Many people dream of building their own custom home, and with the right builder and proper planning, that dream can happily become a reality. At L. Patten and Sons, we have been building quality custom homes since 1958, and we have learned a great deal about what makes the process successful. We can also help you avoid the pitfalls that can make it a disaster. So, let’s look at the 15 questions you should ask a builder to help you choose the right one. Remember that in the end, everyone has the same goal: a beautiful custom home that stands the test of time. Contact L. Patten and Sons today to learn more about our building process.
“Over the years, we have come to know Jerry and his group very well. They are a joy to work with and will deliver whatever they say they will. Jerry is trustworthy, dependable and responsible. He is also a very nice guy. For any building project he is our choice."
— Gary & Gail
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Which Custom Luxury Home Builder Should You Choose?
Before you select a builder, you should have a list of questions to ask the potential builders. Whether you know exactly what you’re looking for or are still seeking direction, you should do your homework before selecting your builder. Here is a list of 15 questions to ask your potential builder:
Before You Build
1. My budget is this:________________. Is it feasible for you to build a custom home for this amount?
Some builders only build custom luxury homes, while others will never build a custom home. Like any other major purchase, you need to consider if the budget you have matches the product/service you’ll be purchasing.
2. Can I choose any of my subcontractors?
Most builders have a team of subcontractors around them whom they trust and work with often. You may ask for a list of subcontractors if this is something that really concerns you, however, it should never be assumed that a builder will work with a specific subcontractor you want. If you do have a specific subcontractor that you want to use, make sure you tell your builder up front, before any contracts are signed, as that may affect pricing and the finish deadline.
3. Do you have a model I can walk through?
Not all custom home builders will have models for walk-throughs as every home is unique. They will most definitely have photo galleries from past customers and maybe even a customer willing to let you walk through.
During the Build
4. How do you handle change orders?
As with any major project, it is inevitable that you will change your mind along the way. Ask the builder how these change orders need to be submitted and how they are processed.
5. What kind of warranty do you offer and what IS and IS NOT covered?
This is very important to consider. Get the details to this question in writing and make sure it is included in your contract with the builder.
6. If there are increases in materials or labor costs, will you let me know the amount immediately?
As the project progresses costs may increase. If you’d like to see these increases as they happen, be sure to ask your builder to notify you.
7. How many homes do you currently have under construction? Will your team be able to closely monitor the construction of my home?
Most successful home builders have many homes under construction at once. This is not a problem for them, however, it is important to know these details.
8. During construction, how often should I expect updates from you?
It is important to understand, going into a build, what you should expect from the builder. Will the updates come from the builder themselves or from your project manager? Will you get updates weekly, monthly, daily, etc?
9. How quickly will you return my phone calls or emails?
The key to any good relationship is communication. Ask the builder if there is a standard of customer service that they hold to, if there a certain amount of time that they guarantee responses in, and what is the best way to communicate with them?
10. Will you work with my house plan designer and interior designer to make sure my home is built exactly as it was designed or to make changes to the design along the way?
It is important to ask if your builder has a designer or if you need to work with a designer separately. It is important, if using separate builders and designers, that they are introduced and can work well together. Make sure you have your whole team on board before you begin building your home.
11. After reviewing my plans, what is your estimated time for completion?
You may have an idea of when you would like to move in, however, depending on the build this may not be exactly as you expected, so it is important to ask. Make sure you and your builder have the same expectations for a timeline so that there is no confusion.
12. What are your strengths and weaknesses in building?
Every builder is unique. Find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. If there is something you’re looking for specifically, make sure the builder's strengths and your preferences align.
13. If an issue arises and I decide to work with another builder, what is your cancellation and refund policy?
With custom homes, it is important to make sure your contract states the process and policy for discontinuing the relationship with the builder and the terms around this agreement. You do not want to be left with no options and no money if you need to end up finding a different builder.
14. When do I need to have decisions made about cabinets, paint colours, flooring, lighting, etc?
Ask your builder when you need to have the final design decisions made. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the better prepared the builder can be and the more you can ensure things don’t fall behind.
After the Build
15. What is your process for fixing things after the project is complete and I have moved in?
Once you move into the home there will likely always be a few things here and there that need to be fixed - all minor things, however, it is important to know that the builder will come back to double check things once you’ve moved in.
Service, detailed quality, it's our calling in Collingwood
If you are ready to work with a custom builder, ensure you get the best service and experience with L. Patten & Sons. We deliver on each of the questions above to ensure a great custom home build experience. We specialize in developing properties in the Blue Mountain and Collingwood area. We're so focused on your satisfaction that you can expect a call back from us to ensure everything is in tip-top shape. We don't just build a big property, we focus on the small details that you'll appreciate for decades to come. Contact us today to set up your consultation.