In part one of this article, we covered the first four tips on choosing the right builder. Let’s take a look at the next four reasons why choosing the right builder is imperative to achieving your dream home.
Before you choose to go the route of a custom or production builder, you should decide what matters most to you. Is it budget, location, or design choice? If budget is a heavy consideration, a production builder can definitely provide more home for less money. You will have to choose between a handful of layout selections, but most builders ensure that your exterior doesn’t have that cookie-cutter look.
<—Back to Part I
If budget doesn’t need to dictate freedom of design, the custom builder experience is probably for you. Keep in mind that custom isn’t synonymous with mansion. Custom homes can be simple, while still allowing you to design the home of your dreams. In fact, your custom home will be limited by budget only – not by imagination!
Who’s Who in the World of Construction?
You’ve heard it takes a village… well, that’s not so far off when it comes to building your own home. It’s important to know who’s who, so you can get your questions answered quickly, accurately, and satisfactorily.
If you are investing in a custom-built home, you will want to get to know your architect quite well. If you are building a production home, the developer will have already completed the architectural design phase by the time you come knocking. For design specifics, you will be working with the builder’s new home consultant. The consultant will help you determine which floor plan is best for you, and he or she will also help you select your preferred lot and home exterior, as well as upgrades, landscaping, countertops, paint, and other details that will make your home special.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes when your house is being built. Whether you are building a custom home or a production home, your general contractor is responsible for the quality of the finished product, so he’s your go-to guy.
You Want to Change What?!
Once construction is in progress, changes might not be feasible, and, at best, they will be costly. That’s why it is so important to choose your builder wisely and to educate yourself about all of your options before you start building.
Production home contractors will be much less likely to get onboard with the changes for a couple reasons: first, the changes you are requesting might not be feasible. Keep in mind that the contractor’s options are dictated by the developer. Secondly, production builders are bound by volume. When you request changes late in the game, you slow down the process and push up the costs.
What’s All This Going to Cost Me?
Great question, and hopefully one you have already considered. Part of your answer is obviously going to be based on your choice of a custom versus production home builder. Other factors will include the number of options and changes you want, as well as when you decide to make those changes. A simple rule: if it requires more material or more time, it’s going to cost more.
When it comes to cost, don’t take anything for granted. Ask lots of questions, do independent research, and prepare for the unexpected.
Can I Monitor the Work?
Another good question, and one you should discuss with your builder before you finalize the deal. Obviously, it’s your house, and you can presumably do what you want. Rather than fight the process, however, it is better to establish the ground rules with your contractor ahead of time.
Make sure you have confidence in your builder. You don’t want to work with someone who is going to ask you to accept substandard expediencies or be less than honest about construction problems. Also, be sure to identify times that are safe for you to do a walkthrough.
When the time comes for a home inspector to show up, keep in mind that each one can have a little different standard for “acceptable.” Develop open communication with your home inspector so that you thoroughly understand any issues, as well as what resolutions are expected, can – and should – accompany the inspector while he is completing his checklist.
City or county inspectors typically conduct five home inspections during construction. The first inspection occurs at the foundation stage, the second is to check the foundation insulation before the dirt is backfilled, the third is the rough in stage prior to the installation of drywall, the fourth is the insulation inspection in the walls, and the final is just before move in. The inspector has to acknowledge that your home meets building codes related to foundation, water and sewer, roofing, and mechanical systems. The inspection process is rather thorough, but that shouldn’t keep you from taking a proactive stance about the quality of construction.
Now you’re ready to go from thinking to planning! To begin, print this guide and put a process to your ideas. Your dream home awaits!