If a builder has a good reputation, does it really matter if I like him?”
Yes, it matters. Don’t sign a contract with a builder you don’t like, trust, or respect. If you do, you could be headed for trouble.
Why? Because this is a long-term relationship and a long-term relationship with someone you don’t like, trust, or respect can be challenging, frustrating, and more than disappointing. The planning stages of custom building a new home can take anywhere from months to years. Actual construction may range from six months to 24 months or longer, depending on the size and scope of your home.
Add to that a one- or two-year limited warranty time period, as well as the fact that you may need additional information from your builder for many years to come regarding warranty information, vendor and subcontractor contacts, and other nuances.
In this business, it’s not uncommon to lose some contracts to other builders, and it usually boils down to perceived costs. A prospective homeowner may initially think our pricing is higher than our competitor, but most often that’s because we didn’t have the opportunity to thoroughly compare the two proposals.
We like to ask our homeowners why they chose us to build their home. Often the answer is trust. When challenges arise in your project and you call to ask questions, it’s important to know that you’ll get a straight and honest answer.
Do you respect your builder’s values? You don’t have to socialize together, but sometimes people choose a builder they actually dislike. Maybe the husband likes the builder or his price, but his wife doesn’t care for his style, approach, or manners. Ask yourself this question: Is there a reason you’re uncomfortable with this person? If so, why in the world would you trust him to build your single most important investment? If you or your spouse sense that a potential builder operates from a less-than-honest value system, why would you trust him to operate his business with honest values?
During the construction process there will be times when your builder will be making some judgment calls. Many of these will be unknown to you, and that’s just part of the business. When it comes to your home, you’ll want to know that your builder will be making choices as if it’s his own home, as if his own family’s safety depended on the choices he makes. Not just what will pass code inspections. No shortcuts for a quick profit.
Are values important? You bet they are!