Are you in the market to buy a new home? One of the first decisions you will face is whether to build a custom home or buy an existing one. It can seem impossible to find your 'dream home' when looking for a house, especially if you have a specific location and budget.
Consider various factors before deciding whether building a home is better than buying one. From price differences to customization, the advantages and disadvantages of building versus buying can help you determine which is right for you.
If you are on the fence, continue reading to simplify the home-buying decision.
Building a custom home makes you a member of the design and construction team. You will work with your custom home builder to make your home exactly how you want it to be. Because you're constructing the home from the ground up, you decide everything from the floor plan and features to flooring and colors.
On the other hand, the advantages of buying an existing home include:
Along with these benefits, let's discuss other factors that could affect your final decision.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average cost of a 2,600 sq. ft. custom home in 2019 was $485,128, while the median cost of an existing home was $309,800.
At first glance, it is easy to see the significant differences between each. However, building a custom home provides more price flexibility than most buyers realize. While the final cost per square foot depends on various factors like location, size, and custom features, you will have control to choose where you want to spend or save. Dennis Miller Homes, a custom home builder in St. George, Utah, provides you with a long-hand bid so you make design choices that fit your budget.
Another factor that will impact your budget is maintenance. Choosing to build a home is the best option for homeowners uninterested in DIY projects, hiring a contractor, or making frequent repairs. If you buy an existing home, try to factor in additional costs you will need to make after purchasing the home. Some of these might include installing a driveway, new roof or garage, landscaping, new appliances, and connecting utilities such as water or power.
There could also be hidden repair costs that you didn't catch before signing your contract. One way to avoid massive maintenance bills is to build a new home that uses the latest construction standards. Your Southern Utah custom home builder could also offer quality warranties to ensure your house has everything you need to feel 'at home.'
Buyers who purchase an existing home already have landscaping when they move in. If you don't have a specific look in mind, pre-existing landscaping is a bonus. However, new home buyers who prefer modern landscapes will need to do a lot of work to ensure their landscape is updated.
Buyers interested in building new homes in St. George, Utah, rely on Dennis Miller Homes. Our team will commit to capturing your vision and perfecting the homebuilding process along the way. We believe in honesty, communication, and caring about your experience. Having maintained the integrity of a family name for more than 35 years, we take the stress and frustration out of building custom homes. As the leading St. George custom home builder, Dennis Miller Homes is dedicated to you and your home every step of the way!
When you first start looking for a home, you will have a lot of questions to consider. What type of house would work best for my family? Where should we live? Is there a certain homebuilder that I should talk to before starting to look for a lot? Before long, you will have a million questions to answer and might become overwhelmed. Instead of adding more questions to a seemingly endless list, let's start with the most important—where should you build?
Settling on one location will help you not only answer where your family will live but other questions on your list, as well. In fact, all your long nights and time spent working on your new home could be for nothing if you don't choose the right place to buy your new home.
Fortunately, working with the custom home builders of St. George, Utah, you can discover why the city is one of the fastest-growing places in the country. The city boasts a whole lot more than what meets the eye. From its rich pioneer history, booming economy and being surrounded by many of the state's most beautiful trails and parks, St. George is the place to be.
Still don't believe us? Just ask any of the approximately 10,000 people who moved there over the last year.
St. George's massive increase of new residents took the city from 138,115 recorded residents in 2010 to 177,556 in 2020. But what is drawing all these homebuyers in southern Utah? Is it the booming economy, natural beauty, job opportunities, or growing infrastructure?
CNN awarded St. George among the top 100 Best Places to Live, praising its contrast of quiet seclusion and action sports against a backdrop of red canyon walls and Zion National Park's majestic mountains.
As positive reports flood in, new families continue to make their move to southern Utah. To ensure you make the right choice for your family, our St. George custom home builder reflects on all the many reasons why you should consider making the city your next stop on your home-buying journey.
Let's explore why St. George is the best place to buy a custom home.
Any of the country's top realtors can outline the criteria for selecting the ideal location for your new house. The main four factors to consider usually include:
Along with those factors, you should think about schooling options, job opportunities, and market value. St. George ticks all the right boxes and then some. Here are a few more reasons why this southern Utah town is one of the best places to build your new home in Utah.
St. George is a hot spot for action sports. Whether you enjoy boating on the weekends at Sand Hallow, rock climbing in Snow Canyon, or mountain biking, the growing city has all you need and more. Other sports are also available for you to enjoy, including golf, pickleball, swimming, hiking, running, soccer, and more.
Along with boasting beautiful locations for various sports, the town is also known for its local events. Tuacahn Amphitheater offers various productions throughout the year, including local arts and theater events.
On the weekends, many St. George homeowners drive a short distance to explore nearby national parks, like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and more. National monuments like the Grand Staircase in Escalante or Snow Canyon state park to enjoy when you are up for an adventure.
If that wasn't enough, you could visit the weekend art markets in the summer, as well as various retail shops throughout the city. Retailers range from thrift shops and local Native American goods to boutiques and popular brands.
Once you shop to your heart's content, head on over to one of St. George's many restaurants for a bite to eat, you can find any type of dining experience you want, from fast food to fine dining. Whatever you need—St. George has it.
If you want to live in an area that incorporates a healthy work-life balance, then St. George is for you. Many employers find unique ways of accommodating the city's laid-back lifestyle in the workplace. On the other hand, many homeowners work remotely, especially as businesses continue to follow the growing demands of the digital marketplace.
If you want to bring your dream business to life, St. George is also a great place to live. WalletHub released a report in 2021 ranking the small city among the best places to start a business in Utah.
The combination of affordable housing, low unemployment, and increased job opportunities. make this southern Utah city a top choice for young families and professionals who want to invest in the St. George real estate market.
Along with a healthy work-life balance and high employment, St. George is also extremely family-friendly. Many young families flock to this suburb thanks to high-rated public schools and nearby colleges. St. George is in the top half of places with the best public schools.
Along with several public schools, you can also find private and charter schools, depending on your educational needs. Once your child graduates, they won't need to move far to continue their education.
Located in the city's heart, Dixie State University offers six academic colleges, including Business, Education, the Arts, Technology, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Science, Engineering, and Technology. Students can also explore Dixie Technological College or Southern Utah University, located 40 minutes north of St. George.
The future of St. George looks bright, as well. As the city continues to grow, you can expect the state to put additional resources into St. George's schools and educational programs.
With year-round sunny weather, healthy cost of living, and welcoming culture, St. George is one of the best places to relocate when retiring. Retirees can slow down with the small-town feeling of security and comfort while still enjoying the attractions of a larger city.
The dry climate, blue skies, and about 300 days of warm weather also provide older generations with the sunny weather they enjoy in their twilight years.
Nature enthusiasts rejoice— St. George continues Utah's tradition of beautiful outdoor scenery and natural amenities. Washington county homeowners are within driving distance of top-rated golf resorts, lakes, trails, and plenty of places to enjoy activities while in the great outdoors. Not to mention St. George's near-perfect climate and temperature that allows homeowners to enjoy outdoor activities year-round.
Whether you are a mountain biker, runner, hiker, golfer, swimmer, or enjoy looking out your window to a beautiful view, St. George has it all. If that wasn't enough, waking up to the city's desert view won't hurt, either.
Every year the U.S. Census Bureau compiles data to show where people are moving to and away from understanding the latest nationwide trends. In 2020, the Bureau found that St. George, Utah, was the country's fifth fastest-growing metro region.
From 2010 to 2019, the metro region expanded by 29 percent, growing from 138,115 to 177,556 recorded residents.
This isn't the first time the city has been lauded for its explosive expansion. Between 2016 and 2017, St. George, Utah, was the country's fastest-growing metro region when its population climbed by 4% in a single year.
If you are interested in discovering what St. George has in store for your family, this growing city is a great choice. Our custom home builder has the tools, techniques, and one-on-one customization process you need to build your dream home.
Let our St. George builders guide you through every step of the home-building process, from lot selection to design and construction, to guarantee that every square foot looks how you envision.
Working with our team will ensure a beautiful, finished product and a memorable home construction experience. Together, we will handpick every aspect of your new home, assembling the puzzle pieces to create an environment that is uniquely yours.
If you are ready to build a home in your dream neighborhood, let the custom home builders at Dennis Miller Homes take care of the home building process. Our team has over 35 years of experience building homes in southern Utah, including St. George, Washington City, Santa Clara, and more.
Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe in the core values of any successful business: honesty, communication, and genuine care. We take the stress and anxiety out of house construction by maintaining the integrity of a family name for over 35 years. Dennis Miller Homes, the #1 custom house builder in St. George, is committed to you and your home every step of the way!
Allow us to put our experience and knowledge to the test as we design and build your dream custom home in the best location—St. George, Utah! Every customer has unique needs, and we have the experience and skills to meet yours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
For further information, please refer to R156-55a-302b. Qualifications for Licensure – Experience Requirements.
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.
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:
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.
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 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:
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.
Building a dream home takes a lot of work. Building one in St. George, Utah, requires the expert hands of a custom home builder. Right now, southern Utah is one of the leading places to build a new home.
The current housing market is expanding at an alarming rate, with buyers coming to St. George from all over the country. If you are looking into what is available, now is a great time to make your dreams come true with a custom home builder.
Custom homes are exactly what the name implies— custom. Custom home builders bring your dream home to life. Unlike tract or spec builders, who only have the capacity to allow a few personalized touches in a home's design, custom builders have the experience and options available to fulfill your every wish.
Everything from the location of your new home to the type of floor plan you use is up to you. Your southern Utah builder will work closely with you to take the vision you have in your head and translate it into a real-life masterpiece.
You can partner with a builder at any time during the beginning stages of the process before selecting a lot or after you hired an architect or designer. Then, once you purchase a lot, your builder and designer can work together to design plans that fit the lot and achieve your project goals.
While choosing the right custom home builder is an important step in the home building process, it can also feel like a daunting one. The experienced team at Dennis Miller Homes put together a guide to ensure that whichever decision you make is the right one.
Follow these steps to choose your St. George custom home builder confidently.
The first step to finding a home builder is by creating a list of potential builders. You can start your search by...
Once you have a list of prospective home builders, you can start narrowing down your options by reading client testimonials and reviews posted online. Reviews can give you a clearer understanding of how a home builder operates.
As you read, assess every review, whether it is good or bad. You can also contact any reviewers who left their information. Ask them about their experience and whether they would use the builder again.
Working off of your previous list, begin to reach out to custom home builders. You can start by submitting forms on the builder's website, contact page or placing a phone call directly.
In your first initial conversation, test the waters. Begin to understand how the builder communicates with their clients. Do they seem friendly? Do they have experience constructing the type of home you envision building?
It would help if you also asked about their current availability. Do they have a schedule opening that fits your timeline? How long does their typical home-building process take? If your timelines don't align, ask them for outside references that might. Or, if the builder seems to fit your criteria, arrange a time to meet face-to-face. We recommend meeting with two or three builders before settling on your top choice.
The first meeting with your future custom home builder is crucial. It will set the tone for your entire experience. Since the custom home building is a more intimate process, it will require extensive collaboration between you and your builder. You need to assess your compatibility with each candidate to determine which option is your best choice.
Remember— you can never ask a home builder too many questions. Communicate what you need and ask them for thorough answers. Get as many specifics as possible. Never hesitate to ask for further clarification. What seems insignificant might end up being an important detail to inform your final decision.
You can also ask prospective builders about their experience, whether by looking at their luxury home project gallery or visiting their recently built homes in person. As you look at previous builds, look at the quality of the work. Inspect the trim, carpeting, architectural features, and more.
Then, ask the builder for additional references and contact information. These references will provide honest insights to help you make your final choice.
In our How to Choose a Custom Home Builder blog post, we highlighted a few other questions you can ask previous clients when you contact them, including:
The most successful course for a St. George buyer building a custom home is to choose the builder you will be working with and work closely with them to acquire a lot and create a design to build their dream home. Luckily, after following all these steps, your final choice should have the experience, references, and compatibility you need to move forward with confidence.
Dennis Miller Homes is a premier home builder in St. George, Utah, with over 35 years of experience. We offer buyers the red carpet experience, from architectural design to the final walk-through. Our team is committed to quality work and an exceptional home-building process. Together, we can create a southern Utah home that is functional, affordable, and luxurious.
As a family-owned and business, we care about our clients. We are passionate and dedicated to creating amazing experiences. When you move in, you can expect to be excited about your home yet sad that the home-building experience is over.
Choose Dennis Miller Homes to ensure that you and your custom home matter. Trust us to deliver home-building services designed to meet your needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Right now, people are moving to St. George and surrounding areas at a rapid pace. The current real estate market is booming with many buyers and a low inventory of homes. Many buyers place bids on homes that aren’t quite what they had in mind but make plans to renovate. Others bid on their dream home, only to lose out to a more qualified buyer. Although the current housing market conditions can be frustrating, they can also motivate you to consider purchasing a lot and hiring a custom home builder to create the home that fits your lifestyle.
Building your dream home in St. George, Utah is an exciting prospect. Before building a custom home, you might curate inspiration boards, drive through neighborhoods to find potential lots, and daydream about open floor plans and beautiful interiors that cater to the lifestyle you want to live.
Working with a custom home builder not only ensures a beautiful end product but a memorable home building experience. You will handpick every detail of your new home, putting together the pieces of the puzzle that creates a space that is entirely your own.
Selecting the right custom home builder is an essential step in the home-building process. Custom home builders provide the tools, techniques, and experience that a home buyer needs to build their dream home. From lot selection to design to construction, custom home builders are involved in every phase of the home building process. To ensure that every square foot looks like you envision, you and your selected custom home builder must communicate effectively, share budget restrictions, and set realistic deadlines. An experienced custom home builder will be proactive and reactive to your needs throughout the home build.
To help you decide whether building a custom home is the right choice for you, Dennis Miller Homes curated the top benefits of working with our St. George home builders.
Unlike buying a pre-built home or working with other home builders that have little leeway in design styles, custom home builders offer total customization. Your options are endless and restricted only by your budget, your vision, building codes, and the lot’s parameters.
Your custom home builder will help you design a home down to the last nail. Do you like marble countertops or granite? Would you prefer a two-story home or a rambler? Will you build a casita on the side of your home for added square footage or keep everything connected in one space?
Together, you and your St. George home builder will choose the layout, exterior features, flooring, window treatments, lighting, and more. You can draw upon your builder’s experience in interior design and architecture to create a cohesive and pleasing layout that matches your aesthetic.
As Southern Utah's premier home builder for over 35 years, Dennis Miller Homes offers southern Utah homeowners a unique and personal experience with endless options and opportunities. Our team understands that the difference is in the details. It's our promise and commitment to deliver an exceptional custom home with an exceptional customer experience.
Since you have endless options when working with a custom home builder, you also get to choose where you build. You can select a lot from the curated list provided by your custom home builder, one you already own, or a lot that you find with your real estate agent.
Part of the Dennis Miller Homes process includes planning your land purchase and applying for required permits. Early on in the process, we will analyze your lot (or a future lot) and present you with the opportunities available.
As we go over your lot options, we will discuss your wants, needs, and dislikes as well as the square footage it will take for your family to live comfortably.
When you build a custom home, you are involved in all aspects of decision-making. Instead of buying a home with an old layout or a prefab home with a semi-custom design, a custom home gives you the control you need to maximize the functionality of your new space.
From open-concept living to individualized details, whichever home plan you design will focus on features that best fit your lifestyle and needs. It is your home-- why not be in charge of what you create?
As your St. George home builder, we will listen to your goals, hopes, and dreams while ensuring functionality. Do you need a large living room for entertaining but don't want to lose out in other areas? Let's design it. Our team will get creative to give you the dream home you want while ensuring the design works perfectly for you and your family. Whatever choices you make, Dennis Miller Homes will be on your side to make it happen.
Many people believe that building a custom home will drain their budget, which isn't necessarily true. Unlike other home types with fixed price tags, custom builds come with a custom budget. You decide what you spend your money on and how much is spent.
Fortunately, the home building market offers various products with a wide price range to select from. Communicate with your custom home builder to discuss where you want to spend your money and where you want to save. For example, you can minimize spending on lighting and window treatments to cover the costs of a luxury kitchen.
Dennis Miller Homes is committed to full transparency and doing our part to help you stay on budget. We bid your project "long-hand" so there are no surprises during construction. We help you navigate your budget by presenting you with several options in your price range and keep you in line when you choose to splurge to help you stay aware of how much you are spending.
When selecting a home builder, it's vital not only to find one that can capture your vision and execute it with exceptional craftsmanship but to provide the ultimate building experience. The home building process can be challenging, but having a builder that cares will go a long way. Choose a custom home builder that cares about building relationships.
Your custom home builder is there to help you create your dream home. If you feel that you are compromising on anything, work with your builder to get it right. Having open communication will ensure that every stage of the home building process goes flawlessly.
At Dennis Miller Homes, we keep our lines of communication open and honest. Doing so will build trust between our team and you. Together, we can create a rewarding home building experience.
Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe in the fundamental qualities of any good business: honesty, communication, and genuine care. Having maintained the integrity of a family name for more than 35 years, we take the stress and frustration out of the home building equation. As the leading St. George custom home builder, Dennis Miller Homes is dedicated to you and your home every step of the way!
Let us put our experience and knowledge to the test as we bring your dream home to life! Every client has different needs, and we are equipped and ready to meet yours by creating a home designed just for you.
People across the country are choosing the gorgeous locale of southern Utah to build their new custom home, and it’s easy to see why. Drive through scenic St. George, Utah, and you will quickly discover why the city is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States. With the juxtaposition of soaring red cliffs against the clear blue skies and pleasant weather year-round, this once sleepy retirement community has grown into a cultural mecca with plenty of outdoor amenities, fine restaurants, and entertainment venues.
St. George is frequently ranked as one of the most secure places to live, is one of the best small cities for careers, and was voted among the Best Places to Live in the United States by CNN. If St. George is your dream destination and it’s your goal to custom-build your new home, there are many Southern Utah home builders to choose from.
While there are some great home builders out there who can bring your dream home to life, some won't meet the mark. How do you choose the right home builder for you? To help narrow down your choices, Dennis Miller Homes has compiled a list of tips and questions to ask your prospective home builder.
A great home builder cares about your vision. Unlike buying a pre-built home, custom builds provide the absolute freedom to create the home you want. This customization process requires transparent communication between both parties. If you can't communicate your vision to your chosen builder clearly, then the entire home building process will be a struggle.
Look for a home builder who meets your standards and who communicates well. Do you feel confident in their ability to get the job done? Not only that, do they have a proven track record of satisfying their client base? They should provide a clear, well-written contract that outlines their deliverables, testimonies from happy clients, and a portfolio of homes they have built. Once you have vetted your home builder choices through those lenses, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your narrowed list.
Since the custom home building process is more extensive than other home construction projects, you will need to ask your prospective builder questions to understand their capabilities. They should provide clear answers to any questions you may have.
Remember — you can never ask too many questions. Building a custom home is likely the biggest investment you can make, so you must be continuously informed. Communicate what you need and expect thorough answers.
Here are a few questions that our team at Dennis Miller Homes suggests that you ask any home builder you approach:
Use these questions as the foundation of an open dialogue that ensures you choose the best custom builder to construct your St. George home.
In the age of online research, it is up to you to do your due diligence in researching your home builder. You can get a clear idea of how a builder handles the home building process by reading client testimonials posted online. Before meeting with a southern Utah home builder, scan their online reviews.
Reviews are a great way to get a sense of how a home builder operates. Consider every review, including the good and the bad. Bad reviews aren’t necessarily a deal breaker. Carefully read the review to see how the company handled their response.
Did they openly respond to the accusations or offer solutions? Assess their response to determine whether you feel comfortable trusting them with your new build. You can also bring up the review to the builder to ask how they rectified the situation.
Also, ask your prospective builder for a list of references. Contact these references to understand a builder's strengths and weaknesses. A few questions you can ask these references include:
These conversations, along with the online reviews, will give you a better idea of whether you should trust the builder to build your new dream home.
As you begin building your custom home, don't be afraid to communicate your concerns. Your custom home builder is there to help you create a home that ticks all the right boxes. If you feel that you are compromising on anything, bring it up with your builder sooner rather than later.
It’s important that you communicate your budget up front, for example. Let them know at what level you need to approve any expenditures over the project’s final estimate. Find out if you are your builder’s only client, or if the company has multiple projects in the works. Let your builder know if you plan to check on progress in-person, what communication and what rate of communication you expect, the best way to reach you and vice versa.
Finally, make sure you come to an agreement on the scope of the project. If you change your mind about a floor layout mid-way through the project, it may be too late to make significant changes without significant costs. Scope creep is a problem between clients and builders and having a discussion early on about how you will handle any changes to the final design is just as important as establishing your budget. Set expectations of deadlines and provide for small setbacks such as inclement weather.
Dennis Miller Homes is a trusted home builder offering the leading custom homes throughout St. George, Utah. Our family name has been synonymous with integrity for more than 35 years. We take pride in the quality of our work and strive to take stress and frustration out of the home building equation.
As a family-owned and business, we care about our clients. We are a passionate team dedicated to creating amazing experiences. When you move in, we want you to be excited about your home, yet sad that the home-building experience is over.
At Dennis Miller Homes, you and your custom home matter. Trust us to deliver home-building services designed to meet your needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
My wife and I are getting ready to move. When we try and formulate a strategy or even think about where to start, we feel overwhelmed. We have reached out to many friends and family to get their advice on the best way to approach the process. We received really good and practical advice that we are excited to implement. Because moving into a newly built custom home can sometimes be the hardest step in the entire process, I thought it would be a good idea to share the things we have learned.
The first piece of advice we received was to stick to small and medium-sized boxes. Intuitively, it would make sense to fit as many things in large-sized boxes to be efficient in the number of boxes used and the number of trips from the trailer into the house. However, for those doing the hauling, it’s much easier to move more small boxes with fewer things in them that fewer heavy boxes, even if it means more trips. Plus when you organize the trailer it’s much more convenient to have smaller boxes that you can twist and turn than large boxes that take up a lot of space.
Which leads to our next point.
For the sake of organization, it is wise to keep your brand of boxes uniform. Whether you get boxes from Home Depot, Lowe’s, or somewhere else do your best to have them all be from the same place. The different brands have slightly different sizing making staking an organizing tricky. Keeping the boxes uniform will make stacking much more simple and sturdy.
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of items that you having stuffed in the nooks and crannies of your home. When you go to move into your new custom home, you’ll be amazed how quickly the trailer or moving truck will fill up. Whether you rent a moving vehicle, borrow from a friend, or use your own, make sure you play it safe and overestimate the capacity you’ll need to get all of your belongings from one destination to the other.
One of the hardest parts about moving is keeping all of your boxes straight and making sure they are put in the right rooms at your custom home. In the chaos of moving, and with many people asking “where does this one go?” it is easy to get flustered. Having a labeling strategy makes all of the difference
We recommend writing on the top of boxes for your own personal reference. For example “Sally’s Shoes” or “Billy’s Books”. However, don’t stop the labeling there. Those labels alone will surely have people asking you the question we mentioned above. Instead, we recommend getting colored tape that you slap on the sides of your boxes that are coordinated with each room in the house. Red goes in the kitchen, green goes in the master bedroom, and so forth. That way, you tell people the color code once and everyone can help each other in remembered what color goes where.
Furthermore, putting the tape on the sides of the boxes will make it more visible for individuals taking the stacked boxes from the moving trailers.
In the moving process it is easy for fragile items to be damaged or even destroyed. No one wants that to happen. Protective moving materials becomes essential. Plan a few weeks ahead by getting free newspapers from grocery stores every time you go. Newspaper is great for protecting dishes and stuffing in glasses. Price shop for bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is great for wrapping family portraits and timeless keepsakes. Also, make sure you have plenty of moving blankets to protect furniture from getting scuffs and scratches.
By Far, the best advice we received was to warm up by playing the classic game of Tetris. After all, getting all of those odd shapes to fit snug into a moving truck is a talent in an of itself. What better way to practice packing than playing Tetris with family and friends?
As always, it’s important to remember to have fun. As stressful as moving can be, remember that the moving process is the culmination of your dreams of having a custom home coming to reality. Order some pizza, make up different contests for the movers, and create a memory. There is no better time to start making memories in your new home than move-in day.
For those of you who have been following our mini series, you know that we have been talking in depth about the building process and how to make it less stressful. We started talking about the perfect building site, then moved on to the creation process, highlighted the design phase, and finally talked about the bidding process. By putting extra effort upfront in each of those respective steps, the next stage in the custom home process will be much more enjoyable. Today we are talking about the construction process.
When you get the construction phase of building, the goal is to be able to go on autopilot. If you have done the preliminary steps the right way, especially the creation and design phases, you should be able to sit back and let the professionals do their thing. So, in giving tips for the construction phase, the best tip we could give is to go back to our recent articles and make sure you’re familiar with the preliminary steps of building a home.
However, there are unique opportunities that happen during the construction phase that we want to make you aware of. These opportunities will help you feel more apart of the building experience and ultimately make you love your house even more.
If you have gone through the right steps in selecting the right home builder, then we would advise in taking a laissez faire approach during the construction phase. The home builder is a professional and knows the necessary courses of action to ensure a gorgeous final product. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be completely hands off. As a matter of fact, we advise the opposite.
It is important that you schedule regular walk-throughs of the property where both you and your home builder can walk side by side throughout the property. This critical time will allow you to ask questions in regards to the progress of your home to the contractor while they are on-site. Also, this time will enable the contractor to ask clarifying questions to you ensuring that you are getting the product you want. Making sure these walkthroughs take place will speed up the building process and ensure that you and your professional are clearly communicating.
One thing we like to do here at Dennis Miller Homes is allow our clients to take part in the construction process. After all, this is the place you will call home. We want you to feel a connection to your house and start making memories the moment we break ground. There are a few parts of the building process that we feel are monumental and that we want you to take part in.
The first step of the actual building process is breaking ground to pour the foundation. You have seen ceremonies for large construction process where ribbons are cut and shovels go in the ground. Although your home won’t be a skyscraper in New York, it will be the place that houses your family and memories. Be the one to put the shovel in the ground first and start the building process.
The First Wall
Another monumental step of building house is putting up the walls. When the framed walls go up, the structure and personality of the home start to take shape. Come help our crews lift your first wall and experience something special. One of our previous customers left us a very thoughtful review highlighting how much that moment meant to them.
Paint seems to pull out the personality of the home owners. Once the walls are painted, a client will start to see some of their personal style infused within the home. Have some fun and help us roll on some paint for the wall of your choosing. Everytime you walk by that section of your home, you’ll remember that moment with fondness.
Rolling Out the Carpet
Rolling out carpet has always been a symbol that royalty has arrived or someone important has showed up. You will be the King and Queen of your home; therefore, you deserve the royal treatment. When it comes time to lay the carpet, assist our subcontractors by unraveling a roll of carpet or two.
Although you want your home to be perfect, make sure you enjoy the construction phase. Much like a kid growing up, before you know it the fun and excitement of watching your dream home come to life will be gone. Take part of those monumental moments of building a custom home and make sure you create memories long before you move in. After all, we aren’t just going to build you a home, we are here to create an experience for you and your loved ones.
We hope that all of you have been enjoying our mini series as much as we have enjoyed creating it. Building a custom home should be a an enjoyable experience and a process you remember with fondness. We hope that our first three articles provided you with tools that will help you conquer your next build. As a recap, we have talked about selecting a building site, the creation process, and the design phase; and we’re not done yet. Now it’s time to talk about obtaining a bid from your custom home builder.
One major thing we highlighted in our last article was how important it was that we have our architect in-house. Because we have our architect in-house, we’re able to make adjustments to a client’s floor plan without having to charge them for a redraft. That advantage becomes critical during the bidding process. If for some reason we came in a little too high or too low, we can always add or take away components to the plan.
When it comes to the actual process of bidding, we usually take one of two approaches with clients. We either bid out the project with our standard allowances, or we go with a customized approach.
The Standard allowance approach is what most home builders will use. It’s the industry standard, and pretty straight forward. That standard allowance process is where a builder will draw up a client’s plan, and then based off of that plan they will start bidding the house as if the client were to put the standard components in their home. As the building process occurs the builder will then send the customer to their preferred vendor, tell them what the bid allowance is, and then have them pick components (such as light fixtures or appliances) that fall within that allowance.
The advantage to the standard process is that it speeds up the bidding phase and gives the client a little more time on making a final decision on paint color, counter tops type, floor coloring, etc. However, the main disadvantage to this process comes when a certain product a client actually wants is not in the allowance budget.
We’ve heard stories of individuals who got a bid from their builder and thought they were getting a steal of a deal. The contractor gave them a price based off the builder’s “standard allowance”, the contract was sign, the customer was excited, and the building commenced. Unfortunately, when it came time for the customer to pick out the features they wanted, they realized that the bid they were quoted only allowed for features they absolutely did not want. The customer ends up having to file 5 or more change orders and that killer price that they thought they were getting starts to climb very rapidly.
Ultimately the customer is left dissatisfied.
While Dennis Miller Homes will certainly bid a home using the standard-allowance approach, we typically prefer clients to use a customized approach. When we build your home, especially a custom home, we want you to have the features and components you want. Therefore, rather than give you our allowances, we instead send you to four or five of our main suppliers and have you choose the features you want in your home first. After you’ve picked out what you would prefer to have in your home we then provide a bid.
We feel the main advantage to obtaining a bid this way is two fold. First, if for some reason the bid comes in higher than you like, we can start changing features in your home while keeping the ones you absolutely can not live without. Second, once the bid is finalized, few change orders will have to be processed and the price you received at the beginning will be very close to the price you actually pay. Overall, this creates a better experience for both you as the customer and us as the builder.
Remember, building a home needs to be fun. Most customers are surprised at what kind of features they can actually afford; so don’t be afraid to splurge a little. If you are quoted using the standard approach, make sure you understand what the standard allowance will get you. If at all possible try and use the customized approach. It will make your building experience a lot more enjoyable.
In this issue we dive into Step 3 of our building process mini-series; The Design Phase. The idea of this mini-series was to help prospective home builders find relief to the often stressful process. In the first issue we gave useful tips and tricks for selecting the perfect building site. In the following issue we outlined what we term the creation process, and how to organize your thoughts to ensure the endeavor flows smoothly. With today’s topic, the design phase, we feel we hit the core of why people get stressed out, especially during during the preliminary process, when building a home.
When we talk about the design phase, think floor plans. During this critical step we take all of the ideas and components that you have come up with in the creation process and start sketching and designing your home. We start with rough designs and continue to iron out the details one step at a time until we arrive at a plan that you feel is flawless. When talking about it, the process seems simple enough. However, it is during this time that people often become overwhelmed feeling like they have to get the process right the first time.
So what is the source of all of the anxiety?
When individuals build a custom home, they want to make sure the final product is perfect. Who wouldn’t? After all, the family will be living in that home for the next foreseeable future. Unfortunately, when a customer gets to the design phase, most custom home builders require customers to pay for a set of plans to be drafted. To compound the problem, there are often fees when the builder has to go back to the architect with any redrafting or changes. With that industry norm in mind, individuals feel pressured to get the house plan right the first time in order to avoid fees and unwanted costs.
Hence the anxiety and pressure.
One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Dennis Miller Homes is breaking industry norms. Custom home builders often charge customers to draft floor plans and make changes because… well… they too are getting charged. It’s not that they’re malicious and are trying to nickel and dime people, it’s simply business.
Lucky for us, we have arguably the best draftsman/architect in the area as part of our team. Because we draft all of our plans in-house, we don’t have to worry about being charged when customers need to make changes. Therefore, our customers are free to make tweaks and adjustments until their house plan is deemed perfect.
Recently, we had a customer tell us that they were charged more than $15,000 for drafting house plans! He couldn’t believe that we were doing all of it for free before he had even signed a contract. He felt so relieved that he could bounce ideas off of us and make adjustments ensuring his floor plan would be just right.
Why is our change in the process such a big deal?
The biggest advantage of this type of process is the stress-free environment customers now have when going through the design phase. There is no need to get they’re house plan perfect the first go around. Instead they can approach the design phase knowing that whatever they start with can be adjusted. This process also becomes an advantage when obtaining a bid.
(Spoiler alert! We’ll talk about the bidding phase next issue)
Now that you understand our process a little better and the pressure of getting the design perfect is gone, what is the best way to approach this step of the process? The first step is to bring all of the ideas from the creation phase to us. When we hear you talk about your dreams and desires, in our minds we will be piecing together a design and developing a rough sketch.
From there, we recommend taking a look at other floor plans and seeing different layouts. Like we mentioned in our last post, looking at other floor plans will help get your wheels turning. However, some people have a hard time visualizing how their house will be simply by looking at a floor plan. If you fall into this category, no problem. Come look at some of our previous projects and get real-life visuals. We love when clients walk through the homes we’re working on.
Once we start with a rough sketch, we’ll continue to tweak designs and make needed adjustments. Once you’re satisfied, it’s on to the bidding phase! At Dennis Miller Homes, we want to not only give you an outstanding product, but, like many of our past clients, we also want you to enjoy the journey. We feel that the flexibility of our design phase will leave you more than satisfied.