A custom home builder is carrying lumber through the bare frame of a newly designed home.

3 keys to hiring a great custom home builder (who won’t go over budget and take forever)

Want to avoid exploding budgets and endless timelines on your next custom home building or remodeling project? The secret is to find a qualified home designer who can set the whole process on the right path from the beginning.

It’s okay to be nervous about the custom home building process

You’ve reached a point in life where you’re finally ready to build the custom home of your dreams (or remodel your current home into something new). But you have concerns that are holding you back:

  • How much will this cost in the end?
  • Will surprises pop up?
  • Will it look and function as I hoped?
  • Will it reflect my personal taste?
  • Will it hold its value for a long time?
  • Will it wow people?
  • Will there be delay after delay?

We’ve all heard nightmare stories related to the custom home building and remodeling industry. I’ve been in the business for decades – as a builder and a designer. I’ve also worked with great custom home builders who know how to complete projects on time and under budget. Based on these experiences, I’ve identified factors that cause these sleepless nights.

3 reasons some custom home builders fail to meet budgets, timelines, and homeowner expectations

#1 The “quick and easy” solution

Many homeowners skip the home design process entirely and buy a generic home plan from the internet. Or they hire a general contractor who exaggerates his expertise in home design. This can cause major uncertainty in the budget and timeline.

Pricing can’t be accurate until a qualified designer develops a detailed, comprehensive plan that lists all the parts to purchase and all the hurdles to overcome.

Too often, custom home building and remodeling quotes are just thrown together by a contractor in his truck. Don’t accept a construction bid that is so hastily prepared, especially when your life savings is on the line.

Never commit to spending a large amount of money on a project with so little research backing up the numbers and timelines. That’s where nightmare stories come from in our industry.

Will the budget and timeline meet the expectations of your dream home? Additionally, will it meet building codes and homeowners association regulations? If not, you will face delays, higher expenses, and overall poor results.

At Keystone Creative, we slow down to get it right.

We do a tremendous amount of research to gather all the information needed to develop an accurate budget and timeline that includes everything you want.

You can use our construction team or select your own. Either way, we can help ensure success by providing valuable information and direction to the builders. We can create detailed drawings, 3D renderings, and shopping lists to guide the entire process. We can even provide ongoing Project Management & Construction Quality Control.

We can work on new home construction and remodeling projects here in greater Springfield-Branson, Missouri, or we can consult on remote projects across the country. By providing proper planning and project management, we help ensure all the pieces fall into place.

This small investment on the front end makes the entire process go much smoother.

#2 Setting the budget before making the selections

I know and recommend a lot of great home builders. A home builder’s job is to complete a project on time and on budget – while managing all the subcontractors and craftsmen.

Even a great builder isn’t expected to know how to select the best materials and fixtures for your individual needs. And he isn’t expected to understand interior design trends and functionality at a high level.

The more you depend on your builder to make selections, the more he might make selections that protect his profit. Builders who don’t collaborate with a talented designer to develop an accurate budget use a generic “allowance” for budgeting factors such as lighting and flooring. Then they find selections that leave a reasonable profit in their budget. This can often force you to go down to “builder-grade” materials. As a result, your new “custom” home won’t be special and different from everyone else’s house.

At Keystone Creative, we can make all the selections long before construction begins:

  • Unique flooring materials and creative installation techniques.
  • Custom cabinetry that meets your specific needs and style of cooking.
  • Furniture and other interior design elements are designed custom just for you.
  • Kitchen/bathroom fixtures and materials that create solutions to daily frustrations.
  • Even artwork and accessories can be accounted for in advance.

Here’s just a sample of the information we can provide to your custom home builder:

With a thorough home design, you can plan all of these factors ahead of time – before committing to a building budget or taking out a loan – so there are fewer surprises along the way.

#3 Your needs and wants are not understood

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough," A quote by Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and fellow mustache artist.
A quote I always think of when trying to understand a client’s dream home.

If you don’t consult the right experts, your new home will not be unique, and it won’t have the functional features needed to solve your unique problems.

At Keystone Creative, we don’t have any “standard” packages. Every home is custom designed based on input from the homeowner.

The first visit is always free. We learn all about your wishes and wants. We can make a general assessment to decide if the project is “doable.” We also talk about the budget. Does the list of wants seem to match the budget? We can help decide if this dream can become a reality.

That first meeting is sort of like a blind date. Then we have to decide if we will establish a relationship and go on this home-building journey together.

Great reviews for Keystone Creative from custom home design clients on houzz dot com
Great reviews for Keystone Creative from custom home design clients and colleagues on houzz.com.

The conversation continues after that first meeting. Maybe you’ve been looking at home design magazines and websites for months. You have a lot of ideas about what features you like or don’t like. You can send those ideas to us through Pinterest, Houzz.com, or email. We’ll notice patterns in those clippings to identify your personal taste.

You don’t have to know all the industry lingo. Just send us photos of what you are drawn to. We’ll identify qualities the images have in common, so we can incorporate those features into your design. Since you contribute to the brainstorming process, you’ll feel like you really “own” the final design.

Ready to get started?

Do you have additional concerns about the custom home building process? Schedule a free consultation today. We can meet at our office in Springfield, Missouri, on your local property, or by phone.

Keystone Creative is an award-winning residential design firm, specializing in whole-house transformations and new-home designs. The team reimagines kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and even laundry rooms to fulfill homeowners’ dreams and increase the value of homes. Keystone Creative can handle the entire process, from the initial concept and detailed blueprints, to interior design and material selection, to construction and quality control management.

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