How to be a good customer.
In a previous tab we offered suggestions for finding the right builder. In this section we felt it would be beneficial to give our potential customers some suggestions as to what we would like you to think about before you contact us.
1. Set a realistic budget for your house and be honest with your builder about what you can or cannot afford. Getting pre-qualified with a lender is a good place to start.
2. Do some research into what homes cost in the area that you want to have your house built. Make sure your comparison is for a comparable new home. Older homes will often give you more square footage for less money. They have appreciated in value over time. A new home is based on the cost of the land and materials at the time of construction.
3. Find a plan or style of home that you like. Internet searches are a good place to start. Ask your builder if he has any plans for you to look through. He may have plans that fit your needs which would eliminate the need for purchasing more blueprints. Know what the square footage of your existing home is so that you can compare in your mind the size difference from your existing home to your future home. Square footage is “heated living space”. Garages, porches, basements are factored into the cost of your home, but don’t normally count as heated living space. Again, you need to compare. A 1,500 square foot ranch house with no basement would cost less than a 1,500 square foot house with lots of angles, a garage, screened porch, rear deck and a basement. There are many things that will factor into the cost of your home. The larger and more complex that the footprint of your house will be, the more expensive it will get.
4. Discuss with your builder the things you would like to have in your house. Things you can’t live without, things you’d like to have if they are in the budget, and things you don’t want. Make a list of these items.
If you want an accurate estimate from a builder, you will need a set of blueprints for him to bid from. He cannot give an accurate bid from a house plan book.
If you are getting estimates from several builders, be sure they are bidding on the same items and allowances. You can’t compare estimates if they are not the same items and allowances in the house.
Have a timetable for starting and completion. A custom home can take anywhere from 7 to 12 months on average. Be sure to allow yourself time to find the right house on the right land.
8. Your builder should work hard to complete your house in the contracted time. However, be aware of factors that will be out of the builders control such as inclement weather, delays over materials, and schedules of government agencies that relate to the construction industry. It is never in the best interest of the builder to extend the construction of your home.
9. Keep open communication with your builder. There are no stupid questions. It’s not what you ask; it’s how you ask it. Your builder should appreciate your interest in the project.