You’ve decided to build your dream home,
or are certainly interested in building your dream home. You know a cookie-cutter home isn’t going to cut it. You are deciding on a home builder.
You’d like to have more say in the matter than what kind of counter tops your home will have. You want a home built by professionals! A team who actually use their laser levels and squares because they’re encouraged to produce quality, not quantity.
You want a home that is as unique as you are. A layout just for you, and is designed exactly how you imagine it.
The benefits of building a custom home in Lethbridge go on and on.
As long as you’re working with a reputable builder of course.
So, what steps can you take? What questions can you ask in order to find the right custom home builder for you?
1. Ask your builder for transparency, and don’t pretend to understand something you don’t
If you’re not knowledgeable about home building, that’s okay, we all have our areas of expertise.
So, if a potential builder is discussing something you don’t understand, ask them for clarification.
A good home-builder will respect you and will value communicating clearly and transparently to make sure there are no surprises down the road.
When deciding on a home builder watch out for these concerns. If they’re avoiding questions, changing the subject, or inexplicably negating and/or rejecting your ideas, red flag!
2. Ask your builder which third-party certifications and reputable partnerships they have
You’re trusting your home-builder to have the knowledge and expertise to build your dream home on time. This includes on budget, and to the high standards you’re after.
You expect them to be professional. They’re in this industry you would expect them to be a knowledge leader. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
When you’re making an investment as large as a home, don’t just take your builder’s word for what they offer. Be sure their homes are third-party verified.
For example, if you’re looking for a healthy, energy-efficient home, then the BUILT GREEN® certification would be what to look for. A green label can also increase your home’s resale value by 7-10%.
Another option is to read reviews about the company. Alternatively, ask friends/colleagues/relatives who may have built a home with them in the past. OR you can…
3. Ask your builder if you can tour past clients’ homes
Nothing beats that “touch and feel” of actually experiencing the product first-hand before deciding on a home builder.
This is why we have show homes, the Parade of Homes, etc.
However, many custom home builders can’t afford to have a vacant property sitting around for showings. Sometimes, they have to show homes that are already occupied.
By asking your builder if you can tour homes that are already occupied, you not only get to see their product first-hand, but you also get to judge the relationship between the builder and the client.
If your prospective builder’s clients are happy to let you tour their home, then they must have a positive rapport with the builder. They’re likely proud of the home they’re living in.
4. Ask your builder what allowances they’ll provide you with
If you’re deciding on a home builder to build your custom home, then you might already have a good idea of what you want.
It’s your home, and your money, making you the most important stakeholder in the project.
Being the most important stakeholder, you should be making important decisions. Agreed?
An allowance is a set price of what you can spend on certain areas of your home. While working within your budget.
So, when your builder gives you an allowance for appliances, or counter tops, or cabinetry, etc. you get to go shopping.
Again, it’s your home, it’s your choices.
Your finished product should be the product of your imagination, and you should be able to choose nearly everything that goes in it or on it.
I say nearly everything, because builders won’t budge on some things.
For example, at Greener Homes, you can choose what materials are coming into your home, but we require that they be low-VOC and non-toxic for a healthier living environment, and we’d rather not budge on this.
So, by asking and clarifying with your builder what allowances you’ll have you’ll get a good idea of how much freedom you’ll have in customizing your home.
When your builder provides you with your allowances, be sure to clarify exactly why each amount of money was allocated to each allowance.
If you already have some ideas of what you want in your home, be sure to mention it so the allowances can be adjusted as appropriate.
And if you find you’re given more in an allowance than what you need, then great! Those extra funds can then be used in other allowances, or go right back to your pocket.
5. Look for Recognition in the community
Not ever having won an award shouldn’t be a deal breaker in itself, but it might help you in making a selection. If there is something specific you’re looking for, and a builder has won an award, or multiple awards for it, it could be a good sign.
Also, scan the web, newspapers, and magazines and look for any unpaid recognition (not advertisements) they’ve received in the media. What are they being celebrated or recognized for?
6. Ask your builder how they’ll keep you up to date on progress
When you’re building your home, it’s a construction site, and for liability reasons the builder may not permit your presence during certain stages of construction.
At Greener Homes, we use a custom home building software that allows you a customer login, where you can track the progress of your home and communicate with the builder without worrying the information getting lost in email somewhere.
When the site is safe to enter, we’ll happily accommodate a tour.
Now it’s time to start shopping!
Building a home is a big investment, and it’s best to do some homework. We hope this information helps you in your search.
If you have any questions or would like more information, shoot us a message or give us a call.