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5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Custom Home Builder

Having a custom home built is an exciting prospect and it’s easy to miss some important steps. If you’re making an investment in a custom home, chances are you’ve taken your time coming to that decision and picking out the right piece of land to build on – now it’s time to find the right builder for the job. Picking the right builder can be the difference between a dream home and a nightmare, a great investment and a bad one. While it’s likely the builder you select will at least get the job done satisfactorily, when making such an investment as a new custom home, the results should be stellar. There are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you pick the right builder and get the job done right from the start. As with any kind of contracting and building work, the most important first step is to ask all the critical questions before hiring anyone. The problem most people have in this department is that they don’t know what questions to ask. Sure, it’s easy to compare prices and the different builder’s job history – but that is usually not enough to be certain that you’ve found the builder who is right for your job.   You could find a top builder with an incredible record and archives of great testimonials, but it’s not enough to determine whether or not they are the right builder for your custom home.   Here are a handful of critical questions to ask from the outset, and before making any commitments:

While many builders will have a great sales pitch and an excellent record, finding the builder that is a good fit for you and your new home is key. While this is a simple question that doesn’t seem terribly important, you may be surprised at the answers you receive.

When starting a custom home project, most people are looking forward to the date that they can actually move in to the finished product.   You have heard horror stories of ongoing custom home projects that never seem to end. Having a clear idea of when construction will begin, estimated dates of completion for various stages of construction and an estimated date for completion of the home is absolutely critical. A good builder should outline all of these dates for you and should be able to clearly explain to you how they achieve these goals. Obviously, different factors can come up and cause delays but an experienced builder should be able to give you a good estimate while taking these possibilities into consideration.

When hiring anyone for any type of job, it’s important to have an idea of their work history.   Hiring a builder shouldn’t be looked at any differently.   A builder who has remained in the area for a long time should have built up a reputation in that time. It’s also important for a builder to have a solid understanding of local laws and ordinances pertaining to permits and building in general.

It is not uncommon to have revisions or changes made to the original building plans during construction. Change orders invariably cause issues that result in additional expenses and prolonged construction times. As a rule, a good builder should have a tried and tested process for dealing with change orders to minimize conflict with the client and maintain a smooth mode of operation. Be sure that the builder you finally hire has a clear plan for unforeseen change orders.

As there are a variety of workers and jobs involved in custom home construction, it’s a good idea to ask the builder their methods of overseeing and hiring subcontractors. A variety of problems, from delayed work times to permit and legal issues, can come from a builder neglecting planning in this department - experience is crucial. Make sure your builder has a concrete strategy for managing all projects involved in construction.

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