Finding a custom home builder can be very exciting, very rewarding and VERY nerve racking if the proper “Due Diligence” is not exercised.
Beware of the BAITERS!
What is a BAITERS?
A “Baiter” is a Builder that will quote a ridiculously low price per square foot dollar amount. The low price per square foot grabs your attention. The tactic / ploy then entices you to contact the Custom Builder. It is when you start “peeling back the onion” that you start to realize that the ridiculously low price per square foot number didn’t include everything (site work, all permits, etc…) and is being quoted with low grade / sub standard materials.
What are the “Make Sure” things to do when selecting a custom home builder?
1) Make Sure that the price quoted by any custom home builder is ALL inclusive. This includes, but is not limited to, ALL of the permits, ALL of the necessary site work (driveway, excavations, septic, etc…) and ALL of the necessary hookups (water & sewer, well & septic, gas & electric). NO surprises later, when it’s too late. If you are not a handyman you will want the Custom Home Building process to be completely “Turn-Key”.
2) Make Sure that you compare “Apples to Apples” when comparing materials used by any new home builder. The use of 2×4 construction versus 2×6 construction, Formica Countertops versus Granite Counter tops, Single Hung windows versus Double Hung Windows, Brick versus Vinyl Siding, Grades of Cabinets, Grades of Carpet, Grades of Appliances, the list can go on and on… The best thing to do is run a computer spreadsheet comparing the included specifications of one perspective Custom Home Builder to another Custom Home Builder.
3) Make Sure that you visit a couple of Custom Homes that are under construction to check out “Build Quality” and actual materials used. If you see a subcontractor / vendor onsite, don’t take up an inordinate amount of time (they are working) but ask them, “Do you like working for this particular Custom Builder?” If there are any payment problems or if it is a poorly run jobsite you maybe surprised at the candid answers you will receive. Notice the condition of the job site. Is it sloppy or messy? This may be an indication of a “I don’t care” attitude.
4) Make Sure there is a communication process in place during construction. EVERY week you should be informed of what events are scheduled on your home for that particular week. Pictures, emails, phone calls, etc… are all excellent tools for a custom home builder to stay in touch with their client.
5) Make Sure that ANY builder you are considering has EXCELLENT customer references. Contact several references and ask them about their overall experience with the Custom Builder. If people weren’t happy with their experience – they will tell you.