Builder reputation, personal lifestyle among considerations when building a custom home

With interest rates at near-historic lows and more families ready to invest in their “forever home,” homebuyers increasingly are considering building a custom home or partially customized home.

Many times buyers will come to us with ideas from different models or Houzz or something they’ve seen online, and we end up creating a hybrid of different concepts.”

If a buyer is interested in building a custom or semi-custom home, getting educated is the first step they should take.

The first thing you have to do is decide who’s going to live in the house, what are their needs over the time period you expect to live in the house.  So go out and look at a variety of houses and floor plans, and take notes of what features you like in particular.

Getting educated also involves finding a high-quality builder that you trust and feel comfortable working with over an extended period of time.

You have to have seen their product and the quality of their work, and you have to trust and like them.  The more you are going to customize, the more time you will spend with your builder.  If you’re doing a full custom job, you will be with them for a lot of time for a lot of months, so it’s important to know and feel comfortable with your builder.

Once you identify the right builder, you’ll want to arrive at your first meeting with a general idea of where you want to live, the floor plan you would like to build and a list of features that are important to you.

The builders know the process and they have been through it before. In some cases, builders work directly with the homeowner and help with all the decisions, and other builders have people and processes in place that can point you in the right directions.

When choosing between building a fully customized home from the ground up or purchasing a spec or model home that you can partially customize, the tradeoffs are fairly straightforward.

The more you customize a house, the more you get just what you want. The advantage of buying a spec house or model is you know exactly what you’re getting, you know exactly what price is up front and it’s available immediately.

The disadvantage of building a spec or a model is that you are going to get some things you don’t need that you are paying for. That’s the tradeoff.

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