Discussion Topics for Your Custom Home Builder
Building a custom home can be a very daunting task, which is why you need to choose a company that is properly managed and well-prepared. As a fully integrated company, we have our own construction, design, and real estate team. This creates a strong line of communication, which is especially necessary when building a brand new home.
Finding the best financing option is the first step when building a custom home. If you are considering a custom home, construction/perm loans will be the most attractive loan setup for you, because you are only required to have one closing when you buy a lot and build a custom home. Oftentimes, many of our clients already own the land, so they just need a construction loan. Make sure you know your budget before you start choosing or designing a house plan. We offer many experienced, local resources for Construction/Perm Financing in our area.
Designing Your Custom Home
Make sure you have all of your home ideas and plan inspiration together when you start designing your home. A good design team will help you create a plan with your wants and needs in mind and make suggestions to best complete your project. Once you have a house design in mind, you are ready to start pricing out the construction.
Research Before You Meet
Research! Research! Research! A successful company will have a good web presence complete with solid branding, testimonials, current and past homes, a thorough description of the company, bios on important team members, and contact information that allows you to easily communicate with them.
Communicating with Your Home Builder
If you are an out-of-town client, learn about how the company communicates and updates their clients throughout the construction process. Emailing, updating pictures, selection notifications, and scheduling are very important especially when dealing with clients that build from a distance. We use Builder Trend to update our clients on the construction process, invoices, change requests, and photos!
Insurance for Professional Home Builders
A properly insured home builder will openly communicate with you about their insurance policies. The home builder should have a general liability policy (minimum $1,000,0000), E&O insurance, and a current Workers' Compensation Policy to protect their clients. To ensure you, as a property owner, are completely protected, ensure your builder has all of these policies in place. Ask for a copy of the insurance from the insurance provider and ask the insurance company to notify you if there is a cancellation.
Custom Home Builder Reviews
Ask to speak to past and current clients for reviews on their custom home builder and make sure that you view homes that the company has built. Viewing a home that the company built will give you a good chance to meet past clients as well.
Pricing Your Custom Home
As a professional custom home builder, we do not give heated or total sq/ft pricing without knowing what we are building or what the client has in mind. We leave that to the companies that build the same house over and over and do not custom build. Be wary of the home builder that gives you an overall cost per sq/ft price without knowing all the details. We could easily take the same house plan and build it for two different clients with two different prices depending on the details selected by the client.
Current Construction Projects
Ask to see a home currently under construction. A clean job site is a good reflection of a company's standards. Obviously during certain time frames in construction job sites will be messier than others; weather can also be a big factor in the cleanliness of a job site.
Streamlined Design and Build Process
Ask about the construction process and how selection management and scheduling are handled. An organized company will be able to describe their process thoroughly and simply.
Ask about the company's construction standards especially when interviewing different builders. A company focused on building cookie-cutter homes will have different standards than a company that custom builds each home. Every home builder should have a list of their company's construction standards.
Once construction is completed and final payment is made, ask for a lien waiver. This will protect you as a homeowner if subcontractors or material suppliers are not paid.
Expect the Unexpected
As with anything, unforeseen events can happen and it is not always your contractor's fault. However, your home builder should be prepared to handle and limit these issues. If and when issues do arise, hopefully, you have chosen a company that can easily work through any problems and complete your home as contracted.
Be prepared with questions when you meet with different home builders to interview them or talk about the construction process. Within a couple of meetings, you can usually tell if the company is on the same page as you and can meet your standards. Building a home is a major process that requires experience, skill, and open communication whether you're planning your primary residence, second home, or investment property. Put your home in the hands of an experienced company you can trust.