What are the most important factors a person should consider in choosing a custom builder?
Price is important and should be looked at, however, price alone should not be the bottom line. The cost of building your home should not be viewed separately from the quality and value you can buy with your dollars. The reliability of the builder is very important. As a prospective customer, you should evaluate the builder's workmanship. The two most critical questions you should ask yourself are: "Will I be able to work well with this builder as the project moves forward?" and "Am I confident that I'll be fully satisfied with the end result of this builder's work?"
How can people find the right custom builder?
Spend time with the prospective builder. Ask many questions about your specific project and visit homes the company has completed. If you have special home features in mind, such as an unique fireplace or even an indoor pool, you should find out if the builder has worked on such features before.
How much care should people take in choosing a custom builder?
All custom builders are not the same. We've all heard some home-building "horror stories" from friends, relatives, or colleagues. Who you choose for your project can make the critical difference in whether you're satisfied or dissatisfied with the home.
Should people view building a custom home differently from other home-building options?
Absolutely! Building a custom home is much different from having a new home built in a subdivision. Such homes are only "custom-built" in a limited sense. Frequently, the choices are restricted, both in the design of the home and in the products that go into the home. When the customer truly custom-builds a home, he or she has a great deal of control over the design and features of the home. With the support and expertise of a good custom builder, you can choose from a wide array of designs, features, and products for your home. In making these choices, you can "build-in" more value for your home today, and increase the home's resale value over the long term.
Is having a custom home built more expensive than other options for purchasing a new home?
In general, yes. A custom home is likely to cost you more, for example, than a subdivision home of similar size in the same market. Cost differences can be attributed to the use of premium goods, components, and specifications in nearly every element of the custom home—one that looks better, lasts longer, and offers much more in the way of comfort and features.
Are there any common misconceptions about having a home custom built?
A common misconception is that the process, or even the final result, will be flawless. When you're building a home, you're working with natural products and a lot of variables that sometimes can't be predicted in advance. Problems can be avoided somewhat by choosing the right products and components for the home. In addition, it's important to have a builder who is competent and flexible—and responsive enough to solve the problems as they arise.
Have there been any major changes in the custom home marketplace in recent years?
People expect more from their custom homes today then they did even a few years ago. They're integrating many more unique and high-value features. People have become more "price-conscious." However, it would be better if people would become more "value-conscious."