Building a custom home is appealing to a lot of people, as it offers the chance to get exactly what you want in a home and make no compromises. A lot of people may not realize just how tedious and time-consuming the process of custom construction can be. Working with a licensed, reputable home builder is the easiest way to alleviate most of the issues, but it’s important to know how to work with them for the best results.
Tip #1: Be as picky as you want when choosing your builder.
The right home builder is going to make all the difference in your project. The builder that you hire is often the biggest factor in whether a construction project goes smoothly or whether the entire process is a nightmare. This process can take months, or even years in some cases, so make sure that you find someone you can work with for the long haul. What should you be looking for?
- Customer reviews or references from previous clients.
- Local and state records, including any negative reports, potential court cases, or other indications that they might not have a solid reputation.
- A homebuilder with years of experience in custom home construction.
- Total transparency from the builder when answering questions, providing quotes, and offering information about their company and services.
Tip #2: Have Plans in Place Ahead of Time
Those outside of the construction industry may not be aware of the true cost of construction delays. Once a project has begun, any delays can have a huge impact on time and budget. Therefore, you need to have your construction plans nailed down and have as few variables left in play as possible before you have them start working on your custom home.
A good builder will help you choose everything from the framing materials to the finishes so that everything is ready to go. Anyone who says that it’s not important to plan all the finishing details upfront probably won’t make good time management or judgment calls on your construction project. Sure, you might not be installing the floors for another six months, but what if the floors you want aren’t available in six months? You need to allow time to acquire all of the necessary materials.
Tip #3: Stay Informed and Involved in the Project
Hiring a homebuilder takes the project off of your hands, but that doesn’t mean you can just walk away and they’ll call you when the construction is done. You need to maintain regular communication with your builder, architects, designers, and other contractors so that you know what is going on and are available for questions and potential problems. This includes calls, texts, emails, and even regular visits to the job site.
Be careful not to micromanage your builder but be around and be aware so that you know that the project is on time, on budget, and being finished to your standards. Staying informed and visiting the job site allows you to monitor and control the project much better than if you just wait for updates with the “stay out of the way” approach.
Tip #4: Ask About Their Warranty
Your relationship with the builder doesn’t end once the job is done. A custom homebuilder should include a warranty with their work. It should spell out exactly what is and what is not covered, and what actionable steps you can take if something goes wrong. Most reputable builders offer a minimum of a one-year warranty on all of their services.
Tip #5: Organize, Organize, Organize
Problems and arguments generally happen at the end of a construction project because of all of the loose ends that need to be tied up. Of course, they can arise more frequently if communication isn’t effective or if there isn’t a solid, structured plan in place. Make sure that you are really organized and clear about what is expected when working with your builder. Make lists, plans, and notes as often as necessary to keep things moving and keep everyone on the same page. An organized project will go much smoother than a disorganized one.
As you can see, most of these tips involve one simple thing: doing your homework. Just because you’re hiring people to build your home doesn’t mean that you aren’t a participant in the process. Projects with hands-on homeowners tend to be much more successful than those with clients that prefer to take a hands-off approach.
Ken is a huge fan of living his life to the fullest. He enjoys his home and all things related to organization. He also enjoys helping Generation Homes Northwest educate readers about designing & building new homes. When he’s not working, he enjoys blogging, hiking, and plenty of steak and grilled veggies.