Building a custom home: Part 1
Welcome to part 1 of my series “Building a custom home”. As a sat back and pondered what my first series post would be all I knew was that had to be one of the most important topics. The process of building a new home is lengthy especially as you add more custom elements. With that in mind, key term “lengthy” it is important you embark on the journey with the right person i.e your builder. So, I decided to start with helpful key questions to hopefully help you in your selection process. While selecting your builder is not necessarily the first on the list in your journey, it is definitely one of the most important to get right.
Having a good working relationship with your builder is very important in the success of your build. To ensure you are set up for success, I want to break down a few ways to help you get there. Step one is to start with researching local builders. Then begin narrowing them down based on the home type and style of the homes they have previously built. Once you have narrowed down the select builders in your area that are appealing, I would then work to begin finding references; if possible. Word of mouth is everything in the industry, and one of your best options to ensure a good process. We followed this phase and researched many home builders before contacting them.
When you begin the process of interviews there are several key things to ask your potential builder. I am going to break down the top 3 questions to get you started in your interviewing process.
- How many homes will you be building at the same time as our project: You need to ensure that your builder is not stretched too thin. The impacts this will cause are substantial. They will be low on resources, your project will have mishaps, things that fall through the cracks, and delays. Having a builder that manages their time well will keep the project on track and reduce the amount of hiccups. I would recommend a builder for a custom home project to have no more than 5 projects at one time. Level of involvement is something to be taken very seriously, as you want your builder on the job site as much as possible. We are not talking one time a week here, I am recommending 3-4 days a week for job site visits.
- What is the average price per sq foot homes in their portfolio: Lets talk about why this is an important question to ask. If you are planning a high end custom home build, you do not want to bring in a builder that has no experience in that price point. Most the time their subcontractors, finish teams, etc will also not be prepared to perform work to that level and could potentially do more damage than good if you have a team not versed in the finish product you are expecting. Price per sq foot is not always given by a builder, as it can vary on your finish selections. With that, it is important to understand the level of homes they have built in the past. It is also very important to set the expectation with the potential builders on the type of home you are looking to build. If you have plans drafted I would recommend having them readily available as well. Walking through the home plans at high level can also help drive the conversations.
- What is your warranty of your work and for how long? Will this be documented in the contract: This is very important to discuss with any builder so you can ensure that you are covered in case there are issues with your home after you have moved in. Issues do arise in every home build. Most homes typically can adjust, move, settle, and with that can cause cracking, slab movement, sinking of sidewalks, roof leaks, etc. As a new homeowner that is that last cost you want to take on to have fixed out of pocket. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself before and after your build is to ensure you builder will cover the costs even after you move in. A warranty period for up to one year is fairly standard, but it does not hurt to ask for more. This will cover you from unforeseen costs.
While there are many other questions to ask your potential builders, these are my top three. I am always happy to answer questions you might have as you walk through your build process or interviews. Drop your comment or question below! Stay tuned for the next building series Part 2.