At the Waterfront of West Clay, we know how difficult it can be to find a custom home builder who will bring your dream home to life. You want to make sure you find someone who shares your values and vision, as well as someone you can trust to make the right decisions for you and your home.

The floor plan and design of your custom home can be done on a computer, but putting together the actual brick and mortar requires hands-on craftsmanship. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of seven questions to ask your custom home builder!

Do you have references from recent buyers? Do you build model homes I can tour, and if not, can you help me make an appointment to see a home built for another customer?

When choosing a custom home builder, this question is a fundamental building block in that decision. If you want to know everything about a builder’s process and what their finished products look like, be sure to get some references from homeowners who have recently had homes constructed by potential builders. Past clients can give you a better idea of how well potential builders stuck to timelines, any frustrations, and even a list of do’s and don’ts when working with a specific builder.

If a builder is proud of their work and has a good reputation with their former clients, they should have no problem answering this question and accommodating your request. However, if a builder is reluctant to give you references, it could be an indicator that past clients aren’t always happy with their finished products, which is a bright red flag you should heed to.

Do you have a financial plan established?

In many ways, financing a new custom home is similar to getting a mortgage to purchase a resale home, but there’s an important difference: when purchasing a resale home, you shop around for rates and terms from banks, mortgage companies, brokers, etc. You can do the same thing when financing a custom home, but you have another option: your builder may offer attractive financing options, either directly through its own mortgage subsidiary or through an affiliate.

When shopping for a custom home builder, we recommend that you receive a fair preliminary budget, expected lot cost, and qualify for a mortgage. Sometimes, a financing package from your potential builder comes with sales incentives on your new home, such as upgrades and price breaks. Financing through your builder may also give you a slight edge on the approval of your financing application and save you money on the complete package of incentives you’re offered. It is important to know what the financing options of each of your potential builders are, so be sure to research thoroughly before deciding on a builder.

What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I customize?

As discussed above, building a custom home affords you nearly unlimited choices. One of the appeals of building versus buying a home is getting exactly what you want. However, some builders try to keep costs under control by offering a set number of featured finishes, allowing for only a few cosmetic tweaks in the building process.

If you want to build your dream house, ask the builder if customization is limited to cosmetics alone. It is important to make sure that the standard features offered by your homebuilder are sufficient. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you have a clear picture of what customization and upgrade options you have in building your new home.

Are there any restrictive covenants on the lot?

A restrictive covenant is any type of agreement that requires the purchaser of the land to either take or abstain from specific actions. In real estate, restrictive covenants are binding legal obligations written into the property deed by the seller.

Examples of restrictive covenants include adequate maintenance of property or limitations pertaining to paint and decoration. They can also enforce more burdensome restrictions on buyers, such as the number of tenants that can live on a property or even the timing around holiday decorations. Restrictive covenants can levy heavy penalties against buyers who fail to obey them, so it is important to find out the restrictive covenants of your potential lot ahead of time.

What is your usual construction timeline?

One of the first steps in building your custom dream home is to establish a comprehensive and accurate timeline for the project. Building a home isn’t an exact science — weather, issues obtaining materials, and dealing with contractors can easily cause delays in your timeline. Still, a reliable home builder should be able to provide you with a general idea of how long the project should take. From foundation to framing and walls to paint, your builder should be able to layout exactly when each step of the process will be completed and provide you with a fairly solid move-in date.

Do you offer a warranty program?

Just because your new custom home passes inspection and is deemed fit to live in does not mean you won’t experience any problems. There are five problems that typically arise after new-home construction: floor creaks due to structural components, cracks in fixtures, issues with pipes or septic and electrical systems, defective materials (such as seals on windows and doors), and landscaping issues.

Most of the time, these structural issues don’t become noticeable until after the project has been completed and the home has been lived in for a while. If these issues do arise in your dream home, the only way you’ll be able to get the builder to do anything about it is by having a warranty.

New construction homes usually come with warranties for a specific amount of time, though some warranties cover more time or more areas of your home. A good home warranty typically covers major systems such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical for two years and cosmetic issues such as paint and siding for one year.

Carmel, Indiana’s Top Luxury Home Builder

When building a luxury home, it’s important to work with a trusted home builder that not only can answer all of these questions but also provide evidence of the quality work they’ve completed in the past. Look no further than Waterfront of West Clay for all of your needs! Contact us today with any questions you may have as well as to schedule a tour of our various floor plans.