8 Interview Questions to Ask When Choosing a Custom Home Builder

August 23, 2018

When it comes to building a custom home, there are a lot of details for you to consider. With the right custom home builder as a partner, the process becomes so much easier. So, how do you find the right custom home builder for you? Meeting with them is a good start. The more you know about a builder and their process, the better idea you will get about what a working relationship with them will be like. To make the most of your meeting, here are some important interview questions to ask when choosing a custom home builder:

1. What does your typical design/build process look like?

Reputable and established custom home builders will be licensed and insured and will have a standard workflow they tend to follow for their projects. The builder you’re meeting with should be able to easily and confidently take you through each step of their process.

You can also ask about where in the custom design process you can make changes and upgrades before construction begins and during construction. This gives you some insight into what working with the builder will be like and what to expect throughout the process. Vague answers or no answer at all are warning signs that the builder might not be a good fit for you.

2. Have you done similar jobs to ours?

One of the important interview questions to ask when choosing a custom home builder is whether they have experience completing jobs similar to what you want. The custom home builder you’re meeting with should have a website, which can give you some insight into their business before you meet with them. You may have seen projects similar to yours in their portfolio, but you still want to ask the question.

This will give you a good idea of how familiar the builder is with jobs similar to yours and gives you an opportunity to learn about more projects that may not be online yet. This interview question also gives you the chance to ask about pictures, images, and more details to get a sense of the builder’s capabilities.

3. How do you determine costs for a custom build? What if there is a discrepancy during the build?

These questions will give you a lot of insight into how experienced and prepared a builder is to take on your project. They should be able to describe the methods they use to determine the cost as well as the various factors they consider. Not only does this help them work through a budget with you, but it also gives you a realistic view of what you can expect to receive if you work with that builder. Plus, you’ll know when in the process a final price for your custom home is determined.

This conversation also gives you the opportunity to ask about how the builder handles cost discrepancies during the build. It’s impossible to plan for everything and even the most well-planned projects can have some surprises. So, it’s important for you to know going in how the builder will be handling these occurrences and communicating them to you should they happen. You can also ask for recent examples where this occurred and have the builder talk you through what happened and how they approached it.

4. Who will supervise our project and how long will it take?

It’s important to learn about the builder’s project management processes. You want to find out who will be in charge of managing your project, how often they will be on-site, and how your project will be supervised from start to finish.

You can also get a timeframe for how long your project will take. A large range or a definitive singular date can be a warning sign. This is not the case all the time, but it is something to consider. A more narrow timeframe range is generally more realistic as it shows the builder is acknowledging, and preparing for, the possibility of unexpected events.

5. Will you be using subcontractors? If so, who and for what aspects of the project?

This question will let you know who will be working on your project and whether they are part of the builder’s team. If they’re using subcontractors, knowing who they are gives you the chance to research their credentials as well. Don’t be afraid to ask how long they’ve worked with the builder either. Knowing whether the partnership is new or tried and tested, gives you a better idea of what to expect.

6. Do you offer any warranties or guarantees?

Another one of the interview questions to ask when choosing a custom home builder is if they offer any warranties or guarantees. A custom home is an important project for you, so you want to make sure it’s done right and you have peace of mind.

Warranties or guarantees are a great way for builders to offer a little peace of mind to custom home buyers. Make sure you ask the builder you’re meeting with about any warranties or guarantees they offer. They should be able to describe them and offer something in writing.

7. How many homes do you generally build in a year? How many can you handle?

In addition to knowing how many years the builder has been in business, these questions will help you get a sense about the builder’s skills and capabilities. The numbers will likely vary from year to year, but the builder should be able to give you an average or average range of homes they generally build in a year.

Asking them how many they can handle just gives you some insight into their team’s capabilities. Depending on the answer you get, you’ll be able to get a sense of how transparent the builder is about their work and how well they know their team. A builder who answers too vaguely or indicates that there is no limit is not being transparent or upfront with you and may not have a clear idea of their capabilities and limits.

8. Do you have client references I can call?

You’ll want to make sure you get a few references from the custom home builder you’re meeting with. It’s expected that anyone you call as a reference will provide positive feedback. Speaking with previous clients will give you a chance to get a client-side, real-life view of what it’s like working with the builder you met with. Asking about things that surprised them, things they didn’t expect, and any challenges that came up during their project will give you valuable insights to what your experience with the builder could be.

There are plenty more questions you can ask a custom home builder, especially when getting into specifics about your project. These are a good place to start and should give you an overall sense of the builder’s capabilities and what working with them would be like. It’s important for you to be confident in the work of the custom home builder you choose and to enjoy working with them. If you’re ready to get started on the path to your custom home, call Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 today!