Often when homeowners interact with their homebuilders, they restrict those interactions to things such as negotiating the price, reviewing floor plans, and discussing the construction schedule. While those are imporant issues, there are other topics that are more interesting—and potentially helpful to you if you want to create a home that looks and feels great.
That’s one of the biggest advantages of building a custom home: It’s not just that you’re unfettered by an existing (and maybe unimaginative) floor plan, but you’re dealing with a builder who is used to “coloring outside the lines.” Sure, custom builders still negotiate prices and help explain floor plans. But they also tend to have a lot of experience in other areas. One way you can take advantage of that experience is to make sure that you’re asking enough questions. Here are some areas where you might want to quiz your builder in order to end up with the home you really want.
Custom home builders are pretty good at dealing with designs and floor plans. Sometimes they can see things in the design that you may not see. Or they can make modifications to the plan without compromising the overall design. They understand the connection between construction and design and how to make the two work together. If you like a design element but want to change it slightly, ask your builder about it. He or she may have a way to accommodate your wishes while preserving the design.
Sometimes homeowners fall in love with a material they see online or in someone else’s home. Good builders know their way around materials. If you see something that interests you, ask your builder about it before you buy it. He or she can advise you as to whether or not it will work in your situation. That could apply to flooring, countertop material, or stone work in your home.
Part of your builder’s responsibility is to build a home that is within local codes. You may have a great idea for a special feature in your home that could involve plumbing or electricity. But before you get too far down the road, ask your builder about it to make sure it will still be within code. And if your builder doesn’t know, he or she knows who to check with to find out.
Builders don’t just build according to plans. Experienced builders have run into just about every situation you can imagine. So if you want something special—but don’t even know exactly what it should look like—tell you builder what you want to accomplish. He or she may have an idea that you never would have come up with to deliver exactly what you want.
Of course a quality builder will be good at building things. Some of what he or she does may not make sense to you. It’s OK to ask your builder how and why questions about construction, and most builders are happy to explain. But try to resist the temptation to tell your builder how to build.
Are you asking your builder enough questions? If you’re not, you’re probably missing out on ways to make your new custom home even better!