5 Key Questions for Your Builder

February 6, 2012

Who is responsible for supervising the construction of my home? What else do they do? How many homes have they supervised?

The supervisor’s job description should be narrowly focused on that responsibility and he or she should not pulled in several directions at once. Be concerned if the supervisor is also involved in estimating, bids, purchasing, sales or customer service. You do not want the construction supervisor for you home choosing between a sales call and a quality inspection. A professional builder will have one or more people assigned to your home that is primarily responsible for construction supervision and quality inspections. Many of the best builders in America have personnel other than the construction supervisor as the customer’s primary contact in order to focus all their attention on the task of building the home properly. There are no schooling requirements to become a contractor in Washington.  Most construction knowledge is gained through experience. A professional builder will have personnel that have built hundreds of homes.

How many allowances are there?

Allowances are bad for the customer, period. Allowances shift all the financial risk from the builder to the customer. When the builder does not know how much something costs, it is simple to shift the burden to the customer by creating an allowance for that item. It requires more work for the builder to get all the information needed to remove allowances. Most professional builders have very few allowance items, for selections such as light fixtures, but not for big line items like cabinets, roofing, and driveways. If the builder doesn’t know how much the cabinets will cost, how in the world would the customer know and be able to budget for these amounts?

Can you provide me a reference for a home you completed within the last six months?

Even builders that do a relatively poor job get lucky every once in a while and end up with a happy customer or two. If you don’t ask for a recent customer, guess which ones you will get?  Another important reason to ask for a recent reference is that times are challenging for builders right now. If a builder cannot provide a recent reference, it may be a red flag indicating financial instability. Professional builders will have current owners that can provide a reference for you because they are building homes even in tough times.  They have systems to create a consistent positive customer experience.

 Do you have a roadmap of the building process?

There are countless ways to create an ideal home to fit you and your lifestyle. Without an organized roadmap, the process can become a confusing and frustrating maze. A well-organized, professional custom home builder will have several ways to assist the customer through the design and construction of their home. A professional builder can provide you with a written overview or map of these processes.

How do you document my decisions?

There are literally thousands of parts and pieces to each custom home. Keeping track of all those parts and pieces is a primary responsibility of the homebuilder.  Professional custom homebuilders leave very little to chance and will have methods to document your choices. In addition to the construction drawings, a professional builder will develop a detailed set of specifications (9 or 10 pages or more) and a color selection record. A professional builder will carefully review each of these documents and have you sign off when your choices are finalized.

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This blog is part of our monthly newsletter. Sign up here. Estes Builders is an award-winning design build firm that specializes in custom homes in Western Washington. We have earned more than 130 customer testimonials and a reputation as Western Washington’s most trusted custom home builder. We build custom homes in Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Silverdale, Port Orchard and surrounding areas. Contact us for a FREE Project Analysis to discuss your project.]]>

CATEGORY: Build, Construction