The 10 (or so) Questions You Should Ask a Custom Homebuilder
Is this your first custom home build? If not, do you remember all the things you wish you’d asked your first builder?
In either case, asking the important questions now will help you avoid big headaches later. Agreeing on expectations and understanding their capabilities will not only help you find the best match for your build, it will expand your knowledge of the entire process. And knowledge is power.
When you sit down with a custom home builder, open your laptop and start by asking:
- What processes do you have in place to recognize errors in the plans and solve design issues before construction starts?
- What is your timeline for completing a custom home of this size?
- Can you provide a copy of your license, certifications, and insurance?
- What systems and processes do you have to ensure the project meets our quality standards and completion date?
- What documentation will you provide to ensure materials and finishes will meet our expectations?
- How will you ensure that our home will meet current energy efficiency standards?
- Our lot has challenges (i.e. excessive slope, unavailable utilities, thick brush, etc.). Tell us about a similar project, and how you overcame such obstacles.
- Who will be responsible for day-to-day operations on our project?
- Do you have 3D modeling capability?
- Please provide a list of bank, supplier and professional references.
- BONUS: Can you provide a list of previous projects as well as a list of client references?
- BONUS: What is the experience level and expertise of you and your staff?
As you work through this interview, you’ll gain insights into who your builder is, as well as what he does: Is their team forthcoming with details? Are they taking time to answer completely, or are they talking down to you? Are you meeting with a principal of the business, or a project supervisor? Are you getting their full attention, or do you feel there’s someplace they’d rather be? Are they even taking notes?
These interview cues will set the tone for all your future interactions with that builder, so pay close attention. Communication is as important to the quality of your build as concrete, wood and steel, at Shea Chappell, we promise not to skimp on any of them.