How to Work With a Custom Home Builder

how to use a custom home builder


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Building a custom home is very rewarding, but it also comes with challenges. One of these is how to use a custom home builder.

As the homebuyer, you can prevent problems and unfilled expectations by making sure the builder is on the same page as you. Therefore, good communication is key when hiring and working with him. Here’s how to use a custom home builder.

Be Specific With the Builder

Building a custom home gives you the option to do whatever you want with your house. You can have as little or as much involvement as you like. You can pick everything, or you can let your builder do some choosing. But remember, the less specific you are, the more control you give up, and in turn, the more you need to accept what is decided for you.

If you like things a certain way, make sure the builder knows it. Tell him exactly what things are important to you about the house.

Tell the Home Builder Your Expectations

What you expect and what the builder delivers can be two different things.

For example, if you expect the house to completed by a certain date with no exceptions, but the builder believes that date is flexible. Or, if you expect consultation at a certain stage of the build, but the builder passes that stage without consulting you.

Similar to being specific, your expectations should be made known to the builder. So, don’t leave it to chance. Convey to him what you expect.

Getting a Quality Custom Home

The quality of work varies from builder to builder and hinges greatly upon the work of their sub-contractors. There are variables which affect quality, like speed, skill level, and materials used.

An important conversation to have with your builder is the quality of work and materials. Because they need to know if your trying to cut costs or if you want the utmost quality or something in between.

Updates on Progress from the Builder

How often do you want an update on your house? Some homeowners don’t want updates, whereas, others want regular correspondence on the progress. In this case, you should schedule to receive updates from him according to your expectations.

Custom Home Change Orders

A common practice in building a home is change orders when the home buyer decides they want something different. Change orders typically affect the price, usually costing you more money.

Make sure you have clear understanding of how change orders work with your builder.

Working Through the Problems

Problems during the build happens frequently. Yes, building a new home comes with many challenges, and working through the issues is just part of the process. So, what makes a big difference is working with a good and reasonable builder. Hence, finding the best builder is a key element here. If you would like help finding and qualifying a good builder, check out our guide How to Find, Interview, and Vet a Home Builder.

When a problem arises try to not over react. Look at it with your builder as- “how can we fix this issue?” Consider together the possible solutions. Devise a plan of attack, and carry it out.

If a problem occurs between you and builder, try to be reasonable and objective. If the builder becomes unreasonable or the 2 of you can’t come to an agreement, then a mediator can be called in to help.

Walk Throughs

A “walk through” is a scheduled time to go through the house and go over the details of it. This is your time to thoroughly inspect the house to make sure the house is built to your specifications and standards.

Plan several walk throughs with the builder, such as after framing is completed (before drywall is hung), after painting, and before closing.

Final Words on Using a Custom Home Builder

The builder is such an important part to a custom home build. And a good builder will make the process better. But, it will take the 2 of you working together to get your home built to your expectations. So, do your part, as the builder does his, and watch your home become a reality.

If you’d like to learn deeper, broader information about building a home, read the article “How to Build a New Home Using a Builder.” The article covers the phases of a home build from start to finish.

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