Custom built home: Choosing the right builder

So you want to build a custom built home? But you’re stuck on finding the right builder? It can be tricky, especially as there are so many builders out there. But, it’s not impossible to find the right builder for you. It can actually be a fairly straightforward process if you invest in the process and follow these important steps.

Step #1 – Eliminate unsuitable builders

There are some builders that you can eliminate straight off the bat. These include builders that simply don’t work in your area or don’t specialise in the construction you are looking for. For example, if you want to build a house then commercial builders are not the right builders for you. You want to eliminate any builder that simply does not work in the residential space if you are looking to build a residential home. 

Then you want to go a little further and eliminate builders that don’t specialise in what you are looking for. If you are wanting to build a custom built home, then working with a large scale volume builder is not going to serve you best. Sure these builders have the skills to build a home and could probably build your home but they’re not specialists in the custom home space. They may not have the experience that comes with building custom built homes and you may find it a little more difficult to work with them to get exactly what you want. This is not to say they’re great builders, it’s simply saying that they’re not the right builder for you.

Eliminating unsuitable builders will help narrow the field considerably and it will make it easier for you to narrow down on finding the right builder for your specific project.

Step #2 – Remove unavailable builders

The next step in finding the right builder for your custom built home is to eliminate any builder that is simply not available. By asking upfront about availability, you can quickly get an understanding of whether the builder will be able to fit your project in or not.

Of course, it’s good to be a little flexible here. Building a home is not a quick process and even if your builder is not available now it may be worthwhile waiting for the right builder to become available. On the flip side however, you do not want to be waiting forever.

Simply asking about availability will give you an idea of how many projects the builder has in the pipeline and when he’ll be able to fit your project in. It will help give you an idea about whether you should keep them on the shortlist or remove them altogether. 

Step #3 – Check qualifications, skills and experience

After you’ve compiled a shortlist of builders, you can start to narrow down the field further by carrying out a little more research on the builders that have made the cut up until this point. This includes checking or qualifications skills and experience.

When it comes to skills you would have already eliminated a lot of the unsuitable builders in the first two steps. These are the builders that don’t have the skills set required to complete a custom built home because they work in other specialities. You want a builder that has honed their skills and craftsmanship on projects similar to yours. A builder who understands what your project requires and has experience in delivering the home you want. 

Checking qualifications and licensing is also an absolute must. It’s important to know that your builder is qualified, fully licensed and carries the correct insurance to carry out the work. In Western Australia, it’s easy to check licensing by completing an online search here

Before entering into any contract or agreement with a builder, it’s important to make sure their licence is current and applies to the work they will be carrying out. 

Step #4 – Review their reputation

Reputation is another biggie to look out for when finding the right builder for your custom built home. After all, it’s the feedback and testimonials that can tell you a lot about a builder… And not just their workmanship, but the way they communicate and work with their customers and how they managed the project. 

Online reviews and feedback can be a great way to learn more about the builder. Another way is to simply ask for feedback directly from the builder by asking for them to provide details about past projects. A good builder will be able to answer any question you have about your project and projects they have worked on previously. 

If past clients agree, the builder may also be able to pass on contact details so you can ask for feedback directly from clients.    

Step #5 – Interview the builder

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and interview builders. All the steps are important but this is the step that will really help you determine which builder will be a good fit for you. 

While you may have done the groundwork up until now to get to know the builder, nothing can replace a face to face meeting where you get to speak directly with the builder, ask questions, go through the plans and vision for your home and get a feel for what it will be like working with each builder. 

It is during this interview process where you get to ask all the questions you need to. Questions that are important to you. Questions that will give you answers to any concerns or worries you may have. 

To get you started, these are some questions you should be asking at a minimum: 

  1. What experience do you have? 
  2. How involved are you with the projects? 
  3. How would you manage our custom home build? 
  4. Do you have examples of your work that you can show us? 
  5. What is your availability? 
  6. What’s included in your service?
  7. Can you work with my budget?  

These questions alone will give you some insight into how the builder conducts his business, how hands-on they are with the projects, what they include in their service and what they don’t. For example, some builders provide a design and construct service while other builders get involved during the construction process only. 

And the most important thing you will gain by asking the builders these questions is how effective they are at communicating. Generally speaking, if you have trouble communicating with or understanding the builder from the first interview, it’s a sign that you may struggle throughout the build.

On the other hand, if the builder is open, transparent, willing to answer all your questions and will go the extra mile during this initial interview to put your mind at ease, then this is a good sign that they are committed to getting the best outcome for your home. 

It’s also important during this process to ask the builder what the next steps are. A good builder will give you an overview of their processes and will make it clear to you what the next steps are. Good project management is critical to a successful project and your builder should be able to outline what you need to do next from the very first interview. 

Step #6 – Commit to a builder

The final step in the process is to actually choose a builder. If after all the steps are completed, you are still on the fence, you can go back and ask more questions. But at the end of the day, you are going to have to make a decision and only you will know who is the right builder for you. 

But don’t sit on that fence too long. Waiting too long to secure a builder may mean that your preferred builder will take on other projects and your house will take even longer to be completed. 

Looking for a custom built home? 

If you are looking for a custom home builder who is also Perth’s timber frame custom build specialist, give us a call and let’s talk through the details of your new custom built home.