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Choosing the Right Custom Home Builder

By: Vicki Connell

When you have made the decision to build custom, how do you select a builder? There are many things to consider when choosing the right builder for you. Not all home builders are alike. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a home builder!

What is their Niche?

Does you builder have a specialty that lines up with your preferences? Are you wanting an energy efficient home? One with state-of-the-art technology?

Building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for example is certainly a niche not all builders are familiar with. If you are wanting to build with ICF, it is wise to find a builder who has ICF building experience.

Is your builder licensed and registered with the Registrar of Contractors (ROC)?

You absolutely, under NO circumstances want to hire a contractor that is not licensed or has a suspended license. You can look up a builder on the registrar of contractor’s website to check on their license status.

What is the owner’s background?

Some builders have not actually built a home themselves. They may be knowledgeable about the process and licensed for building but have not completed an entire home from the ground up. This makes a difference when it comes to understanding the process and catching subcontractor’s mistakes. It is one thing to hire the subcontractors and coordinate their efforts, but another altogether having the home building experience to inspect and recognize shoddy or subpar work. Experience matters especially when it comes to building your home.

What type of houses do they build?

Are the homes profiled on the builder's website the type of home you are wanting to build? Are looking for a midsize home under $1M or a very high-end, multi-million-dollar home that is 5,000 SF or larger? Make sure your builder lines up with the type of home you intend to build.

Does the builder have an architect or designer?

Some builders have in-house architects or firms they work closely with. This is helpful to keep everyone on the same page. The builder should work closely with the architect to make sure they are designing with in the guidelines of your desired layout and budget. Combined meetings with your builder and architect are crucial to make sure as many details as possible are included.

Make your budget known early on.

If you have a set budget for your build as most of us do, make that known as early as possible in the planning process. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder if they can build what you are looking for and complete the build for the amount you want to spend. This saves everyone a lot of time and aggravation.

Is your potential builder willing to work with you and help you to stay on track? Will they let you know if the options you are choosing are way out of line with the budget? Whenever there is an overage outside of what is budgeted for on an item, the builder will charge a change order. These change orders can add up quickly. Make sure your builder is willing to keep you constantly posted on your expenditures so there are no surprises.

Find out what items are standard on all their homes and what are upgrades.

You may get initial pricing from a builder that sounds great only to find out they are including only “builder grade” options. Things like ceiling heights, door heights, flooring, counter-tops, and cabinets should be disclosed. Ask your builder if they have some sort of cost sheet or list of included items they can share.

Word of mouth is always a good source of information as well. Do you have friends that have built custom? Who did they use and what was their experience? If you’ve purchased a piece of property in a subdivision where other homes are being built, look for builder signs. These builders would be familiar with that city’s permitting and HOA approval processes.

When possible, schedule a meet and greet with a few builders. Get a feel for their personality as well as the staff. After all, chances are you will be working with the superintendents and office staff just as much, if not more than the owner’s themselves.

If you are considering building a custom home, give our office call

Castle Rock Homes (623) 935-5004

See more videos from our "New Build in the Desert" series Click Here


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