There are tons of horror stories out there that people have from working with contractors and home builders. Sometimes it’s because of poor research, misaligned expectations, or someone just lying, most of the time though it comes down to communication. With communication comes its own set of problems. Building a custom home is a stressful and personal undertaking. Having a good relationship with your home builder will help ease the process and will likely result in better quality work. Here are a few etiquette tips on how to deal with and communicate with your custom home builder.
Respect work hours
The normal 9-5 hours might not completely apply but don’t call or text your home builder at 2 am. Ask them for their work hours and if you have any questions or concerns after those times you should email them. While your custom home builder is committed to your project, they’re also a human being with a life outside of their job. This project might be all you can think about but respect the work/life balance they have.
At a certain point, you will need to stop yourself from going on Pinterest and Instagram. These sites are full of great ideas but after a certain stage changing things around really isn’t feasible. Continuing to look will just make you wish you could continue to add and change.
Get everything in writing
Get everything that you want your home builder to complete in writing. In the end, this will save both of you from arguing about price and jobs completed. Make sure everything little thing is included too. Having a firm understanding of expectations, design choices, and job lists will help with communication and expected end results.
Communicate with visits
Any good custom home builder will encourage you to come see the project during its construction phases. You’ll read a lot of people telling you to randomly drop by to make sure work is getting done. While you can drive by and do this, don’t expect a full tour at random. Your home builder will be busy working. Call ahead and set up pre-arranged times. This way they can go through everything with you in details. Stopping by unannounced also poses safety and time issues.
Even if the most researched and well planned out projects by the most experienced builders will encounter delays. Whether or material deliveries are a few of the most common causes for delays. Letting a delay unravel you and send you into a panic is never helpful. Don’t blame your contract unless they made a blatant error. Expect delays and learn to cope with them. Most home builders will work hard to compensate for them but if you throw a fit they’ll probably be less inclined.
Don’t take your stress out on them
Custom home builders are used to absorbing some of the stress people are under during a build. Try to keep this at a minimum though. A slight tone is one thing, but a complete blowout is unacceptable. A home build is extremely stressful, but having a good working attitude with your home builder will make things go smoother. Taking your stress and frustration out on them will only make things worse.
Be on the same page
If you’re building a home with a significant other, make sure you two are on the same page. It even helps if you select one person as the designated contact person. Preferably pick the person who is available the most. Miscommunication and mistakes get made when you and your partner are telling your home builder different things.
Set reasonable response expectations
There are a lot of times during a project where you or your home builder will need a response quickly. Many aspects have strict deadlines. Before you begin, set up an ideal timeline and means of communication for these types of situations. But also set up a time frame for non-time sensitive questions or concerns. A day or two is normal. Both you and your builder will be busy. Don’t expect them to respond within an hour to a general question.
Tipping and gifts are nice but not necessary
People often stress about tipping or gift giving as a project begins to wrap up. Here’s the thing about tipping, it’s always nice but it isn’t necessary for a custom home project. There’s no set percentage so figuring out can be complicated. Some people like to give money, other’s gifts, some just throw a party for their builder and contractors at the end. If you feel they did excellent work and have a good relationship with them some gesture to show your appreciation is always great.