I touched a little earlier on the need to look beyond just a builder’s price:
- What are the line item allowances
- What is the change order process
- How is the 1-year punch list process handled/managed?
In this day and age, especially with a tough market, some builders are trying to cut profit margins by pricing each job out with different suppliers and trade vendors. But what does that do to the overall loyalty and customer service for each client? More often than not, you hear horror stories from homeowners, both high and low-end, running into problems after they move into the house that they can’t get resolved. Our theory is that this is mainly due to a lack of mutual loyalty and respect between the builder and suppliers/trades. If the builder is shopping around and responding to the lowest vendor, what is the likelihood of that vendor being accessible - or even in business – in the year after the homeowners have moved in? We tell people all the time that the 1-year period after moving in as almost as important as the 6-month building process. I would suggest to any homeowner that they need to add the following questions to their qualifying process:
Do you use the same suppliers/trade vendors? How long have you worked with them?
What is the likelihood that they will still be in business the year after our house is built?
Are they local vendors to be able to service urgent needs - such as plumbing leaks or the AC going out in the middle of summer?
Are they accessible 24/7 vs. Mon-Fri, 9-5?
A benefit to using the same vendors, in addition to the accessibility they tend to offer during the 1-year punch list period, is that they tend to work well together and have open communication when building your home. This can minimize any “trade conflict” (such as low voltage interfering with high voltage wiring). All of these factors should be addressed when interviewing builders.
At Absolute Construction and Development, LLC we have used the same suppliers/trades since we started building in NC. We feel that by giving them our loyalty we in turn receive exceptional workmanship, customer service and the knowledge that they will go above and beyond to meet our expectations. There have been times where we’ve called one of them at 8:00pm on a Saturday and have had them at the home by 10:00am the very next day. You don’t get that kind of service and loyalty when you are constantly swapping out trade vendors.
“We were lucky: Our home building process went smoothly due to Lisa and Nelu’s amazing communication and attention to detail. Perhaps the most interactive portion of the process for us came after we moved in. The punch list seemed a little overwhelming at first but Lisa and Nelu really made it easy. All of the things that make them successful were so obvious to us while we worked together on the punch list. The first one wraps up all the details of the build and ensures that your brand new house is shiny and perfect. But, a lot happens in that first year of your new home – with each passing season, your home settles, swells and moves just a little – cabinet doors crack, hardwood floors separate and nail pops need fixed and repainted. Almost a year after you move in, you might expect your builder to care just a little less about your home but this couldn’t be further from the truth with Absolute Construction. Our happiness and satisfaction were just as important to them at that one year mark as it was when we were negotiating the contract. I think that’s amazing and I would recommend Absolute Construction to anyone.” Michael and Brianne K., Pittsboro, NC