How to Select a Custom Home Builder
All home builders are contractors; not all contractors are homebuilders. A contractor by definition is one who makes contracts with sub-contractors to build your home. This contractor may have very little actual knowledge of the construction process. He or she may only be proficient at making phone calls.
Is this what you are looking for in your builder?
Unlike production houses, you only get one chance to build a custom house correctly, that is why it is so important to choose a builder with extensive first hand experience in the construction process.
Do look for the home builder who gets his hands dirty, who owns tools and possesses the knowledge to use them if need be.
Do look for a home builder who also owns a large supply of work cloths; look for a builder who will be completely immersed in the actual building process. I personally handle the entire building process, from creating the contract quote, to lining-up and checking behind the sub-contractors. I have the ability to perform the more precision-type work myself, like trim work, installing cabinets, precision kitchen tile backsplashes and punch list if need be. I also write the checks to the craftsmen and suppliers. My right hand always knows what my left hand is doing, therefore I prevent mistakes from happening, not just discover them after the fact. By doing this, I cut construction time considerably.
Do look for a builder who will gladly provide you with the names and phone numbers of the last two or three homeowners that he or she has built for. If the homeowners are truly happy with their homebuilder, they will be more than happy to share their experience with you.
What to Avoid :
Avoid the well dressed front-man with the overdeveloped “gift of the gab”. He will show up on the job site only a few times a week (if at all) to make a quick walk through.
Avoid the contractor whose vast majority of income is derived from spec houses, (if you are building a custom home). Many spec house builders are accustomed to minimizing (their) cost, while maximizing (their) profits, most often at the expense of quality. They also consider home owners to be a nuisance that should be avoided if possible.
Avoid a builder who discourages direct contact with his or her sub-contractors, craftsmen or suppliers. He may be hiding something. Your contractor should gladly provide you with his contracts or quotes from his sub-contractors and suppliers.