There’s a good chance that you’ve had a less-than-satisfying shopping experience at one of the “big box” home improvement stores that are so prevalent today.
We hear stories all the time about people who go into these stores with questions about what to buy—and end up walking out in frustration because most of the staff working in the store don't have the foggiest idea how to help them. It’s not just that they’re not willing to help; it’s because these employees don't have the experience or knowledge to deal with the questions that are asked.
That may not be a huge deal if all you’re buying is a package of wood screws. But when you’re having a home built, you want solid answers you can trust. You’ll probably be living in your home for a long time, so you want to make sure you get it right.
To do that, you’ll want to take advantage of your builder’s knowledge and expertise. That means asking questions. Sometimes homeowners are a little hesitant to ask how, why, or what-if questions of their builders. You shouldn’t be intimidated—after all, it’s your house that being built. As long as you’re genuinely interested in how to make it better, most builders are actually happy to explain what they’re doing and why they are doing it that way.
And if you’re concerned that the plan you’re following isn’t going to yield the results you want, don’t keep silent. Voice your concerns to your builder, and ask him or her for ideas on how to get what you want (and do it as early in the process as possible).
Of course doing that assumes that you have a relationship with your builder that enables that kind of conversation. How can you make sure you choose the kind of builder who will listen to your concerns and help you understand your options?
Here’s a helpful post that discusses how to interview past clients of a builder you’re considering working with. If anyone can tell you what a builder is like to work with, it’s the people who have been in your shoes!
Don’t be afraid to ask your builder questions—even tough ones. Just make sure your dealing with a builder who’s happy to answer your questions and wants to build you a home that you’ll love.
By the way, if you have some basic questions about getting started, I’d suggest scheduling a no-obligation new home phone consultation. It’s a quick, easy, and informative way to determine a budget range for your project; to find out what others in your situation have done; to pick up some design trends and ideas; and to get answers to your basic questions about building a custom home.