You know you want to build a new custom home and you know where you want to build it.
Now it’s time to pick a builder. What to look for exactly?
Here is the first of a 2-part series that provides you with a series of questions you can ask any potential builder. You can read the next 5 questions in Questions to Ask Your Builder – Part 2. These questions will help you better understand their operation, level of experience, and history in the market place:
Hiring a custom home builder is similar to hiring a team of long-term employees. You should know what’s on their resume including their work history, skills, and years of experience.
In addition, a deep understanding of the local area can make a big difference in moving your project forward. It’s important for your builder to have an intimate understanding of local permitting and codes in order to complete your home without any red tape.
Clarum Homes has been building exceptional custom homes in Northern California since 1994. We understand the ins and outs of local codes and permitting processes, which allow us to move your project forward as quickly as possible.
Before you hire a contractor to build your new custom home, ask if the company can provide you with a fixed start date and a completion date — including major milestones along the way. Ideally, your contractor should be able to list dates within an overall timetable of the work, along with a material list of everything that will be required. It’s also smart to address how change orders will affect the project’s timeline in the contract (see below for details on change orders).
During the project, you’ll want the ability to check in regularly to see how everything’s coming along. So it’s a good idea to ask how the contractor plans on keeping you up-to-date, as well as how you can communicate any questions or concerns as the project progresses.
At Clarum Homes, we start the process with a thorough assessment of everything that is needed and desired to build each client’s dream home. Our team sets up a calendar for the entire project that the owner is able to monitor at any time via our online project management tracking software. From the first meeting with you to the last drop of paint, we effectively manage all components of your process while staying in ongoing communication with you. Our goal is to keep your project on time and on budget.
The part of the home building process that no one wants to talk about is the change order. Changes orders occur when any revisions are made to the initial construction specifications that result in additional expenses or overages on the allowance schedule.
When you request a change to your home plans or specifications, your contractor will get pricing for these new components and make a written change order. Sometimes, work on projects will stop until the homeowner agrees to the additional cost of the change order.
This is one of the biggest causes of friction between builders and their clients. It’s important to ask about a contractor’s change order process before you decide on which home building company to hire for your project. Change orders can add to the time and expense of building a house, so be sure that this line of communication is clear and appropriately detailed in your contract.
Our goal at Clarum Homes is to avoid unnecessary change orders by thoroughly and completely discussing the home building process and all the various options available for the construction of your home. We make sure that our customers receive all the needed information from the vendors during selection. This eliminates misunderstandings and helps avoid any overages in the allowance schedule. Clarum Homes has an online project management tracking software that allows clients to see how changes will affect the bottom line with real-time project cost updates.
It’s important to ascertain during the course of the interview how the home builder plans on handling site supervision and subcontractors. It’s a good idea to find out whether the contractor has a work crew or intends to roll out a whole series of subcontractors.
Learn how much time the contractor will spend on your project each week versus their other jobs. How often will the contractor be on-site and who’ll be supervising during times when he or she isn’t there? A trustworthy and accountable presence should be on hand at all times.
Choosing the right custom home builder is a big deal – it’s a large investment of your money and time. It’s important to ask up front what makes a home builder’s company different and unique. Why choose one over another? Each home builder has a philosophy when it comes to building homes – make sure you are in alignment with the company you hire.
Clarum Homes is different than other home builders. Our difference is rooted in our core purpose: we work to transform the way you live.
This means a relentless commitment to leading the way in home building innovation. It means blending unsurpassed energy-efficient technology and sustainable building materials with homes that are gorgeously designed, healthy for occupants, and amazingly comfortable.
It also means creating a building process that’s enjoyable for everyone who is involved. We bend over backwards to provide exceptional client service, ongoing communication, and great listening skills. From our project managers to our on-site clean-up crew, our team is fully engaged in the work. This transforms the entire building experience into one of engagement, excitement, and enthusiasm.
You can read the next 5 questions in Questions to Ask Your Builder – Part 2.
Learn more about Clarum Homes and our process of building custom, sustainable homes. Call 650.322.7069.