You’re searching for your new home, but not just any home. You’re looking to custom build. So how do you get ready for your first meeting with a home builder? Whether you’re just starting your journey or have an idea of what you’d like, let’s look at what you can do to make the process worthwhile and efficient.
When should I call a custom builder?
- You have a lot that is under contract. You may be working with an architect or draftsman at this point and might have finished plans. LaBram’s team will give you a quote so you know how your plans will price out. No plans yet? No worries: We can do the design-build for you.
- You own the home on a lot and plan on tearing it down. We’ll give you the information you can’t easily find online, like the accurate flood zone and how it will affect your costs.
- You’re actively searching for a lot. At this point, you haven’t settled on a lot, but you’re serious and need guidance on planning the house of your dreams.
A knowledgeable builder like LaBram will guide you on what you can build on that lot. You’ll know if your vision can be achieved on your property.
If you are still actively searching for a lot and need help finding the perfect one, we are experts in the Tampa Bay area and can connect you with a trusted realtor.
What do I bring to a meeting with a custom builder?
If you have any design ideas – or even a full design — bring those. Have your heart set on a style of home? Bring photos that have inspired you or a floor plan that you like.
Note: You can always call LaBram to find out if your plans and budget are in sync.
If you know the following, share them:
- Square footage
- Number of stories
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Plans for studies and offices
- Overall feel
- Where you want your master bedroom
What should I ask during my first meeting with a home builder?
Talking to a custom builder is your chance to see if you’re right for each other. The more you know about them and their experience, the more at ease you’ll be when signing a contract.
Some of the questions you can ask:
- What is the cost and timeline? A custom-build is costlier than a semi-custom project. Find out what they will charge and how long they expect the process to take.
- Are they a custom or a semi-custom builder? Semi-custom and custom homes aren’t the same. If you want a fully custom home, trust only someone with that specialty. Some semi-custom firms may try to get you to use their floor plan.
- Do they have experience in building the type of home you’re looking for? There’s a huge difference between building waterfront and elevated homes, and building a cookie-cutter home.
- What is their process like? Who’s on their support team? You want to know you you’ll be working with. Personalities and professionalism matter.
- What relationships do they have with their trade partners? How long have they been working with them? This will give you an idea of the quality and timeliness you can expect throughout the build.
- How many people will be working on your house on any given day? Other builders may not do any work on your home for weeks. At LaBram, we strive to make progress every single day. Even if you’re out of state, you can track your construction progress using our Buildertrend app.
IMPORTANT: Ask for references! Do they have houses you can drive by to look at? Any ongoing construction to walk through? Ask to see proof in their portfolio.
I’ve already purchased my lot. Now what?
If you have a lot under contract, there are steps you need to take — and that we can help with. We’ll talk about them during our initial design meeting, where we can cover:
- Lot survey. Bring a survey of your property and photos of the property if you have them. If you don’t have a survey, we will provide you with our surveyor’s contact information.
- Soil testing. We can help with this in a timely manner. Learn why soil testing matters.
- Design plans or examples that inspire you. It’s no problem if you don’t have plans yet. We’ll do the design for you and with you, while providing information on costs as we go through the design process. Our president, Elisa LaBram, is very involved with our clients and their designs.
What is it like to work with LaBram Homes?
At LaBram, we take a concierge approach to serving you. That means the kind of tailored service few others can deliver. With us, you get your own personal project manager, construction manager and your own interior designer.
Here are some topics you can expect us to discuss during our first meeting:
- What’s your timeline for starting construction? Are you ready to build or still in the research phase?
- Who’s the decision maker on your family’s side? This helps us know who has the final say for any questions we have about how to proceed with some part of the project.
- Are you in town? Because we focus on keeping you as involved as you want to be, this will help us schedule in-person or Zoom calls.
- What’s your lifestyle like? Tell us about your children, how you like to live, whether you spend a lot of time outside. Do you like to entertain guests? All this will let us know whether to suggest amenities like a mudroom and an outdoor kitchen.
Creating your custom home means a lot to you. And that’s why it means a lot to us. Call us at 727-245-0745, or fill out our online form to set up an introductory meeting. We look forward to learning about your vision and making it happen.