1. Do physically check out a builder’s work, in addition to speaking to references.
2. Do ask about additional certifications. It can show commitment to the industry.
3. Do ask about the builder’s approach to foundation, framing, insulation, HVAC, plumbing, and electric.
4. Do consider the chemistry between you and your potential builder. It doesn’t have to be a love match, but you should be able to communicate.
5. Do call the city building inspection office and ask the chief building inspector about his opinion of the builder.
6. Do network with friends who have built houses and ask them for names of trades who worked on their house. Then call those trades and ask if they know or have worked with the builder.
7. Do align expectations by getting benchmarks for the architecture, design, and finish-out specifications of the home prior to starting construction.
8. Do establish one point of accountability.
9. Do perform construction estimation at each development phase of the construction drawings.
10. Do get a forecast of costs to stay within the desired budget.
1. Don’t purchase a homesite without having a builder and design professional review it.
2. Don’t begin the architectural design phase without first selecting your builder and proceeding through the process in conjunction with your builder.
3. Don’t usurp a builder’s intellectual property by presenting it to another builder in an attempt to position them against each other.
4. Don’t fall into the “price per foot” trap. Buying a custom build-to-suit home by the price per foot makes as much sense as buying a car by the pound. Know the specifications and know exactly what is included in every facet of the home.
5. Don’t withhold information from your builder. At some point, a mutually respectful level of trust must exist for your builder to provide an excellent experience.
6. Don’t try to get competing bids from random subcontractors. Trust your builder’s trade base. Using the services of a random contractor or supplier might appear to save a few dollars on the front end, but it could likely end in headache when a warranty item requires attention.