Selecting a Custom Home Builder: The Essential Checklist
There are many things to consider when building a custom home, it makes sense to do your homework first and be as prepared as possible. To make the selection process easier for you, we’ve compiled our essential checklist for selecting a custom home builder.
Check Your Budget
It’s no secret that custom homes are a significant life investment. That’s why you should calculate the total budget for your custom home build as early as possible. Along with construction costs, this could include the following expenses:
- Legal fees
- Cost of the land
- Landscaping and moving costs
- Rates and taxes
- Emergency funds for unplanned expenses.
In the process of selecting a custom home builder, make sure you know exactly where your money is going, and whether additional costs such as surveying fees, soil tests, or changes to the design are included.
When it comes to selecting a custom home builder, you should consider reputation and experience. A trustworthy builder will be more than happy to provide you with references from past customers. Make sure you follow up on these (at least two) and get firsthand feedback from the people who have worked with them.
This is a major life investment, so don’t hold back with questions. Ask them if the builder delivered their custom home on time, within budget, and importantly, if the working relationship was successful. You can also get in contact with industry associations such as the Master Builders Association for a list of reputable builders.
Make sure the builder you choose has the type of resume you are looking for. Take a look at their past custom homes, visit them for a closer inspection, and even check with your relevant state body to ensure they are properly licensed. There is no harm in doing as much background research as possible.
Successful custom homes come down to communication. Make sure you are happy with your builder’s response times, organisational skills and personal character. From the start of the relationship, establish what the lines of communication will be. Will you be dealing with a supervisor, on-site builder, or customer service representative? Whatever method you choose, it’s important you are comfortable with how the process is reported and the productivity of the meetings.
Check the Plans
Before construction begins, you need to be completely across the plans and specifications. Become familiar with all the materials and dimensions used, as well as any variations along the way. Your builder should be willing to explain anything that you are uncertain about. This is your project after all, which means everything should be to your liking – even the smallest details.
While a reputable custom homes builder will comply with all regulatory requirements, it’s worth ensuring that the plans haven’t been copied from someone else’s designs. If in doubt, contact the Australian Copyright Council.
Double Check the Contract
Before signing the dotted line, it goes without saying that you should thoroughly read through the contract documents. We would strongly advise that you work alongside a lawyer who specialises in custom homes.
A lawyer can review the legitimacy of the contract and make everything clear to you, which will help prevent any misunderstandings between the custom home builder and yourself. It’s also important to include your lawyer in discussions about insurance, guarantees and warranties. They can figure out:
- If the builder’s insurance covers the loss or theft of any materials you are providing
- If you will be getting a comprehensive structural warranty for the home itself, as well as warranty documents for all systems, products and appliances
- If you can transfer warranties to a new owner
- How often the builder will inspect the property once it has been completed
- The dates that the fixed-contract time is scheduled to start and finish, and what yours and your builder’s rights are if the project runs over time
- The parameters of your progress payments.
If you need a company in Melbourne who cares about your vision as much as you do, contact Mazzei Homes today.