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Finding the Right Builder

The decision to custom build a home can be both exciting and daunting. Whether you’ve ever custom built a home before or not, finding the right builder to partner with is a key to a successful build. So, among all the Kelowna home builders that are out there, how do you know which one is right for you?

Kelowna home builders

There are many great Kelowna home builders to choose from but finding the one who will be an ideal partner for your home build, requires some time and energy to ensure you’re engaging the right builder for you. Here are 3 steps to follow to help ensure you have an enjoyable and successful home building experience and avoid the all-too family construction horror stories.

Step One:

Timing is critical and the best time to engage your builder is before you begin the design phase or very soon after engaging an architect/designer. You will want to find a Kelowna home builder who has a proven track record for ensuring your home’s design and your desired budget stay aligned. A great builder will also assist with the following during the design stage:

  • Provide unique design ideas
  • Collaborate closely with the architect
  • Keep plan development on schedule
  • Provide valuable construction expertise & insight
  • Offer value-engineering and cost savings ideas
  • Mitigate potential constructability issues
  • Provide energy-efficiency home spec idea
  • Provide an initial estimate based on preliminary design drawings

Start your search by seeking out positive custom build referrals by talking to people you trust – friends, family, neighbours, and real estate professionals. These conversations may flush up a stellar Kelowna home builder or just help you to understand what builders to avoid.

If these conversations don’t uncover any superstars, a specific Google search can provide a starting point but be sure to be specific. Look to include key words such as “award-winning” and jot down a list of about half a dozen builders that you find. Be sure to check their Google reviews and eliminate any with negative reviews or rating and finalize a list of 2-3 choices.

Step Two:

Face to face meetings will be your next step. For the 2 or 3 builders you’ve narrowed your search down to, you’re going to want to schedule an in-person meeting with each builder as well as visit their showhome, if they have one, or request to visit a completed home they have built and/or a current job site.

Face to face meetings will let you understand the organization’s processes and systems, strength of their team, and relevant experience and give you first-hand knowledge of their communication style and the personality of the builder and their team. Visiting their showhome or a completed home, will allow you to see firsthand an example of the quality of construction and finishes in their home.

Questions to consider asking at these meetings could include:

  • How closely would you be working with my architect/designer?
  • Do you have experience building the style and quality of home that I want?
  • How do you make sure your estimates and budgets are accurate?
  • Do you provide interior design services for selecting my finishes?
  • How long does it take for you to produce an estimate for my home?
  • How are compensated for your services?
  • What types of contracts for your services do you offer?
  • Who will manage my build?
  • How will questions and concerns be addressed during construction?
  • How are change orders handled?
  • From beginning to end, how long do you anticipate the project will take?
  • What does your post construction customer service and warranty look like?
  • Can you provide me with 1-2 references?

Step Three:

Before entering into an agreement, ask your short-listed Kelowna home builders to provide you with examples of the types of contracts they offer. You will want the builder to be able to explain their contract options to you (ie., Fixed Price or Cost-Plus Contract are the two most typical contract structures) as well as present the pros and cons of each option. You will also want to understand what kinds of deposits and payment structures will be required.

If you take the time to work through all three of these steps, you’ll get a good sense of how you feel about each Kelowna home builder on your shortlist and how you think it would be to work with them. Building Okanagan custom home is a lengthy, detailed project and you want to feel really good about the builder you select as you’re going to spend a lot of time with them.

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Cheryl Fraser