Find A Great Custom Home Builder: A Step-By-Step Guide

Building your dream home can be both a simultaneously exhilarating and stressful experience. Many first-time builders can feel at a loss when it comes to beginning the process. When you find the right custom home builder, however, most of the battle has already been won. Finding the right fit for you can be tricky, but not impossible, if you do your homework. It can require a little research on your part, but when you eventually step into a home made just for your family, it will be all worth it.

Determine your style

Know what you are looking for. Are you looking for a traditional farmhouse? Country living? French classic? Take every opportunity you can to learn what you want. Flip through magazines, drive through old neighborhoods and do your online searches. If you are uncertain as to what your style is, then consider your environment and your needs. Determine the size of home for which you are looking and the physical area in which you will build. To find a custom home builder that fits your needs requires you to connect with someone who specializes in the style you desire. It would not work out if you are looking for a classic mid-century style, while your builder specializes in modern urban homes.

Look online for contractor’s previous work

The best predictor of the work your contractor will conduct for you is the previous work of the builder. Ask for portfolios and models of previous homes. Look for ongoing projects in neighborhoods close to where you would like to build. Do not be afraid to request more examples of previous work. This is essential to the first step of feeling a connection.

Discern the reputation

Not all builders are equal: some are notorious for falling behind schedule while others shine in their ability to make homeowners feel like they are being heard. Of course, check with friends, neighbors and relatives for recommendations. Pay special attention to the complaints and praises of your acquaintances and be mindful of the critic’s own personality to determine whether the criticism is reasonable and legitimate. Check online sources, as well, including review sites. There are some good sites available that allow homeowners to rate builders.

Do your research

First, it is very important to check the licensure of a builder. To find a custom home builder that is reputable, you need to ensure that he or she is qualified. State regulations can play a part and certifications can indicate an adherence to high standards. Additionally, do not neglect to inquire after the insurance coverage. Home builders employ individual workers and outsource various stages of the building process. It is important to ensure that they are covered in case of liability, so that you, too, will not be financially at risk. The Better Business Bureau and local chambers of commerce can be good places to start for information.

Request your first meeting

Finally, just meeting in person can give you a good idea what sorts of things to look for. The process to find a custom home builder demands a great connection. You need to trust your contractor and feel at ease with the decisions you will make together. Never be afraid to ask questions and continue your search if you are not completely satisfied with your in-person experience.

Five Ways to Avoid a Building Nightmare: Choosing the Right Home Builders

Building a home can be quite an emotional rollercoaster. Constructing a new house is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor that rarely goes from beginning to end without a single hiccup or obstacle. To that end, it’s important to find the right partner who is easy to work with, has the right style and skill set, and will streamline the entire construction process.

The first steps can be overwhelming. Where could one possibly begin? A good starting point is to form a solid idea of how the house will look. Traditionally, residential home builders are minimally involved in this stage of the process. Customers separately hire an architect, who works with the client to create a plan for the contractor to follow. However, this may lead to additional conflicts due to two separate parties trying to drive the process. The architect may want their artistic vision achieved, while the contractor may prioritize developing the structure in a logical way that complies with permits and codes and that stays within the client’s proposed budget. These opposing priorities can and do cause friction within the operation, adding to the emotional turmoil of the experience.

One simple way to mitigate this situation is to consider hiring a two-in-one, or a design-build contractor. Consider the five following pros of finding one company to do both jobs:

1. A design-build contractor provides all the same advantages as general contractor home builders while simplifying the design and construction process with one-stop shopping.

2. Clients can find significant potential cost savings by not hiring a third party firm. Architects can be an expensive part of the process and contractors will often provide a discount for customers who use them for both parts of the construction.

3. Clients may also find potential cost savings due to a more practical and timely process, as the architect side will create original plans with an eye towards the customer’s proposed construction budget, avoiding disputes and disagreements between the two parties. Often, customers have to pay the price for these disagreements through change orders or redesigns because the architect planned something that the general contractor cannot build within the customer’s proposed budget.

4. The firm is held for total accountability of the project since they are responsible for both sides and provide expertise in both fields. The client can rest assured that the firm will have thorough experience in how pricing, sequencing, timeline, and construction go together.

5. A design-build company will provide consistency and continuity throughout the process that often gets lost when using two separate companies. There is a much smaller chance of things falling through the cracks, as the same firm is involved from A to Z, which provides an inherent efficiency. This has huge potential cost savings and time savings for the client.

Any client considering building their dream house should remember to do their research, read reviews, and shop around for price quotes. However, they just may find that the best home builders will also provide design services.

Where Do I Want to Build My New Home?

There are many significant considerations to be made when purchasing land to build a home. Typically when you make an offer to purchase a piece of land, you have 30 to 60 days to evaluate the property thoroughly prior to purchase. Ideally you will know what to look for prior to making the offer, but this is not necessarily the case.

One major consideration is the price that you pay for the property, and to feel that the agreed upon price is a fair price. You don’t want to pay too much for the property, but the seller does not want to sell it for to little. If you have taken the time to look for property and have had the opportunity to compare it to others, you will know when you have property at a fair price.

Another consideration may be any restrictions placed upon the use of the land. This would often come in the form of covenants. These are typically rules and regulations placed on the property by the developer. This might include restrictions on the size of home, the height, the color, the architectural style or the type of exterior finishes. This is important because you would not want to purchase the land only to find out that the type of home that you want to build does not meet the covenants.

The topography and soil conditions of the site are important. Poor soils mean poor drainage and additional development costs. Poor soils can also affect the concrete footing size and the cost of construction. You may wish to build a single story rambler home, but if the lot is sloping it may be difficult, or add substantially to the cost of construction

Water and sewer availability are critical to building a home on the property. If the site will require an on-site sewer system, then a system will need to be designed and approved by the local municipality. If soils are poor or very sensitive it may not be possible to design a septic system to meet the needs of your new home. If a well is required for domestic water, then it is important to have some idea whether water is available, what well depths are in the area, and what it might cost. Without water a piece of land would not be buildable.

If the property does not directly adjoin a public road, then it is important to verify that there is legal access. You must have some form of legal access to get to the property. This could be by easement or right of way.

Sometimes getting power to the building site can be difficult and costly. It is important to determine that power and phone will be available and verify the cost. Extend the power several hundred feet to the proposed building site can be expensive and prohibitive.

Selecting the right piece in the right location is most important to you. For this reason only you can decide how far you are will to go to develop the site for your dream home.