Tips On Choosing The Right Custom Home Builder near Ann Arbor, MI

Finding the Right Home Builder For Your Ann Arbor Dream Home

If you're planning the construction of your dream home in the Ann Arbor area, the most important decision you'll have to make is hiring the home builder. Shopping for a builder is a process! Ultimately, you want to make sure that you're getting a quality home from a reputable builder that understands your creative vision, lifestyle, needs and wants. You will also want the most efficient building process available. This is why hiring a design build firm is often your best bet.

You'll want to base your decision on several factors, including the type of house you want and finding a firm that ”fits.” For example, are you building a team including an architect, interior designer, and general contractor, or would you prefer a full-service design build team as your custom home builder? ... and of course, your budget.  Once you've answered these questions, you can create a list of potential builders. Here are some tips to help you find the right custom home builder for your project.

Before You Start: Define Your Needs and Prepare

First, make sure you have your finances in order. Get a construction mortgage pre-approval from a mortgage lender before you speak to anyone. It will confirm your budget and demonstrate your credibility with both builders and realtors.

Next, decide on the type of home you want and need and how much you want to spend. Custom home builders typically specialize, but not always and may build a certain style of home, or work within a specific budget range. Are you a first-time buyer, an empty nester or finally building your aging-in-place dream home? Base your decision on those custom home builders that fit your specific needs.

You'll want to compare builders. Get to know exactly what they provide, and make certain that everything offered is as clear as possible. Make sure that you have your project outlined. Do you dream about a fireplace, hardwood floors, and a four-season conservatory room? If you don't mention it, you won't get the information you need.

Before You Sign, Answer These Five Key Questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions. You're looking for an experienced builder and they're used to scrutiny! Ask how long they've been in business and how long the team leaders have been building custom homes. You're looking for a seasoned professional. Ask about their past, ask about trade associations and definitely ask for past references.  If you've bought land and are building custom in a community, talk to your neighbors. Ask if they're satisfied with their homes and if they'd work with the builder again. Would they recommend their builder to a friend or relative?

Once you've vetted your choices, spoken to references, seen past work, and met their teams, it's time to answer some questions. Ask and answer these five key questions before you make a final choice:

  1. Do you like them?

    You're going to be spending a lot of time with your custom home builder over the next 6 months or more! Make sure you have a good rapport and like your choice. If you get a bad vibe during your meetings, those feelings are likely going to resurface as issues come up (and they will). Personality, teamwork and shared values are important!

  2. Do you like their work?

    Hopefully, if you've done your homework, you've seen their portfolio, driven by recent jobs and spoken to their references. Be meticulous! It's your home and your money. Excellent work will stand up to scrutiny and any legitimate custom home builder will be happy to share as much of their work with you as you ask for.

  3. Are they available and accessible when you need them?

    Before and during the process you'll have questions and concerns. You need a builder that you can reach when you need them. Custom builders are busy people, but they should always be responsive whether it's through text, phone or email.

  4. Do they have good relationships with their subcontractors?

    Your project is only as good as the team that's building it. Typically this team is assembled by your custom home builder and includes plumbers, HVAC, electricians, drywallers and more. They may also have an in-house project manager. Ask them how long their subcontractors have worked with them and how experienced they are. A good, reputable custom builder will have a reliable team of subcontractors.

  5. Do they have a good reputation?

    Check them out online. Ask about their professional associations and make sure they are members in good standing. There are plenty of sites online that allow you to thoroughly vet a custom home builder before signing on. Do your due diligence.

Finding the right custom home builder to create your dream home is the most important step in the entire process. Make sure to do your research, talk to people, gather as much information as you can online, and ask them the hard questions. Choose the wrong custom home builder, and it can be a problem, but if you do your due diligence and find the right custom home builder, you'll end up with the home of your dreams - and maybe a lifetime working relationship.

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.