The purpose of your custom home builder is to take your vision and make it a reality, but what do you do when you find yourself no longer in charge of your project at all? Navigating the relationship between a custom home builder and a homeowner can be a challenge, but with intention and care, you can create balance between the expertise and authority of your builder and your own hopes and desires. Here’s how to take charge of your home building project. 


Start on the Right Foot

Before you begin the custom home building process, set yourself up for success. Starting off on the right foot with your custom home builder can make all the difference in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Take charge of your custom home with these simple steps.


Choose Wisely

First and foremost, it’s important to put careful thought and attention into selecting your custom home builder. Choosing a team that’s irresponsible, inconsiderate, or inexperienced can lead to some major headaches down the road, so be sure to thoroughly vet your candidates. If you’re already working with a custom home builder and aren’t satisfied with your services, you’ll probably recognize some of these warning signs. With intention and diligence, you can work to prevent this undesirable situation.


Set Clear Expectations

Once you’ve chosen the home builder you’d like to work with, it’s necessary and prudent to set clear expectations. Even if your home builder is the best of the best, they certainly can’t read your mind! Before the process begins, determine a list of “must haves” for the build. This list should certainly detail specifications of the home design, but it’s also helpful to outline expectations for the process. Examples of this include “detailed monthly updates of the worksite” or “expenditure changes approved before implemented.” Homeowners desire varying degrees of involvement throughout the building process, so it’s important to communicate your expectations up front.


Meet Regularly

Once the process begins, continue to meet on a regular basis with your builder. This will look different for every situation, but regardless, work with your construction partner to set a meeting schedule before you even break ground. This will allow both parties to hold one another accountable; one to provide updates and the other to offer feedback. It’s possible to correct the course of your project at any point throughout the process, but only if everyone is engaged. Your builder can’t make adjustments if you aren’t willing to be an active participant, and you certainly can’t express your concerns if you aren’t equipped with regular updates. Meetings provide the consistency needed for a successful partnership between you and your builder. 



Reclaim the Driver’s Seat

If you’ve already begun the home building process and are struggling with an overbearing, absent, or distracted builder, you can still reclaim the driver’s seat. The point of working with a custom builder is to gain expert advice and service that you wouldn’t have on your own, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ultimately be making the decisions for your project. Here’s how to reclaim the driver’s seat during the home building process.


Provide Detailed Feedback

If you and your builder seem to be at odds with one another, address the situation with specific, detailed feedback. Schedule an in-person meeting with your home builder and share your concerns, expectations, and vision. Whenever possible, use clear examples of how things need to change. 

For example, 

When you made the call to select different flooring than we had originally discussed, it threw off our projected budget. From now on, any decisions like this need to be approved.


We haven’t met to discuss our home building project in more than two months. Let’s schedule a monthly meeting to review updates, even if it’s just via phone call.

While it may seem stuffy and formal, provide a written copy of everything you discuss so your expectations are clear and accessible at any time.


Ask Thorough Questions

You can’t fix what you don’t know. In an respectful manner, ask your builder thorough questions about the progress of your project. In an ideal situation, they would already be providing all of the information you need to know, but until that happens, you can take charge by reaching out. Take note of the mode of communication your builder responds to most often. Maybe phone calls always go to voicemail, but they reliably respond to email. Communicate in whatever way need to in order to confidently move forward with the project.


Communicate Efficiently

If you wanted to be a full-time home builder, you probably wouldn’t have hired one. Neither you nor your construction partner can afford constant or ineffective communication. Pestering or spamming your builder will likely have an adverse effect on your relationship, and it’s unlikely to get you the information you’re looking for. Make each point of communication as efficient as possible. Prepare the issues you’d like to discuss ahead of time so that your meetings, in person or over the phone, accomplish all that you need. When it comes to communication, choose quality over quantity.


If you’re looking for a reliable custom home builder in the Des Moines area, choose Homes by Brill. Our team of construction professionals will help you through every step of the custom home building process. Schedule a consultation and start making your dream home a reality!