So, you’ve decided to build your own custom home. Congratulations! But let’s pause on opening that bottle of champagne first since we’re not there yet. Building your dream home requires patience, commitment, and heavy attention to detail.
You’ve probably heard unpleasant stories about people’s encounters with builders, sites left unfinished, and budgets spiraling out of control. But that’s because a lot of people get into a custom home construction project without knowing what to expect and having not prepared adequately.
Building a custom home is a huge investment, and finding the right builder is the start. Here’s a step-by-step guide to find the best builder for your dream home. But first, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of who a custom home builder is and what exactly it is that they do.
Understanding the Role of a Custom Home Builder
A good custom home builder works with the client to design and construct a home as per the needs of the homeowner. The home builder’s work involves establishing a functional budget and realistic timelines for the project and working as per those factors through the design and construction process.
Below is a brief overview of the responsibilities of a custom home builder:
- To involve and coordinate subcontractors in implementing the design and plans of the project.
- To prepare cost estimates and keep track of all expenses.
- Check and inspect the quality of all purchased construction material before installation.
- To file for and obtain a building permit with the relevant authorities.
- Educate the owner on the operations and maintenance of the house.
How to Find the Best Custom Home Builder
Here are 10 tips to make finding the right custom home builder a lot less overwhelming.
1. Examine a Few Portfolios
Nothing will tell you whether a custom home builder is a good fit for your project better than looking at the work they’ve done. A lot of home builders have online portfolios for potential clients to see their designs and builds so this is a great place to start. Also, take note of the number of projects they’ve done as you peruse their portfolios.
2. Know What You Want in Your Custom Home
You may have this sort of figured out but if you are quite not sure yet about what you need in a custom home, then this is a great place to start.
Being aware of what you want beforehand will make the process of finding a home builder who will help you achieve what you’re aiming for, a whole lot easier. It can be as specific or simple as you want it to be.
3. What’s Your Budget
As is with just about any investment you are about to make, you have to know your budget or at least a rough estimate you’re willing to work with. Knowing what you have to spend on the core aspects of your home and what isn’t a priority can be the difference between building an efficient home or a stressful one.
4. Consider the Scope of Work Required
Understanding the scope of the project should guide you as you choose the right home builder for you. For instance, if you’re looking to build a luxurious home, you need a contractor who is highly organized and experienced in producing high-quality work.
5. Will Location Be an Issue
You may already have fallen in love with the project but it will do you no good if you contract a builder who won’t be able to work efficiently in your chosen location. Where you choose to build will dictate what you build.
6. Is Your Ideal Builder Trustworthy
For the sake of the project’s success and your peace of mind, you must hire someone who you can trust. Remember, you’re going to be working intimately with the builder you hire on your home for about a year so try not to be too hasty in your decision making.
Make sure the builder you hire is someone who will prioritize your needs and will maintain open communication regarding timelines and the allocated budget.
7. Do Your Research
Try and gather a list of potential builders who have experience with construction projects similar to the one you want. Tap into your networks for referrals or browse your community yellow pages to get a generic list of custom home builders near you.
Another option is contacting a local home builders association and make a list of construction agencies that you can call.
8. Conduct Personal Interviews With Prospective Hires
Once you’ve created a shortlist of builders you’d hire for your project, proceed to make contact and schedule a meeting. The meeting should help you get more familiar with the builders and how they go about their work. Take a look at their portfolios and decide whether their work matches your style.
9. Ask As Many Questions As You Can
Most people tend to bottle up questions to avoid coming off as uneducated, but you must familiarize yourself with the builder’s approach to work especially if it’s you’ve never gone through the home building process before.
Ask questions about timelines, costs, insurance, and potential challenges that may arise.
10. What Do Their Previous Clients Have to Say About Their Work
A good measure of a builder’s professionalism is looking up what their clients have had to say about their work and shared relationship during the project. Remember, you want to work with a partner who understands your needs and concerns. Try and look up online reviews and inquire about what reputation they’ve carved for themselves in the market.
Ready to Build?
Building a custom home is probably the biggest investment a lot of people will make in their lives. It’s therefore important that you get it right from the get-go. This way, they can help monitor and control the cost of the project from design to implementation.
The custom home builder you choose to hire will be integral to your project’s success. Since you’ll be working together for about 8 to 12 months, you need to hire a professional, honest, and accomplished builder who understands the importance of clear communication.
Hopefully, the checklist above should help you match with the right builder who will make your project sketches a reality.