Jim and Linda were the kind of people who refuse to give up. Sometimes persistence is a good thing, but there are times when pushing too hard is unwise. This couple, for instance, were unwilling to listen to sound, professional advice. They forced their opinions and ideas on a builder— and it was like forcing a round peg into a square hole. It just didn’t work. Even when they realized they had received inaccurate advice from their designer about their homebuilding costs, they wouldn’t give up their dream.

So they began to shop in earnest for a builder who would build their home for the price they were told. Would Jim and Linda find a satisfactory and skilled homebuilder?

Maybe. But the builder they seemed to want—one who would be the answer to all their problems— would have been either a builder who was desperate for work or one who didn’t know how to price a home.

Finding a competent builder can be challenging, but when you know what to look for, you’ll get an accurate estimate and good advice. Many builders won’t (or don’t know how to) price a home while it’s still in the concept stage. If most builders can’t do this, it certainly makes sense that most designers can’t either. After all, designers are trained and skilled in designing and creating what they are asked to create. Homeowners who don’t have a good handle on pricing will tell the designer what they want and the designer will only do what he was retained to do. I’m not blaming designers for not knowing about estimating accurate costs; it’s not their area of expertise.

After dozens of exhausting interviews with many builders, Jim and Linda got their homebuilding costs down to a price that was only 20 or 30 percent less than the initial estimate—still well over their budget. But they didn’t want to give up their dream; they were willing to do anything to bring their dream to fruition.

At this point, Jim and Linda had some choices to make. Instead of cutting their losses and stopping the spending, they continued to pour more and more money into a project that wasn’t suitable.

There are plenty of potential homeowners who receive bad advice from a builder and find out one or two years later that their building project is a disaster. Sometimes they begin frantically calling reputable builders in the middle of a project, pleading for help because they finally realize they have relied on poor advice and ended up involved in a lawsuit with their builder.

Please don’t do this to yourself. Save yourself and your family the agony of lost time, lost dreams, or lawsuits. Life is too short. It’s not worth it.

Get good advice from a competent builder. Interview several first to determine the right one for you and your custom home project. A competent builder will explain the homebuilding process and all the steps along the way. He can guide you through the entire process so you feel confident and secure in your purchase decisions. His firm will have an excellent reputation and be up-to-date on building codes, land, and procedures. Check out the company’s references and previous projects completed.

The bottom line

Make sure you get good advice from a competent builder.