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Can You Really Reach an Agreement That’s Perfect for You and Your Custom Home Builder?

Posted by John Holahan on Oct 21, 2015 7:00:00 AM

If you’re seeking perfection, building a custom home may leave you a little frustrated. Homebuilding—even custom homebuilding—is full of small imperfections. You can build a home that has quality, comfort, convenience, and security. Perfection, however, is beyond the reach of any homebuilder. 

The same thing is true when you’re negotiating a contract with a builder. It’s never perfect, but you can arrive at an agreement that is not only “acceptable” but also one that makes you both happy. That’s an idea outcome. So how do you get it done? 

Keep the Real Objective in Mind

Sometimes when individuals enter into negotiations, they get so wrapped up in getting the best “deal” that they miss the bigger picture. While nobody should over-pay for their home, it’s also important to remember why you’re in negotiations in the first place. Your real objective isn’t to get a house at the cheapest possible price. Your objective is to build a quality home where you feel comfortable and happy at a fair price—one that fits your budget. It’s a subtle change in attitude, but it can make a big difference. 

Pick a Partner You Can Trust

It’s hard to relax when negotiating a contract if you’re dealing with someone you aren’t sure you can trust. That’s one reason it’s so important to select a homebuilder you feel good about. If you’re constantly concerned that the builder is going to gouge you, it’s going to be hard to come to an agreement. So don’t short-circuit your selection process. Here are five helpful steps to help you select a builder you can trust. By the way, we use the term “partner” very deliberately. Building a custom home is a joint effort that involves you and your builder.

Be Realistic

You’ve heard of people who have “champagne tastes on a beer budget.” That phenomenon can easily spill over into building a home. It’s easy to look at great designs and features on sites such as houzz.com or bhg.com and think about how great those things would look in your new home. But you need to be realistic about what those features actually cost. You may think that heated floors in your master bathroom are a great idea (and you’d be right!), but adding that feature is going to cost more—both in terms of materials and labor. So when you set your budget, you need to be realistic about what things really cost. The good news is that your builder can help you get a pretty accurate idea before it’s time to negotiate the contract. 

Be Flexible

Sometimes you’ll run into situations where the solution you want simply can’t be done—or can’t be achieved at the price you want to pay. A good builder, however, can often come up with an alternative plan that fits your budget and gives you most of what you want.

Is it possible to reach an agreement that’s perfect for both you and your builder? Maybe not, but if you work together with a builder you trust, you can reach an agreement that makes both of you happy—and that’s a win-win proposition.

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Topics: negotiating new home contract, builder/homeowner relationship, Poconos Homes

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