After years of renting — or after finally unloading your initial investment property — you’re ready to design your dream home from the ground up.
You have a few design and architectural styles in mind, you’ve already started fantasizing about the perfect outdoor space, and you’ve definitely thought about a theme for your housewarming party.
Now, it’s time to slow down.
The most important part of building your dream home?
Ensuring that you’re working with a custom home builder that’s experienced, qualified, trustworthy, and can actually bring your vision into reality.
What should you look for in a custom home builder?
Read on to find out.
1. Examine Their Portfolio
When you’re in the market for a custom home builder, the first thing you want to be sure if is that they’re capable of designing the kind of home you want to live in.
This means that you’ll need to take the time to thoroughly examine their design portfolio. Do they primarily gravitate towards a particular style of home? Is their enough uniqueness within their designs, so that your home won’t look the same as their other models?
Have they worked on lots of your size and landscape type before? Will they be able to handle the amount of your square footage?
Are they a luxury home builder, or do they seem to work with primarily smaller budgets?
About how many clients does it look like they’ve worked with?
Above all, does it look like they have the capabilities to bring your vision to life?
2. Read Reviews And Ask For References
Once you’ve taken the time to go through the portfolio of the custom home builder you’re considering, it’s time to find out what other people have to say about them.
Start by reading any online reviews about the company — after all, over 90% of consumers say that what past clients are saying about a business influences their decision to work with them.
While a few negative comments are to be expected (after all, you can’t please everyone) lots of one-star reviews might be a red flag. This is especially true if the business hasn’t addressed or apologized for these poor reviews.
Be aware, however, that online reviews won’t always tell you the whole truth.
In order to ensure you’re getting the full story, ask for at least two references.
When you speak with these references, be sure to ask whether or not the custom home builder was able to stick with not only the budget, but also the overall timeline for completing the project.
Of course, small setbacks like poor weather conditions and backordered materials can happen — but if a project was finished a year late? That’s a different thing.
Also, ask about any warranties the builder offered, as well as the overall quality of the work. Is their home still in fabulous shape, or has the foundation cracked or shifted?
Above all, ask whether or not this reference would use this builder again in the future.
3. Ask About The Design Team And Builders
Studies show that over 3% of homes will be broken into or will have to deal with some form of theft throughout the building or remodeling process.
This might not sound like a lot — until you end up in that 3%.
Unfortunately, much of this theft comes from untrustworthy builders and contractors. This is why it’s so important to know exactly who your custom home builder has hired to do the work on your home.
Have they conducted thorough background checks on their employees? Are they planning to outsource any work, or will they use only the people you’ve met to make your dream home a reality?
In addition to the builders and contractors, you should also ask questions about the design team at large.
After all, building a home is not a one-man show.
There will be landscapers, architects, roofers, painters, interior designers and decorators…you name it!
Make sure that these people are just as good of a fit with both your personality and design scheme in order to ensure you’re happy throughout the process.
4. Ensure You Communicate Well
Above all, it’s important to make sure that you and your custom home builder actually get along.
This might sound a little ridiculous, but stop to think about it.
Your new home isn’t going to be the kind of project that’s completed in a few weeks. You’re likely going to develop a long-standing relationship with this person over the course of several years.
In addition to actually liking your builder, you also need to ensure that your communication styles are in sync.
If it takes them forever to reply to your emails, that’s not a great sign. It’s also not a good start if they can’t seem to answer your questions, don’t appear to be organized, and can’t provide you with a rough plan and timeline for building your home.
If you think this disorganization and lack of communication bothers you now?
Imagine how you’ll feel in a year.
You’re Ready To Hire A Custom Home Builder
We hope that this post has helped you to understand the most important things you need to look for when you’re in the market for a custom home builder.
Remember, ask for references, review their portfolio, ask questions about their design team and contractors, and make sure you communicate well.
Looking for additional architectural and design advice? Want to make sure that your interior design scheme will fit within your new home? Need more advice on how to hire the right people to maintain your house?
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