This is an excerpt from Eric’s book “Building a Quality Custom Home.”
Whenever I visit a show home or walk clients through one of our homes, I am always trying to figure what they mean when they say, “Now this is a quality home.” How did they figure that out in just a few short moments inside the house? They did not see what type of heating system, insulation system, footings or framing techniques that were used. What they did see were the hardwood floors, cabinet styles, molding and overall style of the home.
There are two types of quality in a house: quality of the craftsmanship and quality of the features or materials.
When a builder says he builds a quality home, he is usually referring to how well the sticks and bricks have been put together. He may use better quality studs, stronger concrete, the best framing carpenter in the area, a more extensive paint process, or a more efficient heating and cooling system. Most custom builders pride themselves on these techniques and features and will not compromise quality. Essentially the builder chooses this level of quality.
When a customer says, “This is a quality custom home,” they are typically referring to the finish features of a home. Big elaborate moldings have a perception of a better quality than smaller amounts of moldings. If the house was done with one piece of crown molding, does that mean the builder is not a quality builder? Is the builder who used the large extensive crown moldings in all of the rooms better? Look at the craftsmanship of each product. Are the joints of the molding cut cleanly and squarely or sloppy? Are the mortar joints of the foundation sloppy?
In a custom home the customer decides what level of finishing features they want based on budget and need. Most people would agree that hardwood floors have a better quality than carpet. They are more durable and last longer; however they cost considerably more. The builder usually doesn’t mind which product you choose as long as he can install it in a quality manner and get paid for the additional expenses.
In a custom home, most all the finishing items are the customer’s choice. When interviewing a builder, be sure to find out if the builder will build the house you want, not the house he wants you to build for his own vanity. Some builders are reluctant to build with certain products because they think it reflects poorly on their quality image. Maybe that is not the right builder for you.
In the past I have been asked to build with certain products that I had a bad experience with. It was my job to educate my home buyer that although this product will save them money, it is not very durable and most likely I would have to repair it or even replace it within a the warranty period. I had to insist that I couldn’t use the product because of its poor performance.
Choose a builder that has the best quality craftsmanship along with the best quality features you have chosen within your budget. Communicate what features you desire so he may design a homebuilding process that fits your expectation of what a custom home is and still make it fit the frameworks of his firm.
The bottom line:
Quality-built homes contain both excellent craftsmanship and features.