In a perfect world homeowners and builders would understand each other completely and they would enjoy smooth sailing throughout the building or remodeling project. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, and sometimes misunderstandings occur. However, arguments do not have to arise from these misunderstandings. When undergoing any custom home building or remodeling project, there are a few common mix-ups that tend to come up. As a Seattle custom home builder we want to help you identify them-and talk about how to keep them from becoming arguments.
1. The homeowner thinks: You never finished my punch-out, walk-through list.
At closing, the builder and homeowner make a walk-through list of the project, in its entirety, to discuss if anything still needs more work. It’s important to have this in writing and signed by both parties. Be careful not to frustrate your builder, or yourself, by continually adding “one more thing”. Adding things to the list will make it seem like the builder never finishes, which isn’t good for you or your builder. So agree on an initial list. If you come up with more things to consider, create a new, separate list.
2. The homeowner thinks: Why does adding two more windows to the home cost me more? I’m already paying a lot of money for this house.
While it’s a fact that you are probably paying a lot to get your home, your builder figured his price off the clear specifications made at the beginning of the home building process. If you add to the specifications, you impact his expenses and his profits. If there are adjustments that are needed or you want, there is nothing wrong with that. These changes just need to be clearly communicated and put into writing-to protect both of you.
3. The homeowner thinks: I’m paying for a quality home and it’s not perfect. I want it done right.
You’re right to expect quality. But it’s not difficult for expectations to turn into things that are impossible to fulfill. Builders are people (and therefore imperfect) and they use imperfect materials. Before signing a contract, the homeowner and the builder should clearly outline their expectations. Although it will take a bit of time, its’ worth it. And if you aren’t sure, your builder can help you determine what is realistic and what isn’t in your home building project. By capturing this on paper you’ll avoid arguments due to expectations.
4. The builder thinks: The homeowner is asking for changes, but I don’t think he has sufficient funds to pay for them. The homeowner thinks: The builder didn’t communicate changes and charges clearly and in a timely manner.
Agree in writing about any changes that occur after the contract is signed. It is also a good idea for the homeowner to pay for changes when they happen and not wait until the end of the job. By doing so, there will be no financial surprises and it will keep both parties on good terms.
5. The homeowner thinks: My custom home builder isn’t taking my concerns seriously. They’re falling on deaf ears.
It would be smart to have regularly, maybe weekly, scheduled meetings with your builder. This will allow you both to update the schedule, talk about any changes, voice your concerns, and discuss items the builder may need to order to finish your home. Regular meetings allow you to address concerns without feeling like you’re nagging the builder. Your builder will appreciate it because he won’t feel like he’s constantly having to stop construction.
6. The homeowner thinks: I talked to the subcontractor and he said he’d handle a particular issue without dragging the builder into it. It streamlines the process.
Everything must go through the builder on Construction Manager because they have the “big picture”. If you try to go around him in attempt to save time, you are actually more likely to cause confusion and delays.
7. The homeowner talks to everyone except the builder about what’s going on with the project.
It is important to have communication that is truthful and open with your builder, especially when dealing with problems. It is crucial to have a good relationship with your builder; so do not hurt that relationship by talking about him behind his back. Let you builder to what you hired him to do.
8. The homeowner continually second-guesses the builder.
Take time at the start of the project to interview your builder and gain a high level of trust in his abilities.
Go to other homeowners that hired your builder to build their homes and see what they say. Make sure you feel really good about your builder. After you hire him, let him do his job. If you have questions or concerns, you should feel free to ask for clarification, but don’t question his judgment. If you took the time to hire the right builder, you’ve got a professional working for you. Respect his professionalism.