5 Questions to Ask Custom Home Builders

Most Asked Questions About Custom Homes

Choosing a builder for your custom home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Dip your toe in the homebuilding industry water by exploring the Web, attending home shows and touring the parade of homes. This should help narrow down the style and capability to a few builders, but then the real work begins.

Meet with your select group of builders to ask the important questions that will set them apart and ultimately point to one who meets all your needs. Choosing the right builder can mean the difference between so-so and spectacular, so take the time to get the answers you need.

Here are five questions to ask a custom home builder before hiring them.

Do you have a portfolio of homes we can see?

Any respected and experienced builder can show you past building sites, current builds and finished photography. If they only share multiple photos from one or two builds, this could mean they’re inexperienced and not as reliable as others. Another red flag could appear if all the sample homes the builder provides look similar or use the same floor plan.

At Weaver, our homes are designed from scratch for each client for a true custom home construction experience. Some builders may say they’re a “custom builder” but in reality, they’re building production or semi-custom homes (they replicate the same floor plan but offer personalized finishes).

References from past clients also go a long way toward helping decide which builder is right for your project. When you speak to these clients, ask about their experience as it relates to the process and communication from the builder. Find out if they completed the job on time and on budget. These homeowners can offer a wealth of knowledge leading up to your decision, so if one builder doesn’t provide references, you may want to reconsider working with them.

Recently, one of our Weaver homeowners told us we were the fourth builder they’ve worked with building homes around the country. They said, “We know how things should be done and have very high expectations. We can honestly say that we wouldn't build a house now with anyone but Weaver.”

Does the build come with a warranty?

Custom homes are major investments that are worth protecting. Builders sometimes provide specific warranties as do material and mechanical systems manufacturers. If something stops working properly after move-in, it’s clear who to call for repair and who will cover the cost. Always ask prospective builders what kind of warranty they offer, and make sure they provide information about any coverage on items used in the home.

Weaver homeowners receive a one-year “fit and finish” warranty on their new homes, as well as the manufacturer’s warranties for many of the products they select for the new home. Each home is covered by a limited structural warranty for up to 10 years, providing our clients with peace of mind to relax and enjoy their custom creation.

Our team also meets with homeowners before closing to do a new home orientation and familiarize them with different features in the home, including recommended care and maintenance. These efforts lead to increased product lifetime and customer confidence for years to come.

How many years have you been in business?

This question might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a smart way to start because it can weed out inexperience quickly. Companies who are newer to the industry may be staffed by individual experts who just recently came together in business. But long-term builders often employ a more reliable and experienced labor force, too.

Weaver brings more than 40 years of generational expertise to the business, having built a reputation for quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and personalized service. We’re long-time members of the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Wayne & Holmes Counties, and have participated in the Parade of Homes for many years, as our founder, Ben Weaver, was a founding member of the local HBA. We also ventured into the central Ohio market in 2010 by building a Parade Home in New Albany.

Do you design floor plans in house or work with an architect?

Find out who actually designs your floor plan as this could mean additional time and/or money if it's not an in-house job. The floor plan is critical as it defines each room’s size and function. A seasoned builder will be able to craft a unique plan that suits your style and vision. Relying on an architect isn’t necessarily a sign that they are an unreliable builder, but it’s important to know who you’ll have to work with from the start.

At Weaver, we work as a team to collaborate with you to create a custom design to match your lifestyle and budget. Our in-house drafting and design team will prepare a preliminary floor plan incorporating all of the important design features from our initial discussions. Designing everything in-house allows for a quicker turn-around time.

What unique or special features have you created for past clients?

Building a custom home means everything is special and unique because it’s dreamed up by the client and designed to fit their lifestyle. Asking a builder this question will reveal if they have any unique designs or if their work is more “copy and paste.” It also shines a spotlight on the builder’s design savvy. If there’s a special feature you’re dying to include in your future build, ask them about how they’d approach it and what they recommend. If they can’t give even simple options, they might not have the true custom bandwidth to fulfill your needs.

Here are a few memorable creations we've brought to life for past clients:

Backyard Pavilion

Our team crafted this massive backyard pavilion for a client with big dreams for entertaining outdoors. The pavilion boasts a full kitchen, plenty of seating for party guests, concrete countertops, built-in lighting and TVs.

View the full backyard pavilion gallery.

Wine Storage

We've created a variety of wine storage solutions for our clients, including:

  • a rustic wine cellar with storage for more than 250 bottles
  • a butler’s pantry with storage and room to chill wine as well
  • kitchen island, wall insets and other cabinetry with built-in storage

View the full wine storage gallery.

Reclaimed Beams

We used beautiful reclaimed beams to frame a stairwell from the main living area down to the basement. It fits well with the stone fireplace, barn doors and wood floors nearby.

Two-story Deck with a View

We renovated a client’s backyard to create a unique, customized outdoor living area that maximized the view. The new exotic hardwood deck – with custom spiral staircase – curves around the rear of the home and has multiple seating areas for relaxing, grilling and dining.

ROI of Custom Home

The builder's reputation definitely can impact marketability in the future. That’s why it’s critical to ask the questions above and select your builder carefully. After that, ROI depends largely on these three major pillars of the project:

  1. Location. Before any foundation gets poured, put plenty of time and thought into selecting a location. When you build a custom home, you can build just about anywhere, so choose wisely! Is it a scenic neighborhood with spacious lots or a busy street? Do local schools have a strong rating and is the property near amenities, commercial areas, or any parks? Also be sure to test the soil for contaminants and for strength. Make sure to avoid anything hazardous (lead, arsenic, etc.) as well as weak soil that could majorly compact or settle after the build.
  2. Design. A well-designed floor plan always draws future buyers, and with those buyers comes maximized ROI. Open floor plans with plenty of natural light have been in demand for some time, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. Experienced builders will help you make the most of your square footage and avoid wasted space that may detract from the home’s value later.
  3. Finishes. Getting down to the details can be the hardest part of the build for homeowners. They’re making loads of decisions while balancing style and budget, and on top of that, they’ll have to consider if the materials could help prompt a sale in the future? That’s right. It’s a lot to weigh at once, but sticking to name brand faucets and cabinetry or with classic colors and/or patterns can bring broad appeal to future buyers. Weaver can help you avoid fading fads from Pinterest to keep the build feeling fresh for years to come.

Have More Questions? Contact Weaver Homes.

Now that you know what questions to ask, what are you waiting for? Contact Weaver today to find out how our process and reputation line up with your home-building dreams. Call our Design Center at 330-264-5444 and schedule a time to meet with us in person and gather inspiration, or contact us here. We look forward to meeting you soon.