Forcing a Round Peg Into a Square Hole – Finding a Competent Builder
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
architect designer about their homebuilding costs, they wouldn’t give up
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 architect designers can’t either. After all, architect 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
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
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.