5 Tough Questions to Ask When Hiring a Custom Home Builder

Builder with stressed out look talking over the phone

You have decided to build a custom home – one that you have dreamt of, for a long time. But you may have some apprehensions and worries about how the project will go. There are so many nuances you need to take care of, and you may not be aware of most of them.

But rather than hesitating and mulling things over by yourself, ask your custom home builder about the things that are bugging you. A reputable builder will always be ready to answer their customers’ queries.

Here are 5 tough questions you should be asking your builder.

1) Can I have the specification sheets for the intended building materials you utilize for the construction? 

Without leaving out any area of the home, ask the builder to be specific about the types of materials they plan to use for your project. From the plumbing materials to the roofing and flooring, ensure that they are using the highest quality materials. The materials do not have to be luxurious or expensive, but it is your right to know if you are getting your money’s worth.

By checking out some samples, you can get the feel of the material, and determine if they are right for your requirements. Also, you can learn about the specific warranties that come with some materials before making the purchase. For instance, some kitchen countertop brands have a 15 to 20-year limited warranty. And an honest builder will effectively communicate these details to you.

2) Can you give us a full list of references or past client testimonials?

You can ask for the builder’s portfolio to check out their past projects. Visit the locations and look around. You can also speak to the people currently residing in those homes to learn if there are any construction glitches. Ask about project timelines, budget, workmanship, and communication.

Alternatively, ask the builder to provide you with solid references. A good builder will be more than willing to showcase their best work. They may either provide photos or videos of the homes they built or if the owner permits, they can offer you a tour. For client testimonials, insist on having the references from their recent projects.

3) How involved are you during the entire construction process?

Most custom home builders work with an in-house design team or hire the professional on project-basis. They may also have a crew with specific skills and expertise to frequently engage in various home builds. Either way, it is the custom home builder’s responsibility to ensure smooth completion of the job.

Find out about their involvement in your project. Do they stay on the site from breaking ground to the finish? Do they have highly trustworthy subcontractors that offer efficient work? It is advisable to choose a builder who employs an insured crew that can deliver exceptional results with the utmost precision. They should be accessible to you from the design phase to the construction final stage and the follow-up.

4) How long would it take for completion of the construction?

It is always better to start the project with the end in mind. When you have a time estimate, it shows that the builder is realistic. However, remember that unforeseen delays can happen with any construction project. There could be shipping delays, health issues, adverse weather patterns, and other reasons. Barring these, ask the builder to give a reasonable time duration for the construction.

Having said the above, you should be prepared to wait because a custom home build is a lengthy process. Then again, the builder should not be too strict with the timelines as it could affect the quality of work. Be open in your communication, and get these questions answered and out of the way before you sign the contract.

5) Can you build a custom home within my budget?

Many things could go astray during the build, and shoot up the initial estimation. You and the construction company must stay on the same page. Make sure that you have a good rapport with the builder from the beginning of the construction. Tell them your budget limitations, and explain if you cannot make room for adjustments.

Avoid any sort of confusion to get what you want in your price bracket. Find a builder who does not resort to cutting corners to stay within the allotted budget. But we suggest that you do your research before choosing the construction materials as you have to think about the home’s resale value if you need to sell in the future.

Find out if they offer a warranty on the home, not just materials. Do they build in specific locations? If so, they know the local climate and soil. Other criteria to consider while hiring a custom builder is whether they are licensed and insured.

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