Speak with anyone who has built a custom home and the chances are good that their experience was lukewarm at best. The industry is rampant with stories of bait and switch, blown budgets, and seemingly endless miscommunications.
The foundational question to ask when interviewing custom homebuilders is, “What processes do you have that differentiate your company from all of the rest?”
My experience is that most builders are good at just that – building. But what truly separates one from another is the way their company is structured to assist the buyer in working through each step of the build process.
When building custom, the best builds are the ones that take a team approach including buyer, builder, and architect. While most custom builders tend to prefer that buyers come to them with a pre-existing plan, what is easiest for the builder is not always what is best for the buyer.
In our experience, there is real synergy in starting with a vision and a blank slate and allowing the home to unfold from there. A talented architectural firm can extrude key ideas, present novel concepts, and often provide early conceptual sketches to assist the buyer in creating the desired look and arrangement of living spaces to fit their unique lifestyle.
When the builder is involved in this process it can really go a long way in protecting the buyers’ budget as well. Often custom homebuilding achieves its best results when architectural concepts are married with practical and affordable building techniques.
It has been estimated that there are over 250,000 parts and pieces that go into building a home. Buyers can be overwhelmed with the process of making all of the required selections for flooring, plumbing, paint colors, roofing, exterior selections, etc.
For this reason, builders who have on-staff interior designers have a definite advantage over those who do not. A designer can pull together your selections with or for you and eliminate an enormous amount of time and stress from the process.
Before selecting a builder, ask what assistance is available for the selection process. If you’re on your own in visiting each design center, you may be in for some very stressful and budget-busting surprises.
The Construction Software
Lastly, ask if your builder has an online software program that will allow you to track and direct the build. When building a custom home, the more communication the better.
Our favorite software is one that enables our buyers to track their budget, sign change orders online, review pertinent documents, and selections and also correspond with various managers providing critical support for the build.
Lastly, choose a builder large enough to ensure that you will receive adequate support for all stages of the build. Sometimes smaller builders struggle to keep up with all of the responsibilities that come with homebuilding.
Does the builder you are interviewing have on-staff accounting personnel to assist with all of the ongoing budget updates that you will need? Do they have a purchasing department to elicit multiple bids on upgrade requests? Is there a certified interior designer on staff to assist with their selections? Do they have a full-time construction manager dedicated to your home? How available is the owner to meet on-site when needed? Is there a project manager assigned to your build?
Ultimately, the more specific the processes of the builder, the smoother the build will be, resulting in a better homebuilding experience.
Copperleaf Homes is a fully custom homebuilder constructing homes from Colorado Springs to north Denver. They build on any lot, anywhere and are always happy to assist buyers in their land search.
To contact Copperleaf Homes visit
or call 719-648-6564.