Tile samples, carpet swatches, vision boards. Before even starting your custom home design your head is already swimming with ideas! How many bedrooms will you need? What style of home do you want? How much will all this cost?! While these are very important questions, the first one you should ask yourself is ‘who can I trust to help me accomplish all of this?’ Before laying out your floorplans and choosing the perfect place for the laundry room, start at the beginning and think about what you need from a builder in accomplishing your goals. Here are a few things to look out for when talking with potential builders, and remember, this is your home, find someone you know will help you create the perfect place for you!
When you make friends with someone or work with a new group of people, communication styles are crucial. You’re not going to be on the same page as everyone you meet, so make sure you look for a custom home builder you can communicate with clearly and effectively. You’re building your dream home, so you have to make sure the person you work with understands your needs and goals for your home. In addition to clear communication, you need to make sure you can depend on this person to communicate with you quickly through appropriate channels. Are you more prone to pick up the phone and call? Make sure your builder isn’t one to shut off their phone for the day and respond to voicemails later, if at all. If you’re more comfortable via email, find out if your builder is easily reachable through email and will respond in a timely fashion.
Do you need a specialist or general builder?
You chose to build a custom home for a specific reason, to build a custom house unlike any other. When choosing a builder, make sure you find a specialist in designing and building homes based on your needs. You don’t want a builder who specializes in building homes from a design template that looks like other houses in the area. Talk with builders about unique projects they have done before and ask specific questions about intricate features you are thinking about including in your own home.
As the design and building process goes on, communicating what you want can become more and more difficult. In the early stages of the design, ask precise questions and pay close attention to how specifically they answer. You don’t want vague open answers, you want someone you can come to for answers, someone who will tell you the truth in all steps of the design and build.
Someone Who Gives Feedback
If you wanted a yes man, you could find plenty on a budget. You want a builder with years of experience and a level of knowledge from a lifetime of professional designing and building. If your builder or designer just says yes and increases the price every time you ask for something, proceed with caution. Of course, you want someone who can do what you ask for, but part of the benefit of working with a professional is their experience and ability to give other suggestions that can achieve the same result or something similar without increasing the time frame or budget.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the builder’s past clients. Sure a house in a portfolio could be beautiful, but it could have been a nightmare for the people who went through the building process with the wrong building team. The best way to know for sure is to ask for client referrals and talk to the people who have worked with the company. If the experience was great, people will be more than happy to tell you about their experience. The same is true of people who had a poor experience. In many situations, these people are more than willing to share their story, wishing someone would have done the same for them when they were looking for a builder. Either way, you can’t go wrong with getting to the source and finding out exactly what the experience is like working with a specific company or professional.
Transparency in Costs
The last thing you need when putting on the finishing touches of your beautiful, brand new custom home is a stack of unexpected expenses. You want a builder who will not only tell you exactly what the price points are and what to expect, but a builder who can anticipate those needs and offer suggestions for other materials or designs similar to what you ask for that will keep you within budget. Having a builder knowledgeable and able to work with you to create the perfect home on time and on your budget is what you need and unfortunately, is often difficult to find.
On the topic of transparency, your builder should also be flexible. If you want a certain look or feature, they should be able to help adjust the plan to help you get what you want as close to your budget as possible. One word of caution though, don’t expect your builder to be a miracle worker. The true sign of a great builder is honest communication and a plan to get you what you want through honest feedback. Builders able to adjust the plan and use their knowledge and resources to help provide the best final product are builders you want to work with. Look for people you trust and builder you know is looking out for your best interests.
Great Relationships with Vendors and Contractors
Builders with a solid network of vendors will help you in the long run. If you want a specialized or rare material for your home, it helps immensely to have a builder with great relationships in the industry. This is sometimes hard to check for before beginning a project, but your own judge of character can help you determine whether or not you think this person is someone others would like to work with. Sure, you might only have to deal with them for a specific amount of time and it might seem like a great thing to have someone willing to push and demand the materials or products you want for your house, but good relationships go a lot further in the long run.
In all, it’s no easy feat to find the perfect building partner for you and it shouldn’t be a decision you take lightly. Take your time and make sure you carefully vet out potential builders to make your project a success. Avoid people who try to push you into a project too quickly. This is likely one of the biggest investments you will make in your life. It should be not only the house of your dreams but an enjoyable process from start to finish. If you’re ready to start talking with a builder with your interests in mind, our team would love to get to know you and find out what your vision for your future home looks like! You can schedule a call or consultation to get started, we’d love to hear from you!