We all know the many benefits of a custom-built home (i.e bespoke features and amenities tailored to your specific needs). But the decision to build a custom home can be a nerve-wracking one, even for a seasoned homeowner! Why? As it turns out, there are many factors to consider when designing a home, rather than merely buying one already built.
As custom home builders ourselves, we get asked all sorts of questions. From pricing and room size down to benchtops, light fixtures and doorknobs. We believe you should never shy away from asking questions, but there are some important ones you should always ask your home builder first.
If you’re thinking about building a new home, fear not. Our team has put together a comprehensive list of 10 key questions to ask – both of yourself and your custom home builder – before embarking on this exciting part of your life.
Take a look below:
1. How long have you been building custom homes?
Finding the right builder to bring your dream home to life isn’t always easy. To ensure you’re dealing with someone who knows their stuff, don’t be afraid to enquire about their experience in home construction. How long have they been building homes? Are they licensed? Do they have any national accreditations? Ideally, your home builder will have at least 10 years of experience in the building industry.
2. How much can I customise my new home?
At Trenz, all of our home plans are 100% customisable. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to design their dream home, but not all home builders can provide the option to customise. True custom home builders will allow you to expand upon your design – even after construction has started. You can add that extra bedroom, change the roofline, enlarge your home office, add a deck and more.
3. How do I select the decorative surfaces, colours and fixtures?
When you buy an existing home, most of these changes have already been made. But with a custom home, you have the freedom to decide! However, because not all builders do it the same way, it’s best to chat with your builder about their interior design process first. Do they have a list of suppliers you can check out? Can you choose your own subcontractors? All of these are key questions to ask.
4. Will you inspect our block before we build on it to ensure it’s suitable for the kind of house we want to build?
Not all general home builders will inspect your land before building on it, but here at Trenz, it’s one of the first things we’ll do. Once we get an idea of what you’re wanting to build, we’ll happily drive out to your property and conduct a thorough site inspection for you. Did we mention this service is free?
5. Will the home-building process change if I don’t already have the property?
To put it simply, yes. In order to determine what can be built, your builder needs to know what property you have. For example, not having utilities or being impeded by certain city restrictions can all cause potential delays in construction. So it’s important to chat with your builder about which setbacks (if any) you might run into down the road.
6. What’s the first step in your process?
Before you launch into designing your new home, there are a few things your builder must know first.
- The size of your property
- If there are any neighbourhood restrictions
- Your budget
- Your lifestyle needs
This information will help your builder get a more holistic view of the home you’re wanting to build, plus an indication of how much ‘customisation’ is necessary.
7. How long will it take to build my home?
Understanding what you’re venturing into time-wise with a new construction build is important information, especially if you’re going to be renting or if you need to sell your house first. Unfortunately, construction isn’t an exact science. Things like weather delays, issues acquiring materials and dealing with contractors can all come into play and throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans! That said, any reputable builder will be able to provide you with a general timeframe and a fairly solid move-in date.
8. What was your toughest demand from a client and how did you handle it?
This is a great question to test your home builder’s creative problem-solving skills. It will also give you an insight into the different kind of custom-homes they’ve built in the past, so you can judge whether or not their team are capable of making your perfect home a reality.
9. Can you provide testimonials from past clients?
Another great question. Testimonials can offer insider information about past clients and their new homes to help you learn more about your builder. Don’t be afraid to ask for customer references.
10. Can you show me some finished photos that fit my home style?
In addition to asking for testimonials, you should ask to view photos of past projects that fit the style you’re looking for. All reputable builders should have a portfolio of photos for you to browse through.