How do you go about finding the right Custom Home Builder?

You have decided you want to build your own custom home.  Maybe you are starting with a plot of land or you are rebuilding an existing structure.

You have an idea of a style and several “must haves” that will help it become the home that is right for you.

How do you find the right builder?  You have spoken to friends about their experiences,  you have walked through the open houses. You have gone online to check out builder’s web pages and looked through their galleries.  You want to find the builder that matches your needs as a future owner. This house needs to reflect you.

One of the first things you need is a process to narrow down the field of candidates.  Some of this you can do with just a little research.

Does he build in my area?   Does he build custom homes?

Does he build large scale developments that are profitable due to limited choices? Is the builder accessible or do you have to work through a sales team?  Remember that a sales team may have little or no experience with actual construction.

Is his reputation built on quality or high marketing visibility?

If you are a client who prefers personal attention and a greater range of input into the crafting of your home then eliminating anyone who isn’t a custom builder is a good place to start.

Once you have a select number of custom home builders one of the best things you can do is to interview them and ask key questions.

One of the nightmares most potential buyers fear is who is actually going to be doing the work on their house. What are their qualifications? Are they highly experienced trades and respected in their field? How long have they been associated with the company?  Is the work subcontracted out to the lowest bid? Is there ongoing onsite supervision?

Things to note: Saying that a company builds to code doesn’t mean it is good.  It means they do the minimum to pass inspection.  You need to know that they build beyond code and are willing to give examples of how they do so on a regular basis.  A great builder is proud of his work and nothing makes him happier than to explain what goes into the house long before the finishing stage.

A builder will show you photos of his past work.  A great builder will give you referrals to people who have bought from him in the past and will talk about their experience with the builder and his team.

Chances are you have design ideas of your own but how does it all comes together?  How would the builder enhance your ideas?  What does he provide in terms of design for the aesthetics as well as sound building technologies?  The layout needs to meet your personal requirements while being feasible. Who is responsible for this and is their any flexibility?  Who is responsible for making sure that look and function of the home works together?  What if you are not sure what materials work best for certain areas? Can he provide you of an overview of the final look of a space?

Next you will need to discuss timelinesWhat is realistic to complete your project your way?  What are the factors that might influence that timeline?  Who is responsible for keeping things running according to projections?

If you are happy with the answers so far you would then sit down to discuss the financial aspect of the build and we cover that in another post.

Scott Foster is the Owner of Wescraft. A Langley BC based Custom Home Builder with over 20 years experience.