Finding A Custom Home Builder You Can Trust
Choosing the best custom home builder for you and your new home is essential to its success. Remember, you will likely be working together for 12+ months; so as with any relationship, there needs to be trust and clear communication from the onset.
What is the role of a custom home builder?
While the responsibilities of a custom home builder will vary from project to project, the fundamentals will remain the same:
- The custom home builder will begin with getting your design right; either by designing your custom home from scratch or ensuring architectural supplied plans are buildable without excessive expense.
- The builder will compile a comprehensive and detailed quotation or tender for the client. The building will send the home specifications to their various trades and suppliers to obtain competitive quotes. Depending on the complexity of the project, this may take anywhere up to two to three months. Simpler projects can be turned around within weeks.
- During construction, it is the builder’s responsibility to coordinate the various trades required to build your new custom home. The day to day management of your project is assigned to a site supervisor or project manager. There are dozens of different trades and suppliers so an experienced and competent supervisor is the biggest indicator of whether you will be satisfied with your new home at the end. Go for experience over price and the more likely you are to have a good building experience.
- The builder is generally responsible for collecting and managing all approvals, permits, inspections and certificates. They will also order, check and accept all building materials prior to installation.
- Upon completion, the custom home builder will work with the designer to review the project for any deficiencies. Within the first few months after completion, your new home will settle and minor imperfections can arise, this is perfectly normal and expected. A good custom home builder will then work together to ensure all problems are solved and are completed to your satisfaction.
What should you look for in a custom home builder?
Finding a custom home builder you can trust is one of the most important decisions you will make during the construction process. They are the ones that will execute your vision, working as the middleman to ensure your needs are being met the entire time.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to ensure your selection process will result in a quality builder that is a good match for you and your new home.
When matching the best custom home builder for you, make sure you select one with a strong resume of experience. Ask them for a detailed list of past projects, including site visits to see some of their completed projects. Pay close attention to details of previous builds, including a review and inspection of permit records. Particularly visit the type of custom home you want them to build for you.
Develop a strong connection
More often than not, you’ll be working in close quarters with your builder. It’s important to establish a good connection with whoever you choose as your custom home builder, because you will be spending a lot of time with them and putting a lot of trust in them. The success of your custom home can depend on the quality of your working relationship, so look for a builder that you instantly like, trust and respect.
Not only should your custom home builder be completely professional at all times, but they should be certified and insured. This documentation should all be provided to you prior to anything else. Under even better circumstances, your custom home builder will be recognised for their work through awards. If something goes wrong, you need a builder who is equipped to handle this challenge. So ensure you do your homework before you make any big decisions.
On top of your collated list of former projects, you should ask for a list of references from your potential builder. Previous clients and homeowners can provide the best and least biased perspective of the abilities in which the builder or firm possesses. Ensure you research the appropriate questions to ask: How was their working relationship? What issues did they encounter (if any)? How were these resolved or handled? Ask them about the level of communication provided to them, as well as their overall level of satisfaction in their new home. What would you request differently if undergoing the project again? Was the project clean and organised? Asking the right questions may be the difference between feeling satisfied, or undergoing the construction project of your nightmares. Checking references can make all the difference; don’t feel awkward asking.
Red Flags to watch out for:
- If your builder requires a large initial down payment or deposit prior to any commencement of work.
- A poorly written contract, or no contract at all.
- The quoted price is significantly lower than other received bids.
- Their work history is inaccessible or unclear.
- The builder will not provide a complete estimate.
- The builder will not provide references.
- Pressure is placed on you to make decisions quickly.
- A lack of insurance.
- No references can be verified.
- The builder is unwilling to provide evidence of insurance or basic compliance certificates.