If you’re decided to purchase a custom home, congratulations! This is a huge step in your lifetime. Most people will never be able to experience the ability to design and purchase a completely custom home that meets their needs. Of course, the rise in demand for custom home building may alter this in the future, but as of right now, the majority of people are living in track homes in pre-planned neighborhoods with the same floor plans as their neighbor. You, on the other hand, will have a home built especially for your particular taste.
It won’t be a walk in the park; however. Many people fancy the idea of building and purchasing a custom home, but don’t realize the amount of work they must put into it. More money is typically involved in a custom home purchase, so it’s important you know how you’re spending your dollars, ensuring that your investment is safe. Second, the builders can’t come up with your dream home if you’re not there to tell that what’s inside it and what it looks like. Don’t worry, though…with the right custom home builder, this process can be made simple, easy, and FUN! So, if you’re in the market to build…how do you choose your builder?
There are a lot of builders out there. The market demand for custom homes has steadily increased over the last few years, and with demand comes suppliers. There’s upsides and downsides to this, but we’ll get to that in a second. Suffice it to say that if you live in a large metropolitan area, you could have at least 10 different custom home builders to choose from. Here’s where the good and the bad comes into play.
Because there’s a lot of money to be made in a rapidly popular field, there are a lot of builders who’ve just emerged on the market. Meaning, they don’t have a lot of experience under their belt. It’s bad enough when someone doesn’t have enough construction experience, but we’re speaking specifically about the knowledge required to actually build a custom home from the ground-up. Other builders may be completely unethical and leave jobs undone.
On the plus side, you’ll have a wide variety of builders to choose from. More choices means a better decision can be made. It’s not so hard to weed out the bad from the good. Doing a simple “Google” search on each builder should give you a basic, if not good, idea of what the company’s reputation is, what types of homes they’re capable of building, and whether they fit your project. It just takes a little research on your end.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “CUSTOM”?
This is a very important thing to discern right out of the gate. Builders use the term “custom” very loosely, so you’ll want to be sure that the builders you are looking to work with actually fulfill what you are trying to accomplish. Some builders say “semi-custom”, some say “custom”, some say “luxury”. These phrases are used interchangeably, and probably with no malice or deviant behavior involved. A lot of the time the phrases “luxury” and “custom” go together, or the company is able to build either type of home. A completely “custom” home should be one that is built from the ground-up with a completely unique design. If this is what you’re looking for, let the builder know! Some home builders have “custom” homes that work off of pre-planned floor plans that you can then customize to fit your needs. It’s important to establish your needs right off the bat, and identify those companies that can handle the task at hand.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR BUILDERS
How many homes do you build in a year?
This will give you a good idea of how reputable the company is, as well as give you an idea of their completion rate. What does that mean? It means the amount of work they actually finish. Believe it or not, a large problem in the custom home building arena is the fact that many homes are never completed.
Have you ever run your business under a different name?
Don’t be shy! This is a huge investment on your part, and you don’t want to be left high and dry with an incomplete house, trying to figure out who to sue. Instead, play on the side of caution and ask them to divulge this information. Many of the “shady” builders will just shut down shop and open up under a new name. Be aware, however, that many building companies have different divisions that operate under different names, and that is different than what we’re talking about. We’re talking about bad companies closing up and opening up once again, with the same exact business model, under a different name. That’s completely different than a builder who has division “X” that does custom homes, and division “Y” that does luxury homes.
Can I get a testimonial or speak to a prior client?
If they’re a good company, you’d better be willing to bet that they love to brag about their work…because they’re proud, and they should be! They’ll have testimonials available for you, and a list of clients willing to speak to you about their experience.