You’ve done your research, and you’re convinced that you want a Custom Builder for your new home. But now you are overwhelmed by how many small to medium sized builders there are! Here are a few tips to find an ideal builder for you.
1. Write your requirements down.
Where are you located, in what city or regional area?
What is the terrain where you looking to build?
So you have a specific block in mind? What is the slope, is it from front to back, from left to right?
What home do you envision? How many bedrooms, living areas, so on? The more specific you can be, the better.
2. Use the internet to create a shortlist. Limit your search to builders who work in your general area, who are familiar with your terrain. Use specific words such as sloping block, hilly block, flat block. Search for builders in the suburb you wish to build in, and other similar suburbs. You want to find a builder who understands the geology and soil. Not only will they construct your house more effectively, they will be also be able to give you an accurate estimate of site costs.
3. Consider budget. Most of have budget limitations, and need some indication of costs. Ask the Builders on your list for an initial quote based on your block and the home you envision. Don’t worry about the marble bench tops yet, stick with standard specifications. An example would be: My block is 20 by 40 metres, sloping up from the road with three metres of rise. I am considering a home with 3 bedrooms, two baths, a family room, dining and lounge, an alfresco area opening off the kitchen, with double garage under the house.
When you receive your quotes, narrow your list to those within your budget.
4. Do your due diligence in regards to quality. Any active builder will have houses under construction that you can view; give extra ticks to those who will meet you on site. Custom builders by definition build one-of-a-kind homes, so will generally not have the display home gallery of Volume Builders. Don’t see this as a limitation; display homes confound your imagination with expensive furniture rather than give you a realistic picture of your future home. A real home under construction will give you an accurate indication of level of work.
5. Look at the testimonials on a builder’s website, and ask to speak to their references.
This is key! There is no better indicator of what your experience will be than asking previous clients the following questions:
-What was the level of communication? If they made a request, how quickly did the builder get back to them?
-Did the builder work to schedule? Was the job done on time? (If not, were there valid reasons such as weather or availability of supplies?)
-How did the builder handle problems? There will always be things that don’t go as planned. What matters is not IF something went wrong, but how this was dealt with. A good builder also needs to be an educator. If they keep the client informed as to when things are happening and why, a lot of stress is dispelled.
-What was the vibe? Building a home should be one of the most exciting times of a person’s life, yet many people will say it was one of the most stressful. It will be a positive experience if the builder is doing their job well.
-Did they stay within budget? (Take into consideration items the client has added on.)
Following these tips, you will soon locate a good builder. They will work in your area, be experienced with your terrain and be competitive in price; you will have seen examples of their work; and their previous clients will have had a positive experience. You can move forward with confidence knowing that you have chosen a custom builder who will make building your home an exciting and satisfying journey.
Do you value integrity, communication and superb quality throughout the building process? Do you have a question about your block or dream home? John Kearney is a Melbourne Building Design and Construction Consultant who has been in the building industry for over 20 years. He is passionate about giving people a cost effective alternative to building in the areas they love, and specialises in solutions for difficult and sloping blocks. Find out more at http://slopingblocksolutions.com.au/ Tweet with John at SBSBuilder and Like his Facebook page to get tips, updates and a bit of humour!