How to Interview a Custom Home Builder

Building a custom home is a big deal – so it learning how to interview a custom home builder… It takes a lot of time, effort, and money and often has emotion involved as well. A lot of people don’t necessarily know where to start, but once you get over that hump one of the first steps is to interview custom home builders!  That can be a big task on its own, so we wanted to help by outlining what we would do if we were interviewing Saskatoon home builders. 

Custom Home Builder

Do Your Homework

Before you start interviewing Saskatoon custom home builders, it’s important to do your homework. The easiest way to do this is to go online and start searching through different home builders. Look through their websites in detail – it’s amazing what you can learn by simply looking through what each builder puts on their website. You will be able to see photos of past projects, what their building process looks like, who is on staff, and a little bit about who they are as a home builder. Some things to keep in mind while browsing are:

  • Do they build houses to your style or not?
  • Is their process what you are looking for? 
  • Do you jive with the information and how they portray it? 

The goal of sifting through websites is really to create a short list of custom home builders that you may decide to interview down the road. Once you’ve decided on your short list of Saskatoon home builders, now it’s important to follow them on social media. I would recommend following each builder for a few months. This will give you an opportunity that websites can’t – it will give you the opportunity to start getting to know each builder from afar. Following on social media will help give additional insights on whether your personalities will jive plus you will get some more insights and nuggets into how they operate on a day-to-day basis. This is a big step in learning how to interview a custom home builder.

Custom Home Builder

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Meet the Custom Home Builder

Once you’ve done your homework and you followed a few builders for a few months, now it’s time to go and meet the builders. This is when you will get more granular and will really flush out who you will want to move forward with. The goal of this meeting should be to get a deeper sense of who they are as a business. Who’s on their team? How many projects do they do? What is their focus? What is their expertise? These are all things that you will want to know and are great questions to ask. The list of questions could be extensive, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you walk away with a full grasp of who they are as a business, how they operate as a team, and whether they can give you what you want and need.

On top of that, there will always be specific questions that you may want to ask depending on your personal scenario. Some important questions that I would consider would be: 

  • How does financing work? 
  • How does the builder deal with price changes? 
  • How long will the build take? 
  • Can I use trades that I know? 
  • Can I buy my own material to save money? 
  • How common is it for delays to happen? 

These types of questions are just as important to get a grasp on as the questions that will give you a deeper understanding of how the builder operates. You want to eliminate as many surprises as possible that could pop up throughout the process. Custom home building is very complex and there will always be things that come up throughout the process that were not expected, but the more questions you can ask up front, the smoother the process will go for everyone.

Custom Home Builder

References

Lastly, after you’ve met with the builder the last thing to do is to ask for references. Instead of simply asking for references, ask for the most recent 3-5 possessions. That will give you a better sense of how the builder is really doing. When you are talking to references make sure to ask them for both the good things and the challenges they had with the home builder to get a more rounded picture of whether they are someone you can envision working with or not.  

Cross the Line of Trust

Now is the time to cross the line of trust. At the end of the day, this is possibly the most crucial step of figuring out how to interview a custom home builder. Building a custom home is a big deal. You need to have complete trust in the home builder you choose to move forward with. Like I mentioned above, there is almost always hiccups along the way, but starting on a foundation of trust will ensure that you will be able to work through those hiccups and push forward so that the experience is still enjoyable.

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In the end choosing a custom home builder really comes down to deciding on these three things:

  1. Do we Jive?
  2. Do they give me what I need/want?
  3. Do I trust them?

If you can answer yes to all of these, it will likely be a great relationship and the custom home building experience will be amazing. Does that mean it will be perfect?  Maybe not, but if you can answer yes to these three questions it will be something that you will still recommend to your friends and family.  

If you’re looking for more in-depth information on the building process in general or more on how to interview a custom home builder make sure to check out our Spruce Homes podcast by clicking here

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