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How To Choose The Right Custom Home Builder For You

Building your forever home requires perfect-fit home builders

You’ve dreamed up (and saved for) the perfect forever home for your family, but let’s be honest –dreaming is the fun part. 

When it comes to shovels in the ground and hammers to nails, it’s all about finding the right team to bring your dream home to fruition. Building an honest, open, and trusting relationship with your custom home builder is crucial to the success of your project. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of time together.

So how do you find the right team for you?

To start, if your feet are firmly planted in the dream part of your custom home build, then check out the five things you need to know before building your custom house. 

But if you’re ready to dive into assembling your build team, then it’s time to find your right match. 

We hope it involves a few Kiwi custom home builders in Victoria, BC.

What Your Home Builder Actually Does

Let’s start at the beginning.  

Your custom home team should consist of: 

  • A realtor to help you find the right land for your vision
  • An architect to design your structure, features and plans
  • A design team to help you choose the details that bring it all together
  • A general contractor (or "builder") to build your home to completion

So, what is your custom home builder actually responsible for? When it comes to exploring different contractors and construction businesses, you’ll likely discover a range of roles and responsibilities.

Some home builders act as general managers who hire independent contractors for most of the construction work. Others have a team of electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and more to take care of all your needs in-house. 

There are some builders who strictly build and don’t work with you on your design, location, or long-term home plans. While others approach every project as an opportunity to build long-lasting and collaborative relationships (cough, hey there)

Ultimately, your builder oversees the entire custom home build process from start to finish. This includes zoning requirements and environmental restrictions, permitting, the entire construction phase including foundations, framing, building, and installation, as well as the final inspection.

We’re not bragging when we say home builders are key to ensuring your custom home is your dream home. 

One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to building your dream home is not having the right team assembled from the get-go. Without professional, experienced, and transparent builders, your home build could suffer from:

  • Increased timelines
  • Unexpected costs that push the budget
  • Stressful surprises and poor communication
  • Unsatisfactory product quality and experience

As a result, your dream home experience could feel like a headache in reality.

What’s step number one in partnering with the right build team?

Finding a reputable custom home builder in your area. 

How To Find A Custom Home Builder

Similar to discovering an architect for your custom home build, there are a few different ways to find a home builder that you want to work with. 

Referrals are a great way to start!

Do you have a friend or neighbour who recently built a custom home, or underwent a big renovation? Or, maybe a family member can make an introduction to someone they know. Ask around–the best way to learn more about the custom home building process is to hear from others about their experiences (good and bad!). By relying on people you trust for referrals, you know your home build team is vetted. 

If you’re working with a real estate agent to find the right piece of land for your new home, it’s likely they can recommend a home builder or contractor who has worked with previous clients. A skilled realtor might even suggest that you involve your builder or architect in the selection of your property to ensure your design must-haves are accommodated. For example, if you're an early riser, east-facing windows might be a top priority to let the sun pour in first thing in the morning.

If you’ve already found an architect who has designed your dream home, there is a good chance they can recommend a builder in your area who has built some of their designs. Ask your architect whose work they love, and who they enjoy working with so you know your home build team will work well together. 

We always recommend sitting down with at least three professional builders so that you can get a sense of what to expect from them, compare the quality of work, and ensure you're choosing a team that you feel good about investing in. 

What To Ask Potential Home Builders

Once you’ve narrowed down your home builder options, it’s time to find out more about your potential new team. 

While interviews can be stressful for everyone involved, it’s important to know who you’re hiring, what their process is, and if they’re the right fit for you. 

When meeting with home builders, ask them the following questions:

  • What styles of building and home design do you have experience in? 

If you’re interested in sustainability, passive homes, or net-zero homes, then make sure your home builder has experience in those areas. 

Do you love the look of a concrete frame, or are you more drawn to a traditional wood frame? Take a look at your builder's portfolio, or ask if they can share examples of the styles you're the most interested in.

  • How do you manage a custom home budget?

Unexpected costs arise in home construction, and it's crucial that your team knows how to manage those surprises.

Are you building with specific environmental considerations like beach access, protected trees or bedrock foundation? Then you’ll want to ask about additional costs that might arise during your build process. Is there an existing structure on the property that needs to be torn down before building? Ask about how this might affect your budget.

While it's tough to give a cost estimate for a custom home (they're all quite different!), it's reasonable to ask your builder how they go about preparing a budget, and what their process is if it runs over. This will help ensure challenges can be smoothly addressed.

  • Who will be managing my home build team, and what are they like?

You’ll work closely with your home build team, especially your Project Manager, so getting along, sharing values, and holding the same image of your dream home is key. But beyond that compatibility, you should also know who is actually working on your home. 

Does your home build team work in-house or do they hire contractors? Who will be your main point of contact? How often will you hear from your home builders? Get to know the people who are building your dream home. 

  • What is your building process like from quality of materials to permitting?

As mentioned earlier, your home builders are responsible for a large variety of tasks so it’s critical that you understand what to expect from each aspect.

For example, what goes into sourcing the different materials for your home and confirming their quality? Are landscaping, warranty, and permits all included in your custom home building process, or are those extra steps that require additional financing and hiring?

Laying this groundwork early on will keep the entire home-building process running smoothly for you and your team. 

Choosing your Builder

Imagine you've talked to a handful of home builders and hit it off with one in particular. 

They answered your questions thoroughly, your small talk about the weather was pain-free, and you feel confident they’re able to bring your dream home to life. The final step is to bring everyone together, to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Meeting with your builder, architect, and designer for the first time should feel like you just discovered the Spice Girls. Okay, maybe they aren't going to take over the world with Girl Power, but there should definitely be some creative chemistry that builds your confidence and gets you excited to finally break ground. 

Cheers, you are ready to get started!

The NZ Builders Team 

Here at NZ Builders, we’re passionate about pushing the design envelope, leveraging solar energy, and building high-performance, healthy homes in the Pacific Northwest. 

Plus we like to have a little fun along the way. 

If you’re ready to build your custom home and now need to find the perfect-fit home build team, reach out to us. We’re more than happy to meet with you, discuss your custom home goals, and see if we’re the right match.