Finding Custom Home Builders In Salt Lake City, Utah
Building a home is a big step, and for most people, it will be one of the most significant financial investments they will make in their lifetime. It’s an exciting step and one that will change your life and fill your family with memories, laughter, and joy for decades to come.
The success of your new custom-built home depends on getting the right builder, one that you trust, has the experience, and provides you with open, honest, and continuous communication. This relationship will last from six to twelve months, so; you want to make it a good one.
The Role of the Custom Builder
A good custom builder is a collaborative member of the design team who always keeps you, the homeowner, in mind and advocates for your needs.
They work with you and the design team to establish a realistic budget for the build and then, they monitor all costs and scope of the project as it progresses. They will also ensure the budget is adhered to and all design elements agreed upon before the build meets specifications.
Trust, experience, and strong communication skills will be the cornerstones of your relationship with your custom builder. You cannot cut corners or compromise on any of these qualities. If it doesn’t feel right, keep looking. Too much depends on finding the right custom builder to just go with anybody.
When to Hire a Custom Builder
When you hire, your custom builder is going to set the tone for the entire build. It’s best to get the builder on board early in the design process. This is a custom home, a one-of-a-kind creation, so it only makes sense to have the builder and the design working together as soon as possible.
When you’ve picked the right builder, you can rely on their expertise to solicit multiple bids from suppliers and subcontractors. This is much more efficient than bidding the project to numerous builders. A good custom home builder will know this and will take care of the details. So, hire them early on, and let them help you build the perfect home.
You’ll want them on the project early because they will also keep the plan development on schedule, provide unique design ideas, give you an initial estimate based on design, and offer value-engineering and cost-saving options. So, it makes sense to get your custom home builder in the mix as soon as possible.
Finding Your Builder
Before you start your search, it’s good to know that the amount of education and training required to attain a contractor’s license in Utah is substantial. Before a person can even apply for a license, they must have completed;
● A twenty-five-hour pre-license course from either Utah Home Builders (UHB) or Associated General Contractors of Utah (AGC)
● PSI examination UT B-100 General Building Contractor
● PSI examination UTAH Construction Business and Law Examination.
That’s an exceptionally high barrier of entry, so you can feel safe looking for builders in Utah. And, you know if they don’t have any or all of these certifications, just pass them by.
Talk to people & make lists
This is not a rush into it kind of process. You’re going to want to be patient and take the time needed to find the right builder for you. Remember, this is a relationship you’ll be involved with for a significant amount of time; make sure you’re comfortable with that before hiring the builder.
Talk to people, friends, family members, people who know people who have just recently built a new custom home. Talk to real estate professionals. Keep talking. Again, this relationship will be built on trust, so talk to people you trust.
Make two lists, one that has all the positive information about builders you can find. How they worked with the architect, how well they managed the budget, how smooth the process was, and very important, how well they communicated.
Your second list is going to be the builders you want to avoid and why. The why is essential here. Because the list of things that people didn’t like about a builder you can use as a checklist against a new builder. Any red flags on that list will help you not make a lousy choice down the line.
Go to the web
If you don’t find any builders who jump out in talking with folks, then get online and search. In Utah, you’ll want to check houzz.com, check the professional section, and jot down some builders. A list of about ten is a good number to start with.
Narrow the field
Once you’ve talked and talked, gone online, and made your list, now you’re going to narrow the field down to the top two or three.
You’ll do your narrowing by digging deep online, doing as much research about each builder as possible. Look at their portfolio, read reviews, and, if you can talk to people who have hired them. Take notes, ask questions and build a complete picture of your top three choices.
Check their websites and call them. Here’s something else to look for, on every builder’s website, there will be a contact us section. Send them an inquiry. How they respond, what they say, how quickly they get back to you indicates how they will conduct their business with you going forward. It’s a simple sort of test but one that will yield some great information.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to the top three, set up interviews with each of them, a face-to-face is essential, as well as scheduling a visit to a completed house they’ve built and a house in progress. You can learn a lot from walking through a current job site.
The face-to-face meeting will allow you to get a feel for their communication style and personality, their team and experience, and their organizational skills, transparency, and practical work processes.
A site visit lets you see the quality of the construction and materials they use, the finishes on the homes they build, job site safety and cleanliness, and how hands-on and knowledgeable the builder is how he communicates with and treats his team.
What to ask
What you ask the potential builder is going to set the tone for the relationship. You want the builder to know that you have some knowledge and are looking for a specific builder, but you don’t want to speak or appear out of your depth.
Here are a few questions you can ask the builder face-to-face to give you information about them, the work, their communication, and help you refine your choices.
● What means and methods will you use to determine the exact cost of my home?
● Do you have experience building the style and quality of the home that I want?
● How do you qualify the competency of the subcontractors who will be working on my home?
● How long will it take for you to give me an estimate for my home?
● What is your warranty, and how do you service it once the home is complete?
● How are you compensated for your pre-construction services?
● How long do you anticipate construction on this project will take?
● How long will my project be under direct supervision, and who will be assigned to it?
● If there are changes to the design or unforeseen conditions that result in extra cost, what process do you use to communicate these changes to the owner and designer?
● How will questions and concerns be addressed during construction?
Those are a few to get you started. You can go online and Google questions to ask a potential custom home builder for more information.
The fact is, most people do not expect you to contact their references. It can take time and be hard to connect with them but do not skip this step.
If the builder has put these references on their website, you can assume their experience with the builder was good. Still, take the time to contact them and have a conversation. A conversation can give you a better feel of the builder’s strengths and uncover some hidden weaknesses.
Here are five questions you can ask a reference to give you some more precise information.
● Did you enjoy working with this builder?
● Was your project finished on time? If not, what were the reasons for delays?
● Did you feel your original budget estimate was thorough?
● How did the builder react in stressful situations?
● Were there certain subcontractors on your project that you would strongly recommend or avoid?
That should get you started. Again, go online and Google questions to ask a reference when seeking a custom home builder; you’ll find hundreds of helpful questions. But, be respectful of that person’s time and don’t have a list of a hundred questions. Spread your questions out between references. That will give you a broader view of the builder.
Make your choice
Once you’ve done your research, asked your questions, connected references, all that’s left is for you to make your choice and start building your custom home.
If you take time and do your research wisely, ask all your questions, and feel confident that you’ve chosen the right builder, the rest should fall in line quite easily.
However, it is best to talk to a home builder with decades of experience building houses in Utah before you choose. A builder with options, floor plans, communities, and deep knowledge of the real estate market in Utah. Before you build your home, talk to the good folks at Revere Homes. They have information that could make your custom home building even more straightforward than you imagined.
This is a big step, and you want to make it feel secure and well supported. Talk to the experts, talk to Revere Homes.