How To Find a Custom Home Builder

If you're building a home, you may think that hiring a custom home builder is only for those who are very wealthy.  However, a custom home builder can customize any home so that you get exactly what you want.  A custom home builder is, by definition, a builder who designs one-of-a-kind homes on specific lots for specific clients.  They usually build only a few homes each year.  In addition, they may take classes or attend events specifically arranged for custom home builders.  They may work with an architect, or they may provide design services along with their building skills.  It's important to find a custom home builder with whom you feel comfortable and who listens to your ideas.  If you've decided that your new construction requires a custom home builder, you may be a bit bewildered about how to find such a person.

  1. National Association of Home Builders.  The website of the NAHB is an excellent place to start looking for a custom home builder.  You can use this site to find your local Home Builders Association (HBA), which in turn, can put you in touch with a custom home builder in your area.  In addition, your local HBA's website may provide a link to local "Parade of Homes" shows, which will give you a chance to see the work of different custom home builders.
  2. New construction in your area.  Many times, when a custom home builder is hired for a project, he will display a sign in the front yard of the home.  If you like the home that you see, call to see if he has more examples of his work that you could tour.
  3. Your architect.  If you've hired an architect to design your home, chances are, he has a list of builders with whom he has worked before.  Your architect has been through the process before and knows which builders keep to their timelines and agreements.  Ask him which ones he recommends and why. 
  4. The Internet.  Simply Googling "custom home builder", along with the state in which you live, will provide you with hundreds of custom home builders.

Once you've chosen several custom home builders, call them to set up interviews.  If they can meet with you at your building site, that's even better.  Tell them what you have in mind for your new home and see if they have a building philosophy that meshes well with what you want.  Ask them how many custom homes they've built and how long they've been building.  Find out about their billing structure and timetable for new constructions.  Ask them for their NAHB credentials.  And of course, ask for references and check them.  Most homeowners who have hired a custom home builder are very proud of their new homes and will be happy to discuss what they liked, and didn't like, about their builder.  Checking references is especially important when hiring a custom home builder, because the NAHB does not keep a formal list of complaints filed against their members.  Try to interview at least five custom home builders so that you have a wide range of styles for comparison.  You'll probably find at least one with whom you quickly feel comfortable.  If not, you may want to keep interviewing.  Building a new home is very expensive, and for most people, their emotions are very involved, also.  You'll want to find exactly the right person to entrust with this monumental task.


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