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Building a customised home offers lots of advantages—privacy, budget flexibility, material quality, total personalisation, low costs, and the ability to optimise your lot. Since you are building it from the ground up, you need the assistance of a professional home builder.
But one problem you will encounter when building a custom home is finding a trustworthy builder that you can work with.
How do I find a good builder? This is one question that we will be answering in detail throughout this article. But first, let’s talk about why it’s important that you don’t just opt for the first home builder that pops up on the internet.
The Importance of Finding a Good Builder
Building a home is an exciting yet extremely confusing and overwhelming process. One mistake can surely cost you a fortune. Finding an expert home builder will ensure that you will get your dream home—and not a nightmare.
With that in mind, here are some of the benefits that you can enjoy when you learn how to choose a good builder:
Building a home is a project that involves a lot of people and processes. The more people that are in a project, the higher the potential for error. A great home builder will serve as your only point of contact during the entire process.
You will relay all your concerns only to them, and they will be the one to communicate with the other professionals (architects, engineers, etc.) in your team. All the instructions and commands will come only from one person, minimising the chances for errors or mistakes.
A good home builder leads the construction of plenty of houses in a year. Throughout their long years of working in the industry, they have already established good connections and relationships with home construction suppliers. Because of this, they already know where to get the materials that have the highest quality.
Furthermore, the number of projects that these experts have allows them to buy the construction supplies in bulk. As a result, they have access to the best prices, promos, and discounts on such products.
Access to Reliable Subcontractors
If you undertake the home building project on your own, you will find it challenging to find reliable subcontractors. With a custom home building company, you will have access to some of the most reputable subcontractors in your area.
Better Time Management
Managing a home construction requires long working hours and plenty of time and attention. Squeezing it in your free time is not recommended if you want to make the project as error-free and smooth sailing as possible.
Lucky for you, this is the real job of custom home builders like Pivot Homes. Our experts will help minimise your stress, reduce errors, and above all, save your time.
Better Project Flow
Delays can occur during the construction period. But with the long years of experience and practical knowledge of custom home builders, it is easier for them to plan the construction stages, schedule subcontractors, and ensure that the milestones in your timeline will be achieved on time and free of costly mistakes and errors.
What is the Role of a Custom Builder?
Before we dive into the topic of how to find a good builder, you must familiarise yourself first with what a custom builder does.
Captain of the ship, a general responsible for carrying out a military campaign, and a conductor of the orchestra—these are just some of the analogies used to refer to work of a custom home builder.
From these terms, we can tell that your home builder will play a significant role in the construction of your home. They will be assisting you before, during, and after the development of your home. To be specific, here are some of the responsibilities that custom builders carry out:
They help you find a location.
Before the construction, the first role of a builder is to select the perfect location for your home. Of course, you have the option to pick your lot or bring a lot of options to the builder, but if you are not knowledgeable in choosing a location, a builder can also help you find the perfect lot to build your house on.
Additionally, the builder will also be responsible for determining potential dangers or drawbacks among of your desired building location. They will be the ones to inform you about the different issues, restrictions, or obligations you may have when you buy a specific property. Luckily, Consumer Affairs Victoria has provided a due diligence checklist that can make the entire process a lot easier.
They obtain all necessary licenses and permits.
The most tedious part of building a home is securing all the permits and licenses required to start the construction process. The builder will be the one to work with local code and zoning authorities to obtain such licenses.
Since they already have a great understanding of building codes and a good working relationship with the local authorities, they can carry out this typically complicated process in the easiest and simplest way possible.
They make sure that the project will be carried out legally.
In addition to obtaining said permits, the builder also ensures that the building process will adhere to all construction laws and regulations.
This involves paying the respective taxes and roadway tolls to facilitate the passage of the construction materials from the suppliers to the site, as well as numerous other legal and safety obligations.
They manage the work of the subcontractors.
One of the reasons why you need to know how to find a reputable builder is because they play a significant role in the construction process, and that is to ensure that all subcontractors will deliver quality work promptly.
A good builder is knowledgeable about each specific trade to ensure that every job is done right. They have to make sure that the subcontractor adheres to the construction laws without losing time and money.
Also, it is the builder’s duty to keep the job on schedule and ensure that the established timeline is achieved. As such, they are also responsible for establishing the construction timetables and adjusting them when necessary.
They prevent potential problems and solve existing problems.
There are a lot of things that can and will go wrong when you are building a home. An expert home builder has the knowledge needed to solve the problems you are facing and prevent any issue that may arise. This takes off the stress of homeowners.
They track and manage inventories.
It is the job of the builder to track not just the construction materials but also the expenses incurred during the construction process. Aside from ordering and tracking deliveries, they are also responsible for submitting material bills and reports to the owners.
They assist in the final inspection of the home.
Once the construction is finished, the builder will clean the site and inspect the project. If any adjustments need to be made, they will work with subcontractors to fix such issues.
It is also their job to notify the corresponding municipal or city departments that it is all set up for final inspection. They will also be there during the city inspection, ensuring that everything will go as well as possible.
They tour the owner in their new home.
Once the final inspection is done and the municipality has released the certificate of occupancy, the builder will hand over the certificate and other essential documents to the homeowner. After that, they will tour around the homeowner in the newly constructed house, briefing them about the upkeep and functioning of the building.
By identifying their responsibilities, it will be easier for you to know how to find a trustworthy builder.
What To Look For in a Custom Home Builder
From the responsibilities mentioned above, you are already aware of how important it is to have a professional custom home builder on your side. The process on how to find a good builder may seem tedious and complicated, but you can make it simpler by looking for the following qualities or considering the factors mentioned below:
In-depth home construction industry experience and specialisation
During your hunt for how to find a good builder, you should prioritise the builder’s experience. A company Like Pivot Homes that has been building custom homes since 1990 is going to serve you better than a company that has only been in business for a couple of years.
But aside from experience, you also need to consider their specialisation. It is a must that the custom home builder you will hire specialises in the same architectural style and design that you want your house to have. The only way to ensure that is to check out their portfolio.
The more the company has, the more it helps you understand just how successful they are, so if they do have any awards, that adds to their reputation.
If you are still not sure of what style or design you want your home to have, you may want to look for a builder with a portfolio that shows different home designs that you can choose from.
Licensed and certified design and construction staff
Certificates and licenses are proof that the company’s team is equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to get your job done in the most timely, efficient, and cost-effective way possible.
High-quality materials and excellent construction practices
All of us want to have a beautiful house that is built to last. Because of this, it is a must that you look for a custom home builder that uses high-quality material and employs good construction practices. Reading customer reviews and complaints is one right way to determine this.
Long home warranty with comprehensive coverage
One of the main reasons that homeowners work with home builders is the warranty that such companies provide for their work. Ensuring that the company will cover any major repairs you may encounter will certainly bring peace of mind.
When interviewing a home builder, don’t forget to ask them about the warranty that they have along with the usual service timeframes that they are offering.
Excellent communication skills and customer service
You will be working with your home builder for a long time. If you want the project to run as smoothly as possible, you should go for a home builder that is dedicated to delivering excellent service every step of the way.
To determine this, observe how the builder answers your questions during the interview. You should also look at how prompt, respectful, and professional they are when they communicate with you.
Great testimonials from previous clients
No matter how hard you do your research, you can never fully grasp what it’s like to work with a builder until you have worked with them. However, checking out testimonials from previous clients is as close as you can get.
It is recommended that you ask the company for any references that they have, When you talk with these references, make sure that you ask about their experience in the different phases of the project, especially in the ones that you are most doubtful of.
How to Choose a Home Builder
In addition to identifying what qualities you should look for in a home builder, let’s take a look at a few different tips on how to choose a good builder:
Determine the type of project and builder you want.
Some of the issues that you need to address are the size and extent of customisation of the house, design of your home, materials, and finishes that you want, type of neighbourhood you want to live in, your budget, and type of service you need (full or partial builder services).
Create a list of potential builders.
There are plenty of ways for how to find a trustworthy builder. These include personal recommendations, professional recommendations, online search, local advertisements (newspapers and radio stations), and industry trade associations.
Carry out background research.
Before you meet up with a potential candidate, you can save time and effort by doing background research. The details you should ask for include their address and contact details, type of construction projects that they have done, membership form trade associations, certifications and licensees, and previous client references.
Set up interviews, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Never decide without meeting potential candidates face-to-face. Make sure to ask them important questions about the project. During the interview, make sure to take down as many notes as you possibly can. In this way, you can easily compare and contrast their answers and determine which builder is most suitable for you.
Schedule a walk-through in one of their projects.
It is not enough that you read customer testimonials and talked with one of their references. If you want to know the quality of their work, a walk-through is recommended. It can be the home of their previous clients or their model houses.
During a walk-through, make sure to inspect the critical details of the house closely.
Ask for quotations and contract proposals.
Reputable builders have a standard contract for their clients. You should ask for contract proposals from your top three builder choices. Once you have received the proposals, compare them (and be wary of the fine print) to determine which one would work best for you.
Mistakes to Avoid in Choosing Your Builder
Aside from asking how do I find a good builder ?, you should also ask yourself about the mistakes you need to avoid when choosing a builder. Here are some of the most important ones:
Thinking that the builder with the cheapest quote is the right one.
Contrary to popular belief, the cheapest is not always best. It is natural for you to be attracted to a quote that can help you save money, but if its price is significantly lower, it might be too good to be true.
Not trying to understand the jargon in the contract or quote.
When assessing the quotations or contracts sent to you, you will come across different foreign terms (like “provisional sum” and “prime cost”), that you do not understand. If you do not want to be vulnerable to additional costs and going over budget, you need to exert extra effort in understanding such terms.
Not understanding what is and what is not included in the quote.
The best way to determine which items are included in the quote is to ask the builder to enumerate all the things that are not included in the quote. This is to avoid any confusion about whether a particular item is included or not.
For example, the builder provides a quotation for lights. But by lights, they meant only the globe holder—no light fittings included. If you do not clear this up, there’s the possibility that you will go beyond your budget because you thought that the light fittings are already included in the quotation.
Choosing the wrong type of builder.
In case you didn’t know, there are different types of builders: volume new home builders, renovation builders, and custom home builders. Because of this, you need to make sure that you will choose the right kind of builder.
There are lots of small issues that may arise during the construction period. A builder that specialises in the type of construction you need can efficiently address these issues without costing you time and money.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Home Builder
Creating a home from scratch can be a tedious and complicated process. Finding and choosing the right builder can mean the difference between having a dream come true, and a nightmare turned into reality.
If you want to build a home that is customised to your needs without wasting time, effort and money, you should partner with a custom home builder with long years of industry experience, streamlined construction process, excellent construction management skills, and established connections with reputable subcontractors.
Pivot Homes has been serving the residents of Victoria for more than 25 years. We would love for you to request a custom quote and see if your dream would fit in our long list of successfully built custom homes.