We’re going to talk about your role as the homeowner in the home building process. We will discuss how performing your role well leads to a great home building experience and gets the home you expect.
New Construction Homeowners Need to Understand Their Role
Being in the home building industry for many years and watching new construction home buyers, I noticed many of them simply don’t think about their role and what it involves. Many homeowners assume their role is very passive. They believe that they make some decisions on the options, like floor plan, lighting, plumbing fixtures, and flooring. They have a couple of meetings, and the builder takes care of the rest. While it’s true that the builder has the biggest role in the home building process, you as the homeowner still have a very important role in your home build. One that you have to understand and act upon wisely.
The New Construction Homeowner is Like a Chief Executive Officer
So what is the new construction homeowners role? When I thought about how to illustrate this easily, what came to mind is a chief executive officer. Think for a minute what a chief executive officer is and does. They oversee. They make executive decisions. This is what you, as the homeowner, need to do for your home build.
Deal with Specific Variables to Your Home Build
As the homeowner, you will have to contend with many variables that affect your home build. What are some of the variables in building your home?
If you have a lot of funds and great builders available to you, you can pick the best builder, pick the better lot, and select high quality materials.
On the other hand, if you don’t have as much money, or you don’t have many great builders and subcontractors in your area, you will have to adjust. And, if that’s the case, you can still get a well built home. But, you may have to spend more time, more effort trying to get the right builder, or you may have to check up on the builder you hire to make sure the home is built according to your agreement. To help you with this, you can hire your own home inspector to check the work.
Set The Tone of Your New Home Build
Now, as the owner in your home build, you want to dictate the tone of your build and your expectations. And your demeanor, how you act toward the builder, will do that. You want to be professional, direct, and express what you expect. At the same time, be cordial and not over demanding.
Be Considerate of The Home Builders Role
Think about the home builder’s role and what’s all involved in his process of building a house. It’s a long process that takes many months. There are obstacles and problems to overcome, like material shortages and getting subcontractors to show up on time. There are different variables involved and parts to manage, like meetings, effectively managing his subcontractors, handling finances, paying invoices, communications with you, and inspections.
All these things have to be done in a natural progression from beginning to end. And, if one of those things goes out of whack, like something can’t get done on time, then that holds up the rest of the process.
So be reasonable with them. As you’re going through the build, when you realize how overwhelming it is for you, imagine what it’s like for the home builder.
Yes, this is their job. It’s their responsibility. But a little empathy goes a long way. Be considerate. Because when you want something done, like making a change, being considerate goes a long way. Your builder will be more likely to go out of their way for you. They will be your advocate. And that’s what you want, not an opposer. You don’t want your builder on one side and you on the other. Yes, you are two separate entities, in a business relationship. But, if it goes well, a builder will side with you and do their best to get you a good home build.
New Construction Homeowners Need to Assess and Make Decisions
Whether you’re building a production or custom home, you need to have checks and balances in place to make sure the build is taking place as accordingly. As the homeowner, you should have meetings with the builder. These meetings are for you to make assessments of the home build and it’s progress. Afterwards, you will have to decide if the building is taking place according to the plans and your expectations. If it’s not, you might have to make some difficult decisions, especially if the builder is being unreasonable.
Unfortunately, a home build can have it’s hiccups. And sometimes it’s the fault of the builder. So, you always need to be prepared for those scenarios. As the homeowner, be ready for anything. Try not to over-exaggerate the situation or make it worse. Yes, those situations are going to be stressful, but take a step back. Truly assess the situation for what it is, and look at it from a business standpoint. This may be difficult to do because it’s a personal thing. It’s costing you a lot of money, and it’s going to be your home. But try to remove yourself from it emotionally and to deal professionally with the builder.
And, if big problems occur with the builder, or you guys aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, or they’re just being really unreasonable with you, then respond accordingly. Look for solutions to the problem. If necessary, you can even get other professionals involved, such as a mediator or attorney. They are a great third party resource for resolving a conflict.
Provide Incentives to The Home Builder and Subcontractors
Another part of your role as homeowner can be to provide incentives to the home builder and others you’re working with. Incentives help to motivate the builder and to make sure you get what you want. They can be given financially. For example, you could say to the builder, “If you get my home finished within x amount of time, I’ll give you a bonus of x amount of money.” If the builder has 6 other houses they’re building, do you think this will motivate him to pay attention to yours? Most likely it will.
Another incentive is to show up at the jobsite with drinks, donuts, snacks, or lunch. A gesture like that goes a long way with the workers. They’re working long, hard days, sometimes in extreme weather. It could be raining, snowing, or scorching hot outside. And when they realize you appreciate their hard work, it really boosts their morale. In turn, it encourages them to go the extra mile on your home. They’ll build your house right, and not just slap it together.
Put in the Effort to Pick a Good Builder
The last point I want to make about your role is who you hire as your home builder. Now, some people think, “I just need to find a builder.” But that is so untrue. You can’t just find any builder, because there are good ones and bad ones. I have seen many buyers pick the wrong builder, and I saw the consequences- a long, drawn out build, poor workmanship, loss of money, all resulting in stress and anxiety for the buyer.
So, when you’re hiring the builder, spend the necessary effort required to get a good builder. Of course, this is no easy task on your own because you need the knowledge of someone experienced in this field. I want you to get the builder you need. So, I put together an in-depth guide that takes you step-by-step through the process of getting a good home builder. It teaches you the types of home builds, the types of builder agreements, how to search for and find home builder candidates, how to interview them, and how to vet them. As part of the interview process, I developed over 100 questions as part of a questionnaire to ask your builder candidates. The questionnaire includes explanations and tips for you, so you know exactly what you’re asking, and know how to use it to get what you want. I made this guide to take the guesswork out of getting a good builder and to give you the confidence you need to get that builder. It’s called How to Find, Interview, and Vet a Home Builder.
Have a great home building journey!