Selecting Your Customer Homebuilder
In Part 1 of this series, we provided you tips for selecting a lender, identifying your needs, and the importance of being clear about what you want. Now it’s time to select your custom homebuilder, which can seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be, if you follow our advice below.
1. Look for Experience
Ask questions such as how long the company has been in business and how long its principals have been building homes. It’s important to choose a builder who’s a seasoned professional. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what they’ve done in the past.
2. Ask Plenty of Questions
Write a list of questions and bring them with you to your initial meetings. Besides the questions of “how much does it cost?” and “when can we move in?”, here are some other questions you should ask, as suggested by the National Association of Home Builders.
- Will the builder give you references of recent buyers/occupants?
- Does the builder have a financing plan established?
- Are there options in the floor plan – for example, can a basement or deck be added?
- Can a room such as the basement be left unfinished?
- How much “customizing” can be done versus standard features?
- Can appliances be up-graded or down-graded?
- Are there any additional fees relating to the home or development?
- Will there be a homeowners’ association? If so, what will the dues cost and what do they cover?
- Does the builder offer a warranty program?
- Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
- Are there any restrictive covenants?
- What are the estimated taxes on the property?
- How is the school system rated?
- Are day cares and grocery stores convenient and satisfactory?
- What about emergency facilities – police, fire department, and hospitals?
- Are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?
If you have a friend or family member who has built a home before, then ask them what they wish they’d known going into the process. Prospective builders should be happy to answer your questions in detail and with examples.
3. Tour Previously Built Homes and Job Sites
See as many of the builders’ houses as possible to get a first-hand look at the designs and quality of the work you can expect. Pay close attention to the quality of workmanship and materials used in their homes. Are the products quality brands? Are the design features attractive? Are the floor plans suitable for your lifestyle? Does the builder pay close attention to detail or are there items that look unfinished? Are the employees and/or subcontractors professional, experienced, knowledgeable, and courteous? What do the job sites look like? Do you see any red flags, such as safety issues? Drive through the communities each prospective builder is currently working in. Don’t be afraid to stop and ask homeowners if they’d be willing to share their experiences and whether they’d recommend the builder.
4. Review the Homebuilding Process
Every builder uses a different process for constructing a custom home – from initial meeting to design and product selection. Ask potential builders about their process and your role in the project. You’ll want to understand who they work with, what kind of input you’ll be able to have, the timeframe they can meet, and other elements. Look for a builder who can execute a smooth process from start to finish and who welcomes your input. Winslow Custom Homes has established an excellent project management system and allows for extensive input from the homeowners.
5. Request References
Ask prospective builders for references – and visit with them. Reputable builders will have a proven history of high-quality work and many delighted customers who are willing to vouch for them.
6. Licensing & Insurance
Not every state has laws or regulations concerning builder licensing, but some do. If your state does, be sure the builder you select has the proper licensing as required. Also ask for verification that he has the appropriate insurance to cover his company, his employees, and you in the event of a loss or accident.
Every product you buy comes with some type of warranty. Certainly, your largest investment – your home – should come with a long-term written and insured third-party warranty, not just a promise from the builder to perform. This type of warranty assures you that if there is a warranted problem, even if the builder is out of business, it will be resolved through repair or settlement.
8. Consider Your Connection
The custom homebuilder you select will be charged with bringing your dream home to life. Essentially, you’re entering a relationship with your builder. You want someone you can openly communicate with, someone who is responsive and transparent with you, and a team that is helpful and knowledgeable.
Besides their professionalism, you and your custom homebuilder must be a personal fit. Remember, this is a long-term project and besides being an expensive investment, this is also an emotional investment. So, review your interactions with potential builders and the connections you’ve made with them.
Our Pledge to You
Winslow Custom Homes makes the process of building your dream home as enjoyable, simple, and hassle-free as possible.
The experience of building a custom home is as important as the home itself, which is why we focus as much on the process as we do on the outcome. Yes, you want your dream home to be your dream home, but you also want the process of building it to be enjoyable and stress-free.
We are committed to providing you with exemplary client service, personal relationships, extraordinary communication, and an ever-expanding array of options for your new home.
So, here’s our pledge to you:
- We’ll help you build your dream home by crafting a collaborative client relationship that will be worth remembering.
- We’ll carefully listen to your wants and needs, provide options, and communicate with you every step of the way.
- We won’t limit you to a narrow choice of products and will work tirelessly to offer options that meet your budget and style.
- We will allow – and even want – you to be part of the creative process.
- We will design and build a better home with less stress and anxiety – together, with you.
Welcome to Winslow Custom Homes, where we build beautiful homes through beautiful experiences.