Having a home custom built is a lifelong dream for many people. Unfortunately, that dream can quickly become a nightmare if you select the wrong home builder for the job. The good news? A little vetting goes a long way when it comes to choosing the right design-build home builder—and by asking a few key questions, you can get a much better idea as to whether a particular builder may be well-suited for you.
What's Standard vs. an Add-On?
Ideally, a prospective home builder will have a model home that you can walk through early in the process. Doing a model walk-through can help you get a better feel for the builder's overall design. Just keep in mind that as you walk through the model home, you will likely be looking at a home that has been "decked out" with features that may not come standard with your purchase.
While you walk through the model then, be sure to ask the builder representative what's included versus what might cost you extra. Bring a pen and notepad too so you can make note of these add-ons and the approximate cost they could add to your project.
When Will My Move-In Date Be?
While there are a lot of factors that can be outside your builder's control (including the weather), any experienced custom home builder should be able to give you a fairly solid move-in date that factors in common delays. For your peace of mind, you should not sign any kind of contract or place a deposit with a home builder until you have a move-in date in writing. You should also be wary of a home builder that gives you a move-in date before knowing some details about your proposed new build, including the estimated square footage, location, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and more.
What Is Your Warranty/Guarantee?
While any reputable home builder should offer a warranty, it's important to understand that not all warranties are created equal. Some builders will stand behind their work more than others, so if your prospective builder mentions that they offer a 10-year warranty, ask for more details. What's included in the warranty and what is the process for filing a warranty claim? At the very least, your warranty should include major components of your new home, such as the HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical system.
When you ask the right questions, you'll have an easier time choosing a custom home builder to turn your dreams into reality.