6 Questions to Ask Your St. George Home Builder

Building a custom home is exciting. You dreamed of this stage of life for years, packed your vision board full of ideas, and are ready to bring those visions to life. But making your dream home a reality takes more than adding items to your cart and waiting for the finished process. It requires an experienced builder who can walk you through the custom home building process.

How do you choose the right custom home builder for a project that is so close to home? St. George custom home builder, Dennis Miller Homes, breaks down all the top questions to ask when building your own home.

These questions include a wide range of topics to target areas that will impact your experience most, such as experience level, floor plans, cost, contingencies, licensing, references, and more. We will also discuss the steps to take when hiring a custom home builder.

To ensure you partner with the best custom home builder, here are six questions to ask and why they are important.

How Long Have You Been a Custom Home Builder?

Residential real estate might be all about location, location, location, but custom home building is all about the experience. It would be best to be confident in your home builder's abilities to build your dream home.

To help you gain that confidence, ask, "How long have you been a custom home builder in St. George (or the area you are hoping to build)?" This should be the first question you ask when vetting a custom home builder.

Knowing how long a custom home builder has been in business and their experience in the area will help you determine whether they have the skill and knowledge to build your new home. If your future builder has a history of building in Southern Utah, or St. George, Utah, you can leave your first meeting confident that they are well-versed in local regulations and zoning.

You will also have the reassurance that they have relationships with vendors throughout the area to source materials and fully bring your design to fruition.

Our team also recommends finding out if your custom home builder is a general contractor. Not all builders offer general contracting services. But it is often useful to partner with one who is both.

Do You Build from Existing Floor Plans or Is My Home Totally Customizable?

You'll want to know your builder's custom home building process. Just because a builder says he is a custom home builder doesn't always mean their process will meet your exact needs.

During your initial meeting with a prospective custom home builder, discuss their design process. Will you choose a custom home design from the builder's collection of existing floor plans? Or will they offer a custom home building process that makes your homes completely customizable?

 You won't need to write off a builder who allows you to customize existing floor plans. There might be a floor plan that you are willing to work with and make your own. However, a custom home builder should give you the freedom you need to build a home entirely from scratch.

At Dennis Miller Homes, we have everything you need to build a custom home tailored to your lifestyle. Our design + build services include a three-tier model that allows you to customize as much or as little as you need.

For instance, follow Tier 3 to create a one-of-a-kind floor plan with a team of luxury home builders, interior designers, architects, and more. If you don't need that many options, you can modify floor plans designed by another builder or select one from our stock portfolio.

Whichever process you prefer, have an open dialogue with your home builder to understand the design model you will follow when building your own home.

What Will Be the Final Cost of My Home?

One of the advantages of going custom is that you determine the cost of your home. As you vet custom home builders, discuss your budget. Does your builder believe they can build a home that matches your vision while sticking to the numbers you had in mind?

Hundreds of variables affect the final cost of a custom home, including location, design, time of year, the current market, and more. Talking with your custom home builder about cost will help you decide whether this path is right for you.

Dennis Miller Homes uses a long-hand bidding process to show buyers the approximate project costs before anyone signs any contracts. This bidding process will give you costs upfront to ensure you can design within your budget.

Then, as you make future design decisions, you can see whether items fit within the bid's allowances or if you need to adjust.

We (and our clients) prefer showing this cost transparency because it removes any of the usual guesswork and provides the best home-building experience possible.

How Will Contingencies Be Handled?

Along with discussing the budget, you will need to ask your builder about contingencies.

Recently, custom home builders are dealing with soaring lumber prices that are impacting the market more than many buyers realize.

If these problems arise, how will your future home builder handle them? What happens if there are cost overruns? Will they add surcharges to your bid or back out of your contract?

While you can't plan for everything, knowing how your builder plans to handle billing on the front end will ensure that you aren't surprised on the back of it.

What Licenses and Insurance Do You Have?

The State of Utah requires custom home builders to have a Utah contractor license. To receive a license, applicants must complete an approved education program, pass trade, and business law exams, and complete a license application packet.

Along with these requirements, custom home builders need a minimum of two years of full-time related experience. You will also want your home builder to carry insurance. Everyone who works on your project should have insurance coverage, including subcontractors. Then you won't be held liable if an accident occurs.

As you search for your St. George Custom Home Builder, look for the following licenses, accreditations, and insurance coverage:

  • Utah Contractor Licensing
  • Liability Insurance Coverage
  • Workers Compensation
  • Owner-Worker Compensation

For further information, please refer to R156-55a-302b. Qualifications for Licensure – Experience Requirements.

Who Are Your References, and Can I See Your Portfolio?

Another important thing to ask your home builder, to understand their experience and skill level, is to see their portfolio. Look at their website to check on photos of past projects. Look at this portfolio of properties and visit any in-person if you can.

You should also ask for references and phone numbers as you meet with them.

Don't be afraid to call these references and ask for more information. Check to see how the builder worked with these clients. Discuss communication styles, how they handled disputes if they lived up to promises, and any other question that might provide valuable insight.

It would help if you also asked whether the homeowners had any issues down the line with warranties, improper installation, poor materials, building, etc. If they did, how did your home builder handle it?

Along with talking to these references, look online for other client reviews. You can get a clear idea of how your home builders treat clients by reading online testimonials. These reviews are a great way to sense how a company operates before or after your initial consultation.

Take the time to consider a range of reviews, whether they are five-star ratings or reviews that are less than a rave. 

If you notice a particularly bad review, check to see if the company addressed the situation or did nothing to redeem it. If they openly respond to the client to offer solutions, you can rest easy knowing they care about every experience. 

You can also ask your home builder about any of the red flags you noticed while scanning reviews. This dialogue, along with reviews and references, will give you a good idea of how your custom home builder will operate as you build your own home. 

Browse our collection of St. George custom homes to see how Dennis Miller Homes can bring your dream home to life.

Other Question to Ask Your Future Home Builder

Custom homes are exactly what they sound like: they're one-of-a-kind. If you engage with a custom home builder, they are more likely to build a home that meets your exact specifications. Together, you will decide everything from the site of your new home to the floor plan. While custom homes take longer to build than other types of homes, the result is significantly superior.

Because custom house construction requires more involvement than other types of home construction, you'll want to be diligent in your search for a builder. Here are a few other questions to ask as you make your choice: 

  • Do you hire subcontractors?
  • How long will the project take?
  • Where do you build?
  • Will my home appraise higher than it costs to build?
  • Do custom elements increase home value?
  • Can you meet my expectations within my budget?
  • Do you offer financing services?
  • What makes you the best choice for building my home?

Asking these questions before signing with a home builder will build your confidence and ensure you pick the right team for the job. Use these questions as a starting point. 

Together, you can have an open conversation with your custom home builder that will guarantee you partner with the finest builder for your new St. George home.

No matter which custom home builder you enlist for your project, do your due diligence. A good custom home builder will offer insightful answers to all your questions, even if they aren't what you expect. They should also keep communication lines open to build trust with you as their future client. 

Steps to Take to Hire a St. George Custom Home Builder

Here's how to hire Dennis Miller Homes to build your next custom home. We're available to answer these questions and more. 

Dennis Miller Homes is Your St. George Custom Home Builder

Dennis Miller Homes believes in transparency through every step of the home building process.

From the very beginning, you can count on us. We care about your goals, your vision, and your expectations. 

Our custom home building process begins and ends with you. From the first meeting and design to the final walk-through and hand-off, we will be there to ensure that we meet all your needs. 

The Dennis Miller Homes custom home building process includes: 

  • Step One: Consultation & Setting Goals
  • Step Two: Solidifying Land & Service Proposal
  • Step Three: Design & Develop
  • Step Four: Bidding & Budget Review
  • Step Five: Build

As a team, we will do what it takes to make you feel comfortable with our partnership. Whether that means bringing in your own architect or turning to us for references, Dennis Miller Homes has what it takes to make your dream home perfect. 

We have over 35 years of experience building homes throughout St. George, Utah. From the newest lots in Bloomington Hills to Hurricane and more, the Dennis Miller Homes team has the skills, knowledge, and experience to build strong homes and even stronger relationships.

Put our hard work to the test — contact Dennis Miller Homes to begin the custom home building process. We will create a work of art that is all you envision and more. 

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