Your home builder should have a track record that makes you feel confident that your home will turn out beautifully. But in order for that to happen, you need a builder who has more than just building expertise.
A home builder who can help you through the whole home-building process should have expertise in a wide array of disciplines. We've found a few non-building topics to be especially helpful to know about when building homes.
Land title issues
Is the chain of title to your dream land clear, or are there deed issues lurking in the background? If your builder isn't familiar with these issues, do you know someone else you can call on for assistance?
Lending options, constraints, and procedures
You'll need both a permanent loan and a construction loan to build a home on your own land. Not every family's financial situation is the same, of course—make sure your builder can help you find the right lending relationship for your situation.
Land development requirements and costs
What particular issues exist on your unique piece of land? What hidden costs should your builder factor in from the very beginning to keep you under budget? Depending on your property, that could include issues with:
- site access
- soil analysis
- foundation engineering
- flood zone requirements
- permit issues
- water availability (well or city water)
- city requirements
Your builder has hopefully built more homes than you have. Make sure you're working with someone you can trust to guide you through issues in any of these areas.
The design that you and your builder create together should work for your needs and keep you within your budget.
Having the expertise to maximize what you get for your budget, rather than a "one size fits all" cost per square foot plan, helps you get the most bang for your buck.
Efficient building practices
Builders need to run an efficient operation to minimize wasted time and resources, both of which cost you money. What processes does your builder have in place to minimize the amount of waste in your project? It's a good question to ask before you start building.
Your builder should be able to explain the procedures in place to ensure that you have a fully complete home to move into. There shouldn't be any unfinished touches, however minor, when you move in. This is tied to how organized your builder is.
Service and support after completion
When choosing a builder, ask if he or she has a comprehensive system to make sure the warranty is taken care of. What kind of warranty service would you expect if the warranty itself is an afterthought?
There are many, many builders out there with the expertise to build your new custom home. That's the easy part, as a matter of fact.
But as you can see, there's much more to building a home than design and construction. In fact, with proper planning and efficient systems, the act of actually building the house becomes almost incidental. Make sure your builder has expertise in all of the topics above, in addition to home building, before you make a commitment.