Working with a custom homebuilder can mean having the home of your dreams, with every detail of that home a perfect fit for your family's needs. You can also have a home that is different than the ones around you, so you avoid the "cookie cutter" look that is far too common in many neighbourhoods today. If you're thinking of working with a custom homebuilder, note a few commonly asked questions about the process, so you can ensure the work goes smoothly and you know what to expect along the way.
Should you buy the land first, or have home plans drawn up first?
Much of this depends on what's important to you, the house or the view. If you want a home that sits by a lake or one that is very close to your office in the city, you can certainly buy that lot first, but note that a builder may then need to make some concessions with the home design. For example, the soil near a lake may be very moist and soft, so that a two-story home may be too heavy, and you may need a ranch style house instead. Homes on city lots may be restricted as to their size.
On the other hand, if you're adamant about the style of home you want, talk to a builder first. Plans can be drawn up, and then he or she can work with you to find the right parcel of land on which to build.
Can a custom homebuilder offer every style of home?
A homebuilder works with home plans that tell him or her which materials to use, and how to build that home from the ground up. Those plans will dictate the features that you want for a certain style; for example, plans may include lots of wood trim for a craftsman style home, or a stucco roof for a Mediterranean look. If the builder is not familiar with such finishes and pieces, he or she will usually subcontract the work to a professional, who can create those finishing touches.
The only limitations you may then have with a certain style of home would be details that might interfere with its engineering, such as the two-story home built on soft soil mentioned above, or if you want so many large windows that adjustments need to be made to the home design so it's still structurally sound with all that glass. Your builder can discuss any needed changes to the overall home style to accommodate your most important needs.