Not all builders are the same. Like any industry you have seasoned builders, specialized builders, new and eager builders, quality builders and poor builders. Similarly in other areas of profession: Coaches, Teachers, Police, Doctors, all vary in degrees of expertise, skill and competency.
What makes a builder great obviously is that they produce a dream home that the client desires. One that is built well, lasts long, with quality products and professional craftsmanship. The problem is that for most of us that are novices in the home building industry, simply walking into a home we simply are not prepared to ask even the right questions.
Sometimes people want to know “the bottom line price” or “price per square foot.” As being the highest value ($), yet this can be misleading, depending upon who you are asking. Some may quote $110 a square foot yet use inferior insulation and poorly designed windows. While the $120 per square foot builder uses superior products. We have seen also that initial quotes may not include total square footage but only heated square footage etc. I don’t mention this to scare off anyone from building a custom home. Again, has anyone been taken to the bank by a hospital, teacher, or car dealer? The goal here is to broaden the preparation and education for the custom home buyer so that one of the top two decisions (lot selection (location) / builder choice) can be done more intentionally and informed.
One thing that Tom Suriano has put together to help prospective Custom Home Build Clients is a “NEW HOME CHECK LIST”. I posted the document on this blog post. The motivation as Tom says is to “compare apples to apples.” Suraino Homes, Inc. frames new homes using Douglas Fir wood, while most builders in South Carolina use Pine. Do we both use wood? Yes, that is apples to apples. But what about the “type” of wood. Some builders build their exterior walls with 2″ x 4″ framing, while Suriano chooses to build with 2″ x 6″ framing. This enables the homeowner to have a better insulation product and helps with efficiency among other things. What most of us see when we visit a model home to judge a builders craftsmanship are the finished walls with trim. What is behind the walls? What gauge wiring? What grade of plumbing piping? Apples to apples means that you as a consumer are knowledgeable about the product that each builder communicates they will use and how they will build the house you pay for. Trust me, not all builders then, like other professionals are the same.
In the New Home Check List we deal with these areas of building: Foundation, Framing, Roofing, Siding, Windows, Doors, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, Interior Trim, Insulation, Painting, Flooring, Cabinetry, and Options. There are other considerations of course. Do you get charged making changes to your floor plans? How much time is allotted for staff to guide you as a client before you get charged extra? What is the process for choosing appliances, flooring, paint, cabinetry, etc? This is one of the reasons we provide this document so that you can know the “right” questions to ask. If any of you are interested, just send me a request for our document and I will be happy to send it to your email. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This document will help anyone, not just Suriano Homes clients. That has always been Tom’s heart as a Custom Home Builder.
Custom Home Builders integrity is one of the highest values you need to look for in choosing which builder to hire. Do they do what they promise, when they promise it? Are they honest? Did they work to the expectation that was clearly defined in the floor plans and the contract both signed? One of the best ways to find this out in advance is to talk with others that the builder has built for, research their business reviews online and talk with other people that know them. We all know that sometimes builders in competition will speak negatively of other builders. We find that unnecessary, but that should be a red flag if that is offered up freely. Good builders let their “work do the talking”. The better you have researched, and learned the right questions to ask, you will find the better prepared you will be to make your decisions for the builder choice and the discussions you will need to have with him so that you can feel secure and have all your questions answered. You deserve it. It is your home!