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A modern custom home represents a significant financial and time investment. More than that – you are putting your faith in someone to create your living space for years to come. Therefore, when choosing a custom home builder, it is crucial to understand their operation, level of experience, and history in the marketplace.
To help you get started, here is a list of ten essential questions to include in your interviews with your potential home builder:
Hiring a custom home builder is similar to hiring a team of long-term employees. You should know what’s on their resume including their work history, skills, and years of experience.
In addition, a deep understanding of the local area can make a big difference in moving your project forward. It’s important for your builder to have an intimate understanding of local permitting and codes in order to complete your home without any red tape.
Clarum Homes has been building exceptional modern homes in Northern California since 1994. We understand the ins and outs of local codes and permitting processes, which allow us to move your project forward as quickly as possible.
Before you hire a contractor, ask if they can provide you with a fixed start date and a completion date — including major milestones along the way. Ideally, your contractor should be able to list dates within an overall timetable of the work, along with a comprehensive material list.
During the project, you’ll want the ability to check in regularly to see how everything’s coming along. Find out how the contractor plans on keeping you up-to-date, as well as how you can communicate any questions or concerns as the project progresses.
At Clarum Homes, we start the process with a thorough assessment and create a project calendar timeline, and our online project management tracking software allows the owner to view and monitor this calendar at any time.
Changes orders occur when any revisions are made to the initial construction specifications, which result in additional expenses or schedule overages. When you request a change to your specifications, your contractor will get pricing for these new components, occasionally stopping work on the project until the homeowner agrees to the additional cost.
As one of the biggest causes of friction between builders and their clients, it’s important to ask about a contractor’s change order process before making a hiring decision. Change orders can add to the time and expense of building, so be sure that this line of communication is clear and detailed in your contract.
Our goal at Clarum Homes is to avoid unnecessary change orders by thoroughly discussing the home building process and all the various options available for your home. By making sure our customers receive all necessary information from vendors during selection, we eliminate misunderstandings and help avoid any overages. Additionally, our online project management tracking software allows clients to see how changes will affect the bottom line with real-time project cost updates.
It’s important to ascertain during the course of the interview how the home builder plans on handling site supervision and subcontractors. It’s a good idea to find out whether the contractor has a work crew or intends to roll out a whole series of subcontractors.
Learn how much time the contractor will spend on your project each week versus their other jobs. How often will the contractor be on-site and who’ll be supervising during times when he or she isn’t there? A trustworthy and accountable presence should be on hand at all times.
Clarum Homes has a dedicated construction site supervisor who will send you regular progress reports on the construction process. In addition, you will have ongoing meetings with your project manager so you can have your questions answered as soon as they come up.
Each home builder has a philosophy when it comes to building homes – make sure you are in alignment with the company you hire.
Clarum Homes works to transform the way you live.
This means a relentless commitment to leading the way in modern home building innovation. It means blending unsurpassed energy-efficient technology and sustainable building materials with homes that are gorgeously designed, healthy for occupants, and amazingly comfortable.
It also means creating a building process that’s enjoyable for everyone who is involved. We bend over backwards to provide exceptional client service, ongoing communication, and great listening skills. From our project managers to our on-site clean-up crew, our team is fully engaged in the work. This transforms the entire building experience into one of engagement, excitement, and enthusiasm.
Home builders that specialize in building larger luxury homes may be overpriced if your dream home is a small cottage. On the other hand, if you have a builder that only builds smaller homes or specializes in interior renovations, they may be over their head with a large home. This mismatch may mean headaches for you down the road.
Clarum Homes has built over 1,000 eye-pleasing, high-performance homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, and other areas in Northern California. Our team has completed houses that fall into a variety of architectural styles and sizes.
Some home builders will try to cut costs by offering only select “cookie-cutter” designs and limited choices for personalization. While this approach may save you money, it greatly limits your options. If you want flexibility, be sure you select a custom home builder that offers you options to customize your architectural styles, footprint, and finishings.
The Clarum Homes team will work closely with you to build the modern home of your dreams regardless of the style or finishings. Our area of specialization is high-performance, energy efficient houses and passive homes.
This is an important question. Most construction today is rife with chemicals and toxins that pollute our indoor air quality and negatively impact our short- and long-term health. You are investing in a structure in which you will be spending great periods of time, and it’s critical that the air that you are breathing in your home is of the highest quality possible.
If you want a healthy, eco-friendly home, make that clear from the moment you first interview a home builder. Ask if any of the crew has received green building training or certification.
When Clarum builds a home, we eliminate toxic chemicals used in the building process by:
Our attention to these details means a home that has less dust, lower pollutants, and is more comfortable and healthier for you and your family.
The builder should be able to show you all of these items. Working with an unlicensed builder or contractor is done at your own risk! And, just because a builder has a license doesn’t mean that the company and its workers are insured against injuries, job site accidents, storm damage, or other unforeseen hazards. Ask the builders you interview to see their certificates showing that they are up to date and fully covered with liability and damage insurance, as well as workers’ compensation. Also, ask for the specifics of a company’s home warranty – what is covered and what isn’t – and if you feel at all confused about the warranty terms, bring it to a qualified attorney for review.
Yes we do, and we’re happy to show you. In fact, all of those details will be provided in our contract with you – including our warranty guarantee. We warranty all of our new home construction against defects, faulty material, and/or workmanship.
Simply discussing your project at length is no guarantee of results. You don’t want to accept a verbal bid and then end up in a situation in which the contractor tells you, “That’s not what I said.” In the contract, have all of the above questions answered, and the details of the project carefully spelled out. For instance:
Clarum Homes provides a detailed contract to each one of our clients that explicitly details all of the above items. We want to ensure that we all parties involved have crystal clarity as to the specifications of the project. Our team schedules a specific meeting with each client to review and discuss the contract. During that time, we encourage our clients to ask lots of questions to ensure that they understand each component of their construction.
We hope these questions are helpful in your search for a home builder. If you ask these of each home builder you interview, you will have a much clearer understanding of which company is the best fit for building your new custom home.
Interested in learning more about Clarum’s answer to each of these questions, and how we can help you build the modern home of your dreams? Call 650.322.7069, or fill out our Contact Form.