The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Custom Home Builder in RGV

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Custom Home Builder in RGV

For most people, building a custom home is one of their greatest aspirations. If you are looking to build a …

Business man and construction engineer. business, building, teamwork and people concept.
Business man and construction engineer. business, building, teamwork and people concept.

For most people, building a custom home is one of their greatest aspirations. If you are looking to build a custom home, finding a good custom builder is usually the first step. Here are some key aspects that you must consider while building a custom home.

Do your homework

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Whether you are building your home from scratch or renovating an existing home, it is imperative to hire a competent builder if you want the outcome to live up to your expectations. The custom home builder is the link between the homeowner and subcontractors. They coordinate with vendors and subcontractors to ensure that the home is built according to the specifications outlined by the homeowner.

Do not choose the first builder you find. Custom builders aren’t made equal. A builder who has been in this field for only a few years cannot match the expertise of someone who has been building homes for decades in RGV. Keep in mind that the quality and durability of your home depend on the credentials of the builder and the people who work for them. If they work with good vendors and contractors and adhere to the highest standards of building codes, you will have a home you can be proud of.

Decide how much you can spend on your home

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If you know your budget, it is easier to find a builder who can work in that price range. Of course, high-end builders are unlikely to build inexpensive homes, so if your budget is too low, your options will definitely be limited. At the same time, be wary of low-end builders who offer to build high-end homes.

Narrow your search and focus on a handful of builders who have expertise in building the kind of home you want. Custom homes actually come in four varieties. There are custom homes, spec homes, semi-custom homes, and production or tract homes. Choose which type of home you want and then search for a builder who specializes in that segment.

Research thoroughly

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Choose a builder who has a reputation for building quality homes. Talk to the people who have got their homes built by that builder. What do they think about them? While it is possible for one or two customers to be dissatisfied with the builder, if it is the norm, it is a warning signal. Ask around to find out whether previous buyers will recommend that builder.

You can also look for their reviews online. Industry professionals like contractors and vendors are also good sources of information. If a friend or a relative recently got a custom home built for them, ask them if they would recommend their builder to you.

How people treat those who work for them will usually give you an idea of their work ethics. If they treat their workers, contractors, and vendors with fairness, you can expect them to offer the same treatment to you. So, talk to vendors and contractors and request them to recommend a good custom home builder to you.

In addition, visit the builder’s website and social media profiles. Also, pay attention to how they market their business. How do they brand themselves? Do their adverts make honest claims or are they full of marketing fluff? Some companies do not invest in marketing. Their customers are their biggest brand ambassadors. This is perfectly okay if they have a legion of satisfied customers.

However, some builders who have been in this business for only a few years and haven’t had the opportunity to build a loyal base of satisfied customers certainly need to market their business. If they do not do it, this could be an indication that they are not interested in growing their business. If that is indeed the case, you cannot expect them to be of any help if you face problems a few years down the lane.

Make sure that there are no complaints against them

Visit the Better Business Bureau to find out whether the builder has had any complaints registered against them. Research the builder’s history as well. If they have in the past operated under another name, try to find out why they shut down that business.

It is important to ensure that they have no history of indulging in questionable business practices and that there are no lawsuits or former bankruptcies. Also, find out whether this builder is a member of trade associations such as the National Association of Home Builders or the Rio Grande Valley Builders Association.

Schedule a meeting in person

Builder with a female client near the wooden house structure on the construction site outdoors. Building and designing wooden frame house concept

Once you have done enough offline and online research and zeroed in on a particular custom home builder in RGV, schedule an appointment with them. During your first meeting with the builder, clearly explain your needs and wants. It is a good idea to ask the builder some questions. Carefully analyze how they respond to your questions.

If they sound like you asked them some silly questions, they are not the right builder for you. They will make you feel the same during the construction process, and you will find it difficult to get what you want. See if you can build a good rapport with the builder. Do not choose a builder who ignores your questions or concerns. It takes about 8 months to build a custom home, and you will be closely interacting with the builder during this time frame. Therefore, it is important to choose one whom you can trust and be comfortable with.

Make sure that the builder returns your phone calls without much delay. They may be busy, and it may not be possible for them to pick up your calls every time. However, if they really value their relationship with their customers, they will call back as soon as they can. Builders who ignore your calls or messages aren’t really worth working with.

Learn more about energy certifications

The builder is legally required to abide by the building code and there are lots of minimum specifications to it. If they build to minimum specifications, the outcome will be a poor quality home. Ideally, you should familiarize yourself with building codes and certifications.

According to the law, homes built in Texas after August 1, 2016, should pass a duct leakage test and blower door test to fulfill the requirements of the 2015 IECC. Hire a builder who is compliant with these laws.

Don’t be content with a home that meets only bare minimum standards. Ask the builder if they can build superior quality ‘above building code’ homes that can adhere to the standards specified by Energy Star or Built To Save home programs. In order to earn these certifications, you should get your home verified by an independent third-party energy rater during and after construction. These high-performance homes will command higher prices if and when you put them up for sale in the future.

Know what matters and what doesn’t

Designer ceilings and granite countertops will certainly make your home look more luxurious; however, they have no real impact on the quality of your home or the comfort provided by it. Durability, energy savings, and comfort are the most important things to consider while building a home. For example, the size of the air conditioner should match the size of the home. Likewise, the insulation must be installed correctly.

A sustainable home consumes less energy and has minimal impact on the planet. Better still, you get to save a lot of money on utility bills. Efficient heating and cooling systems play a crucial role in making your home comfortable for you and your family. High-performance home certifications usually focus on aspects like indoor air quality, energy savings, and comfort. A good builder will ensure all of these.

Where to find good builders

Do a little research online and offline to find good builders in your area. Ask your friends and relatives. You can also find builders through banks. While it is true that their job is to process your loan applications and mortgages, they also have contacts with builders. Realtors in your area may also be able to help.

When to hire the builder

Ideally, you should involve the builder right from the early stage of construction. This reduces your workload and makes it easier for you to conceive the design. A builder oversees the project and ensures that the construction abides by building codes. They also coordinate with inspectors and other officials. Another advantage of hiring a custom home builder in RGV is that they will manage the financial aspects of the construction.

It can be cumbersome for the homeowner to prepare cost estimates, manage expenses and submit payment requests to the lender. By professionally performing all these duties, the builder will make it easier for you. Inspecting the quality of the building material is also the job of the builder.

While signing the contract, make sure that every clause is clear to you. Also, beware of builders who demand a huge sum of money even before they start working on the project.

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