of a year, it is important to choose someone with the right qualifications that you can trust. Following the top 5 tips outlined below will help in choosing the builder that is right for you.
Once the decision has been made to build a custom home, it may seem the logical next step would be to contact a builder or two. However, most builders specialize in a particular style or size of home. Choosing your home plan ahead of time will allow you to find builders that better fit your needs, while giving the builders an opportunity to review your drawings and provide more realistic numbers.
Word-of-mouth is the best resource when finding a builder. A glowing review from a friend gives you immediate confidence, but don’t stop with just one. You will want to interview a number of builders before knowing which is right for you. A quick google search will create a list of local builders for you to further research. Peruse each builder’s website to make sure their past projects are similar in style and size as yours.
Most families only build a custom home once in their lifetime, which is why quality is of the utmost importance. Repairs shortly after completion, or critical structural issues that are costly to fix, will cause frustration and budget concerns.
Drive by homes completed by each of the builders on your list. How do they look after 10+ years? Ask the builder if you can tour past projects to get a closer look at the interior craftsmanship.
Bring your plans, whether in print form or digital, and review them with the builder. Ask about the materials they use and their subcontractors. Have they been working together for a while? Does he feel confident in their quality of work?
Due to the close working relationship between you and the builder, choose a builder with whom you can connect. The right builder for you should listen to your goals and vision, and repeat them for validation. If the builder is taking a long time to respond, you may experience frustration with his lack of or delayed communication style during the build.
Ask the builder about delays or problems on past projects. How were they handled, and what would they have done differently? Clear communication will make for a smooth process, reducing potential frustration from the start.
With such a wide variety of prices, confirm each builder is within your budget. Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to get a firm quote per square foot.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions; hard questions or ridiculous questions. If this is your first custom home, it is natural to have a lot of questions. Your builder should encourage you to ask them and respond within a timely manner. Beware of builders that have trouble answering your questions clearly. Follow up for clarity if need be, or simply cross that builder off your list.
In the end, you are looking for a builder that can bring your dreams to a reality; creating the home you envision for your family and lifestyle. Challenges will arise, but you are headed in the right direction by choosing a builder that you trust, communicates effectively, and serves as your partner.