Choosing the right custom home builder
These 10 tips will help you be sure you find the perfect builder for your new home!
The Top Factors To Consider When Selecting A Custom Home Builder
You are reading this guide because you are ready to begin the process of building your very own custom home. Congratulations are in order because this is a very important step for a homebuyer! You have likely been thinking about building a dream house for a long time, and maybe even spent your free time, nights and weekends looking online at websites such as Houzz to find out what was trending. It is even possible that you are in the process of choosing the lot you want or have some rough drawings of the floor plan.
It does not matter where you are in your initial research stage, we are very happy and excited that you have come across our website. It is our main goal to be a one-stop shop of resources for people who, like you, are ready to begin on the journey to custom homebuilding.
With this guide, we are hoping that we will be able to make this very important decision less overwhelming and confusing. Choosing the best custom homebuilder is perhaps the single most important decision you will make during the custom homebuilding process. If you select the right one, you can be assured of not only having an experienced, skilled and proficient custom homebuilder working with you, but also an advocate and genuine partner during your journey.
Furthermore, by hiring the right custom homebuilder, you will not fall victim to the types of construction nightmare stories that occur all too often. Instead, you will only be left with a beautifully built, top-quality dream house along with a creatively, comfortable experience without the hassles.
When Should You Select A Custom Home Builder?
You should start looking for a home builder prior to starting entering the design stage with the architect, or quickly after your first meeting with the architect. By hiring and bringing the builder in during the early phases, it will ensure that the team you have assembled will keep the budget and the design in alignment during the entire process.
In fact, a reputable custom builder will be able to contribute much more during the architectural design stage such as:
- Maintain regular contact with the architect during the collaboration phase
- Make sure the development plans stay on track
- Reduce any possible problems regarding construction
- Offer one of a kind design ideas
- Recommend better performing home specs
- Offer a beginning design estimate that is based on the first design
- Suggest options to save money
- Provide high-quality engineering
Have you made the decision to build the house of your dreams? Contact us for more information.
The Search – Starting Your Journey
It is important to note that anyone can be considered a home builder in the state of Texas. State law does not require that home builders have any type of certifications or licenses in order to work as a home builder. Due to this non-existent barrier to enter into the industry, there are many home builders in and around greater Houston. Some of these builders are more proficient and reputable than others.
With that said, it is always a good decision to begin this type of search by speaking with those close to you such as family, friends and coworkers. You can even ask realtors for referrals. Remember, you are looking for positive referrals only.
So, avoid those who have a sketchy or questionable reputation no matter how ‘affordable’ they may be. Even if your search does not yield any builders who have stellar reputations, at least you will know the ones that you should avoid at all costs.
You can also go online to find your next superstar custom home builder. However, once again, you will need to be cautious. You will need to be specific when you are searching in Google.
For example, instead of just typing a generic search phrase such as “home builders in Houston”, you may want to search for “high-quality custom home builders in Katy”, or wherever you want to have your dream house built. Make a list with the names of at least twelve home builders that you find during your search, making sure you do NOT include those with negative ratings or reviews.
Go Further With Your Research
This is where the fun begins. You will need to take the list and cut it down to your best two to three choices. How? You will do this by conducting more online research on the builders on the list. In addition to that, you will need to make contact with them via phone or an online contact form.
Best Tips For Online Research
Do your homework in advance so you will better understand these aspects about each builder:
- Portfolio diversity
- Team members
- Quality level
- Organizational skills
- Philosophy and values
- Recognition from industry peers and organizations
- Style of communication
Best Tips For Making Offline Contact
Try calling the hone builder directly and/or leave a message in their online ‘CONTACT US’ form. How they correspond with you after that will allow you to gauge how responsive and professional the builder and the company’s team are, and you will also see how happy they will be to help you.
Choosing Your Home Builder
After you have your top two or three choices, you will need to conduct interviews with each builder. This is also the most important part of the process and the one that will take up the most time.
It is also important to schedule an in-person meeting with the final two or three builders as well. During the meeting, inquire about visiting one of the finished homes they have built, or ask to go to a homesite they are currently working on with them.
During the in-person meeting, you will be able to assess several things including:
- The personality of the builder and how they communicate with their team
- The strength of the team members working with the builder and if they have experience relevant to the industry
- How effective, organized and transparent the builder’s processes and systems are
While visiting the home site, you will have the opportunity to assess:
- If safety and cleanliness measures are being used
- If the builder is knowledgeable and actively involved with the projects
- The construction and finish quality of the homes
In order to make this process less confusing for you, the following are some questions that you may want to ask when meeting with your shortlist of potential custom home builders.
Do You Have A Close Working Relationship With Interior Designers And Architects?
It is important to choose a builder that believes in the importance of having a collaborative relationship with others on your team like your interior designer and architect. This collaboration will avoid eliminate any miscommunications that can lead to schedule conflicts, tension, additional costs and delays.
In addition, by paying close attention to how the builder approaches and handles these types of relationships with those on your design team, you will have insight into how they will handle communications between the two of you.
Have You Ever Built A House In The Quality And Style That I Want For My House?
This is a very important question. Each style and type of custom house presents its own unique set of challenges. In other words, you want to be assured that the house will not be used as an experiment or first time project for the builder. Instead, they will be using their years of knowledge and expansive portfolio of similar houses they have built and apply it to your custom home.
I Am Interested In Learning More About How You Estimate. How Do You Ensure You Provide Accurate Budgets?
These is a loaded question that involves many layers. You want to listen closely to make sure the builder is as thorough as possible when discussing their estimating process.
The first estimate that they provide should be based on the current prices on the market as well as their knowledge and history of hard costs. If they apply these factors to their answer, you should feel more at ease with their home building expertise and experience.
A detailed estimated budget, that occurs after the specs and plans are final, is based on the hard bids the builder will receive from those in their network such as subcontractors and vendors. It is important to make sure the builder gets several bids from top-notch subcontractors, and will look over the bids closely to ensure they are comprehensive bids. In other words, you want to be sure that the builder and the builder’s team have no gaps in their budget.
What Is The Average Amount Of Time Will It Take For You To Give Me An Estimate For My Custom House?
The first estimate will probably be completed and in your hands in a week or less, but a more detailed budget can take a few weeks to prepare and complete. If the custom home builder mentions that you may have to wait longer for the detailed budget, ask them for a reason.
For example, if the home design is complex, it may take longer than two or three weeks to provide an estimate. On the other hand, they may have too many projects they are working on at the same time. This is a red flag because the builder may not be able to give your custom home building project the proper attention if you decide to hire them as your builder.
Custom Home Builders
How Are You Paid For Services Prior To Construction Starting?
Award-winning custom home builders who get involved in the pre-construction stage understand how much time this phase takes with every potential home buyer. A professional and reputable home builder will spend several hours reviewing the architectural designs for your custom home in order to look for:
- Modifications in the design
- Possible issues with the construction
- Ways to save money
In addition, they will spend several more hours asking for and looking over many hard bids so they can come up with a complete, detailed and accurate budget to present to you. Due to the amount of time they invest in the pre-construction phase, it is not uncommon for high-quality home builders to receive compensation for the services they offer prior to construction starting.
It is likely that you will get many different answers regarding this question. However, the only thing that matters is that you are comfortable and satisfied with the amount of compensation the custom home builder may ask for these services. You also want to feel confident after they explain their role and their duties during the pre-construction phase for your new house.
Who Will Be Handling My House Building Project And How Often Will The Manager Be On Site To Supervise Directly?
If your home project is still in the beginning of the design stage, the builder may not be able to tell you for certain who will be handling your project during the construction phase, which may be several months away. However, what you do want to take away from their answer is:
- What do the teams working on the project look like? For example, is a construction-only team with a manager, or is it a construction and project manager overseeing things? Does the onsite team receive any type of in-house support from the company?
- How heavy is the team’s workload? Since you are building a high-quality custom home, it is important to know if there will be direct supervision on site daily, or several times a week.
- How are concerns, questions and other issues handled during the construction phase?
With these questions, you are trying to verify that the home builder is a good fit for your project. It is inevitable that there will be delays and issues that arise during construction. This is why it is so important that you like the way the builder communicates with you and that you are confident the builder will take into consideration your concerns and opinions during the entire process.
The builder will get additional checkmarks if they tell you that their team will set up regular scheduled meetings with you, their subcontractors and the design team working on your project. This will confirm for you that the builder values efficiency, clear communication, organization, responsibility and liability.
What Is The Qualification Process For The Subcontractors Who Will Work On My House?
See if you can determine how well the builder knows their current subcontractors. Do they have long-term collaborations with the best subcontractors in the Houston area? How thoroughly are new subcontractors vetted before they begin on a project?
In Case There Are Design Changes Or An Unexpected Event Occurs That Increases The Cost, How Is That Handled?
For a high-quality custom home, it is very likely that there will be an adjustment to the order due the project’s complex process. You want to be assured that if a change needs to occur, there is an efficient system in place that can document these changes, show you the costs and other choices, have you approve it and quickly and efficiently make these changes.
Do You Have An Idea As To How Long The Project Will Take? How Do You Reduce Schedule Challenges During Construction?
The answer you get will depend on the size and the complexity of the custom house you are having built. It can take anywhere from 9 months to well over 2 years. You also want to know how well the builder is organized with their different systems and processes, the experience of the team and their diligence. You also want to know if they proactively work to prevent and solve issues before they occur.
Are Your Contracts Cost-Plus Or Fixed?
You want to hope that the builder you are speaking with will allow you the option to choose the contract option that is best for you. They should explain these options, the benefits and disadvantages of all of them so you will be confident with the option you select.
What Are Some Types Of Building Materials You Like To Use And Why?
The answer will allow you to see a few things. You will see how knowledgeable and experienced they are with materials frequently used in high-end homes, and you will also see what their quality standards are. Any additional questions you ask will let you know how patient and thorough they are when communicating with you.
How Are Problems With The Service Industry Handled After The Move-In?
The correct answer: Thoroughly and fast with few hassles and frustration for you.
Are You Able To Show Me A Sample Template For A Warranty, Schedule, Budget And Contract?
Although the custom home builder may not have these templates and resources available for you to see during the interview, but they should be able provide you with the samples you are looking for very soon after the interview.
May I Have A Few Client References, Preferably One From A Past Client And One From A Current Client?
The builder should not have a problem with this request. Even though they may need to get the client’s permission first, any other signs of procrastination is a red flag.
Speak With References
Never overlook this step, even if you want to. Even though you know that the references will be from clients who sing the builder’s praises, the conversations may also reveal the builder’s weaknesses and strengths as well.
What You Should Ask Each Reference:
- Did you like working with the home builder?
- What are their strengths?
- Did your project get completed on time? If no, why not?
- Was the schedule communicated to you clearly?
- Were decisions asked for in a prompt manner?
- Was the project completed within budget? What caused the extra charges?
- Was the preliminary budget estimate detailed?
- Were the related finances clear and transparent?
- How did the builder handle stressful incidents?
- What was the builder’s role after the construction started?
- Who worked on your project? Would you request the same person again?
- How organized and clean was the project?
- Are there specific subcontractors that you would recommend or not recommend?
- What has been the builder’s response regarding the warranty after you moved in?
- If you decided to build another custom home, would you choose the same builder?
We make it easy
On top of the premium quality and customization that The Brumble Group offers, one of the greatest benefits of choosing us is how easy we make the whole process. We handle everything from start to finish so all you have to do is enjoy watching your dream home come to life. Having developed more than 25 neighborhoods and built approximately 1,000 homes you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right choice to handle your most important asset.
We’re here to help!
We’re here to answer questions, schedule a home tour, or help you start the process of building your dream home!
Why Choose The Brumble Group
We know there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to home builders, and we are proud to offer much more than an average cookie-cutter home. If you’re looking for a unique experience and a truly custom luxury home that stands out from the rest, then there is really only one choice: The Brumble Group. No one else does what we do. If you need a truly custom home built exactly to your specifications we are the clear and unchallenged choice. Give us a call today and let’s take the first step towards building the home of your dreams.
Complete freedom in the design process
When meeting with our designers you can bring favorite fabric swatches, photos of your furniture, images from sites like Pinterest or Houzz or even pages from magazines to ensure that we design a home perfectly crafted to your desires.
We can build on your land
While we offer designs in well-located communities featuring popular amenities, we are also happy to build on your lot ensuring complete freedom in both design AND location.
One of the many benefits of building with The Brumble Group is we provide everything from start to finish, all you need to do is watch your biggest asset be built and enjoy the process.
We provide builder’s risk insurance to protect your home from damage while under construction
We provide the construction financing through one of our many established bank partnerships.
we manage the weekly draw process and payments to sub contractors so you can relax!
Let's Get Started.
If you’re looking for a unique experience and a truly custom luxury home that stands out from the rest, then there is really only one choice: The Brumble Group. No one else does what we do. If you need a truly custom home built exactly to your specifications we are the clear and unchallenged choice. Give us a call today and let’s take the first step towards building the home of your dreams. Our friendly staff is waiting to answer any questions you have.