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SCROGGS BLOG // How to Select a Custom Home Builder

Did you know that 23% of home buyers want a custom home over an existing or newly built home in 2018? However, two of the biggest barriers are finding a builder who’s experienced enough to deliver on your dream as well as the custom home builder cost.

We’re here to help make your decision an informed one–it’s important that you don’t choose a custom home builder based on cost alone. This is because a builder with less experience, a hands-off approach, and poor communication skills could cause you to spend more money than you initially expected as you attempt to right their wrongs! 

With this in mind, read on to learn everything you need to know when it comes to selecting a custom home builder in your area! 

Before the Search

Before you begin the search, it will help you to decide exactly what you want in a home. Here are a few details to get you started: 

  • Number of rooms
  • Number of floors
  • Square footage
  • Yard size
  • Style
  • Built-in features

You’ll want to be as specific as possible, as this can help you narrow down your choices as well as communicate more effectively about your expectations.

Some builders may specialize in certain styles of homes over others, while others will give you advice on features you may want to include that you hadn’t considered based on your preferences.

Start the Search

Once you have a list of the features you want in your home, your next step is to begin some online research. You’ll want to find a builder before or soon after you’ve begun designing the home with an architect. A builder can collaborate with your architect and help plan the development schedule as well as provide their own design ideas.

More importantly, they can also offer their construction knowledge when it comes to cutting costs and recognizing any construction issues. 

Any well-established custom home builder should have an online presence, and you’ll easily find ones local to you by searching “custom home builders near me.” Create a list of the home builders you find with positive reviews, and try to steer clear from any builders that have an overwhelming number of negative reviews. 

If you know anyone in construction or has had a custom home built, make sure to ask them about their experiences and recommendations as well. Even if they don’t have a recommendation for you, they may clue you in on the companies you should avoid.

Keep Researching

After you’ve made your list of custom home builders with positive reviews, it’s important that you dive deeper and do your own research by perusing their websites. Make sure that their website is well-formatted and working correctly. You’ll want to find builders with websites that detail their company history, show a portfolio of completed homes, and have easy-to-find contact details.

By researching out through their contact form or number, you’ll get an idea of their responsiveness as well as their professionalism. If they don’t respond to you in a timely manner, this is a good indication that they probably won’t change if you hire them. 

Questions to Ask a Custom Home Builder 

After you’ve narrowed down your choices to two or three and you can’t narrow them down further, it’s important that you take the time to request an in-person interview. This will give you an idea of processes, experience, organization, and transparency. More importantly, you’ll also get to know the team’s culture and personality to determine whether they’re a good fit for you.

We also recommend requesting a visit to one of their finished custom homes. This can be where the interview is conducted if everyone’s in agreement. Here are a few questions you can ask during the interview: 

  • Will you work with my interior designer and architect? 
  • How thorough is your estimating process?
  • What do your project teams look like? 
  • How often will the project be directly supervised? 
  • How do you normally communicate with clients during the project? 
  • What is your process for change orders
  • Will I be able to choose my contract type? 
  • Can you provide me with some references? 

Your interview may have gone smoothly, but it’s still recommended to contact each of the builder’s references. Ask them detailed questions about their experience before, during, and after the project. You can also ask these references if they felt the process was clean and organized and if their communication was consistent throughout.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask them about finances–were they able to provide an accurate estimate, or did they end up paying more in the end? What were the reasons for any overages? 

Selecting a Custom Home Builder: Finding the Best

The benefits of hiring a custom home builder are numerous if you take the time to find the right one. It’s important you remember that selecting a home builder isn’t supposed to be a quick and efficient process.

After you’ve created a list of the top features you want your home to have, start your research by asking your network if they have any recommendations. Next, start a simple Google search and seek custom builders with established online presences with positive reviews. 

Once you’ve created your shortlist, the next step is the hardest part–contacting each of them and requesting an interview. Ask them as many questions as you can and pay attention to whether they seem open or annoyed with your questions. Next, remember to ask them for a list of references so you can do the final step of asking them questions. 

At Scroggs, we’re considered the leader in everything construction. Start your research phase today and contact us for a free initial estimate