Finding and appointing a reputable homebuilder or remodeler is essential to your success in building a custom home. Building a new home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so it is important to get it right the first time. Remember, you will likely be working together for 6-12 months; so as in any relationship, there needs to be trust and clear, honest communication.
Home buyers are always asking about the differences between the standards of a reputable builder vs. an inexperienced builder. How do you know if you are getting an Old Navy sweater vs. a Gap sweater vs. a Banana Republic sweater? As all three of these companies are subsidiaries of one controlling company, each of them have their varying price points and associated qualities to match those price points.
In this blog post, we’re going to give you 5 fool proof interview questions to vet a quality custom home builder in Northern Virginia. Before we dive into what to look for in these quality builders, let’s first define the roles and responsibilities of a quality custom home builder.
Role of a Quality Custom Home Builder A good custom home builder is an advocate for the homeowner as well as an integral and collaborative member of the design team. They work with the homeowner and design to team to help establish a realistic budget for the project and then monitor the cost and scope through the design and construction process.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Quality Custom Home Builder
- The custom home builder will have preliminary interviews with you to get a better understanding of what kind of home you would like to build
- In-house floor plans should be available and options should also be given to work with your architect or use your plans
- A builder will work with your real estate agent to find a suitable lot and analyze the hidden development costs that will impact your budget
- A quality builder should evaluate your budget to see how each element of your lot and custom home fits into that budget
- The builder will be responsible for managing and obtaining all approvals, inspections, and the certificate of occupancy.
- The builder will educate the owner on the operation and maintenance of the house and service the warrantee as required by local jurisdiction.
What Do You Look For in a Custom Home Builder? A qualified custom home builder doesn’t need to have the best truck sign on the highway or the best looking website with a huge marketing budget. The right builder needs to have the right financial resources, team approach, project management and communication skills, and experience to deliver a quality home. Their primary focus should be on building you a custom home and letting you know if your design plans meet your budget requirements. Here is a shortlist to help you narrow down your candidates before you interview them.
- Current resume of projects
- Track record of projects of similar scale
- Communication skills
- Project management skills
- Client references
Once you have narrowed down your candidates with the shortlist above, here are 5 important questions you must ask in an interview to gauge a builder’s understanding of the project, skills, and desire to be involved.
- Are you willing to work with my architect or plans to ensure we are creating a home that meets my budget?
- In the event that there are unforeseen changes to the costs of building materials or designs, what process do you have in place to communicate these changes to the owner?
- Are you comfortable helping me find a lot to build on and obtaining the building permit in a reasonable amount of time?
- What kind of projects have you done that are similar in scale and style to the custom home I expect?
- How will questions and answers be addressed during the construction of the project?
As you can see, looking for a quality custom home builder isn’t just about looking for someone who comes with excellent references and offers you a fair price for the task. Make sure you understand what to look for and be prepared with the right questions before you decide on who to work with for the next 6-12 months.