May 11, 2018

Building a custom home is a dream come true for many homeowners. It’s a chance to get all of your wants and needs and build a home that will be perfect for you and your family for years to come.

Building a custom home is also a big decision with lots of responsibility — for both you and your builder. Before you enter into the custom home building process, ask your potential builder these questions first:

1. What is their experience building in the area?

Choosing a reputable builder with experience in your desired neighbourhood is essential for ensuring you’re happy with your final product. You want to know that your builder is familiar with the zoning, landscape, drainage, property boundaries, property values, sewer and water locations, building codes and much more. We recommend choosing a builder with at least five years of experience.

2. Do they have references?

You can do your own searching online for builder reviews, but you can also ask your potential home builder to provide you with references directly. This will give you a clear picture of their reputability and quality from a homeowner’s perspective.

3. Who will be involved in the project?

When you hire a custom home builder, it’s important for you to know who will be working on the site every day. Will the contractor oversee the project from day one to the finish, or will a superintendent be in charge? Will they have a large team? How often will the person in charge be inspecting the build?

4. Are they licensed and insured?

Any reputable home builder will be licensed and insured, but you shouldn’t take it for granted that the custom home builder you’re looking at will have these documents. Your lender  will require proof of license and insurance in order to finance your build, so be sure to see these documents before hiring your builder.

5. What’s their warranty and after-build process?

A good home builder will provide you with after-build service, including follow-ups to make sure everything is in working order. Most home builders have a one-year warranty, while others will have a 10-year structural warranty. Ask them how responsive they will be if issues arise after you have moved in.

6. Can they guarantee good quality construction? How?

Most homeowners will find it hard to tell a good quality home from a poor quality home on the surface. Ensuring that you understand your builder’s quality control process is essential for having peace of mind that your new home will be built to the highest standards. How often will they check for quality? Do they have a quality assurance checklist?

7. What is the process for determining and sticking to my budget?

As a homeowner, your budget is one of the most important factors when choosing to build a custom home — and it should be important to your builder too. There is always the possibility that something will come up that your builder couldn’t foresee, but generally, they should have a good idea of how they will ensure that the home build stays within your budget. Asking for specific cost breakdowns, and making sure you understand what features are included and which ones are not, will help ensure that you and your builder stay on the same page.

8. What is the timeframe to build the home?

Before you enter into any kind of contract with a home builder, it’s important that you understand how long the process will take. Any experienced, quality home builder will be honest with how long the project is expected to take. Your home builder should have a written schedule detailing when all of the parts of your home will be completed. Keep in mind that this timeframe may be longer than you’re anticipating, as building a custom home involves many suppliers and subcontractors and is a detailed process.

9. Will my home be energy efficient?

Energy efficiency and affordable utility bills are important to all homeowners, and your home builder should be aware of that. Ask your home builder what energy efficient processes and features are going into your home: are they using energy efficient insulation, windows, doors and HVAC systems? All of these can help save you money in the long run.

10. Is the home builder committed to the build?

If your home builder only does the job part-time and has another business on the side, it might not be wise to hire them. Home building rules and regulations are constantly changing and evolving, and having a custom home builder that is solely a custom home builder will ensure that they are serious and committed to your home build. Always be wary of contractors who offer to build your home part-time or offer you a too-good-to-be-true deal on the cost of the home build.

Dan Clayton Custom Homes has been building homes in Guelph since 2011, and we’re committed to providing all of our clients with a quality, beautiful home for years to come. Contact us today to get started building your dream home with us.

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