Building a custom home is so much more than simply creating a dwelling. Instead, it’s an opportunity to create your sanctuary – a space that will meet your needs and completely reflect who you are. 

The key to the best custom home though, is to work with a good builder. However, that is easier said than done. There are lots of articles and blogs designed to help you find the right builder to meet your needs, but they all have one key recommendation in common – reference checks. It’s a daunting task. In fact, many fail to check references at all because it can be so overwhelming, but a reference check is a simple way to avoid problems and confirm your choice. Where do you even begin that process, though? This guide can help.

Step 1: Start with Recent References

You’ll want to begin by getting references for your home builder’s most recent projects, likely the last five projects. This will help you gauge how things are going right now for your builder. If you have references from more than two years ago, it’s best to find an updated list or move on to the next builder. A builder’s work can change from job to job and talking to the individuals who worked with them most recently is the only way to ensure you’re getting a builder who provides consistent work now.

Step 2: Think Etiquette

Calling references can be a bit scary for some, but it’s a fairly simple process. Past clients are typically happy to discuss their experience with a builder, but they’re just as busy as you are. When you reach out to the builder’s reference, be respectful of their time. Be sure you let them know who you are and why you’re calling. Offer to call back if there’s a more appropriate time. Then begin asking your questions about the builder.

"The key to the best custom home though, is to work with a good builder. However, that is easier said than done."

Step 3: Formulate Your Questions Carefully

There are many things you might want to know about a potential custom home builder, but past clients can’t answer all of your questions. Start by clarifying what kind of home was built and when it was completed. Investigate how the reference found the builder. If it is a family member or a close personal friend, you’ll certainly want to do as much research as possible.

Next, ask whether the home builder was able to finish on time and on budget. If either of these things was not true, ask for clarification. Were there issues outside the builder’s control that affected his or her ability to do so?

Move on to gain an understanding of the builder’s ability to communicate with clients. Find out whether your builder was easy to work with throughout the process. At some point, you’re going to have questions or need to reach out to someone. If so, is there an easy-point-of-contact? Is someone available to take your calls, and are they returned promptly?

Finally, find out whether the reference would recommend the builder to others and why he or she might do so. This important last question helps you get a bigger picture of just how good this potential home builder might be.

Making the Right Choice

If you uncover a problem in a reference check, try not to jump to conclusions. Take that problem back to the builder so you can learn more about what might have happened, as that can help create honest communication between the two of you.

With G&G, building your custom home always starts with a conversation so let’s get to know each other a little better! Schedule a free consultation with us today!