Warning Signs of Hiring a Custom Home Builder

Building a new home or doing a major renovation isn’t cheap, so it is perfectly natural for homeowners to seek out the best deal possible. However, when a home building contractor is offering you a deal that seems too good to be true…it probably is.

Warning Sign #1

The Home Builder cannot produce a list of Client References.

A new custom home is likely to be the largest investment most people will make in their lives, and it is also the place where people spend the majority of their time. It is imperative that the custom home be built to sustain its value while providing comfort to make life at home enjoyable, especially in the days we are living now.

In other words, you will want to see references of people who have actually worked with your builder, NOT just friends of the builder. Keep in mind that anyone can build a list of subcontractors for constructing a home. However, only true professionals have the experience which comes from years of working with different types of homes & clients, as well as successfully navigating the complexities of managing trades and client expectations.

A builder with a trail of bad references is an obvious red flag. Sure, every business has its share of good projects and bad projects… but the bad ones should not be the majority of their work. Good builders are able to produce a list of references from recent jobs.

Warning Sign #2

The Home Builder lacks in Communication.

Chasing home builders has been one of the greatest complaints we have heard from people who have built a custom home in Southwest Saskatchewan. They are not returning phone calls, reading a text, but not responding back, or are not even doing weekly site visits with the client. These all boil down to the home builder not communicating with the client.

The problem is, the custom home builder is not held accountable right at the first meeting you have with him. If you frame everything up front with your home builder, right aways, nine out of ten times, he/she will follow it through. Ask, “What is your preferred method of communication? E-mail, text, phone calls?” And let him answer. Don’t drop the topic until he fully answers and it is clear to you how you are going to communicate with him. Setting that in place is your lifeline to your project going smoothly.

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Most custom home contractors have an online client portal, that is accessible anywhere, on any device, that you can log into to see everything about your project 24/7. The key features of this portal, is that you get communication on your selection choices, daily logs showing the progress of your job, budget figures, communication with sub-trades, scheduling and storage of all documents. This all takes place in one spot.

The last place you want to be is where you can not get ahold of your home builder, you don’t know what’s happening on site, and you are unaware of any extra costs that may have come up.

Do the due diligence and ask these questions. Trust me, it will save you tremendous frustration down the road.

Warning Sign #3

The Home Builder gives you a Square Foot Price

As it may be very easy to fall into the “price per square foot” dilema, DON’T!

Let me tell you why! Builders will rattle off numbers to you, without even taking a look at your plan, or what you all want to do. How does your home builder even know that is what it would cost? He could be $75/sqft high or he could be $100/sqft low.

If you have ever bought something by the square foot, have you compared the difference in materials from one to another? Did the price in the materials vary much? OF COURSE IT DID! Why? Because the ‘ingredients’ in different materials vary in difference of quality.

An average home contains hundreds of different ‘ingredients’ including carpet, LVP, tile, doors, trim, sinks, taps, paint, stain, glass, stone, siding etc… On top of that, the way in which these materials are assembled into a finished house differs in quality and attention to detail.

The variances are practically infinite! So comparing one builder’s price of $100 per square foot to another’s of $250 a square foot is like trying to compare an orange to a watermelon. The differences are many, not just the price.

The right builder can give you great design ideas that add impact and style without increasing the price.

I just listed off 3 MAJOR WARNING SIGNS when hiring a custom home builder in Swift Current. If any of these Warning Signs pop up, start to question who you will be involved with in your next project, as this could be a big headache for you or the home builder.

If you are looking for ways to find the right custom home builder check out our latest series on YouTube, Spotting a Professional Builder.

If you want to learn more about how we can avoid these warning signs and how we take you through an enjoyable design process, fill out the contact form on our website.