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How to compare home builder's prices, quote to quote
Selecting the right mortgage when buying new
How to know when you're getting the quality 
and craftsmanship you deserve
How to avoid costly mistakes and headaches
Top ways to make your home more energy efficient
Tips on building or buying a healthier home
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Custom Home Building Checklist


Use this custom home building checklist, and start your research by reading our site. Also download our free 98 page guide at the top right of this page. The information on this site is provided to help first time home builders get the home they want, and avoid construction pitfalls.

Custom Home Building Checklist: Concept

• Research home building materials of all kinds, including traditional, green and alternative materials.
• Research home building techniques and procedures of all types.
• Formulate a precise concept of your home.
• Use Google image search, your own photos, magazine clippings and your own sketches to discover, plan and illustrate your home concept.

Custom Home Building Checklist: Money

• Create a savings account and save as much as possible each month.
• Pre-qualify yourself by estimating one quarter to one third of your income.
• Clean up your credit score.
• Pay all your bills promptly.
• Pay off credit cards, cars and other items you bought on time.
• Decide on a budget based on using one fourth to one third of your income.

Custom Home Building Checklist: Planning

Record your home concept in a home building journal.

• A rough house plan
• An exterior view
• Specifications for building materials you prefer (be specific)
• Interior design ideas
• A kitchen layout
• List of rooms
• Dimensions of rooms (make sure the furniture will fit)

Custom Home Building Checklist: Selecting up to Six Contractors and Home Builders

• Research home builders in your area.
• Visit open houses to see homes. Inspect houses and ask the builder’s name.
• Ask Realtors, subcontractors, building inspectors and loan officers for recommendations.
• Visit a few home construction sites to get a feel for what construction is like.
• By careful online and local research, narrow your choices of home builders and contractors to between three and six.
• Make appointments with three to four home builders or contractors to explain your design and get quotes.

Custom Home Building Checklist: Visit the Contractors

• Bring your home design plans and all relevant journal materials.
• Present your concepts and specifications.
• Discuss your plans.
• Prequalify with the builder to insure your plan is realistic with your budget.
• Make notes of any adjustments, changes or variations of your plan.
• Keep your plan as similar as possible to your original idea and present the same idea to each contractor.
• Ask for quotes from each contractor.
• Make sure you are getting a quote on the materials and design you want.
• Make sure each contractor is quoting on the same materials and design. Make note of any variations, no matter how small.

Custom Home Building Checklist: Selecting a Contractor

• Review quotes.
• Go over the itemized quotes.
• Make sure that you have a list of all the materials which will be used, their dimensions and other specific specifications, signed by each contractor.
• Don’t just look at the bottom line. Be sure your specifications are listed properly.
• Consider what it would be like to work with each contractor.
• Consider the quality of homes each builder builds.
• Base your choice on quality, and ease of communication as well as price.

Custom Home Building Checklist: During construction

• Visit your construction site at least once a week.
• Inspect building materials and craftsmanship.
• Be sure to see your floor joists while the subfloor is being applied.
• Be sure to inspect your studs and insulation before dry wall is applied.
• Inspect roof trusses before they go up.
• Continue to visit at crucial times.
• Be kind to the crew, and ask questions with a curious not accusatory tone.
• Be personable and friendly with the crew and subcontractors.
• Never argue with crew or subcontractors.
• If you have any concerns contact the contractor.
• Always be polite, but also make sure every aspect of your home is being created as promised.
• Don’t be a pest, but do inspect materials and workmanship.
• Visiting the site for half an hour, once or twice a week should be sufficient.

Follow this checklist to avoid most of the common problems between home builders and their clients. Most mistakes are due to lack of clarification, of the client’s wishes. The rest are due to failure to inspect work and make sure it is up to client standards. Make sure you get no unpleasant surprises by following this custom homebuilding check list.

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