Why Choose a Custom Home Builder in Perth?
March 29, 2023

How to Know the Best Custom Home Builders from the Worst

9 Red Flags to Beware of When Choosing Perth Custom Home Builder

Perth is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Australia, so it’s no surprise more and more people want to build custom homes here. 

Yet there are many traps you can fall into. And that’s why in this article we’re going to reveal…

How to Avoid Delays, Budget Blowout, Compromising on Your Vision, and Chasing Up Builders for Updates

1. How to tell if building a custom home is right for you

2. 10 things that can go terribly wrong if you select the wrong builder

3. 3 things you MUST DO when considering building a custom home

4. 5 elements to look out for when choosing a builder (if you want a dream client experience)

5. How to spot the difference between an inexperienced and a superior builder

6. The steps to take to ensure costings are accurate (so you get the best value for money and expectations in a custom home)

7. What the best builders will do prior to quoting (and the process they will follow before giving you an estimate)

8. The technology which allows you to follow the build in real time, so you know the moment there are any issues or delays

9.  The safest way to avoid a financially unstable builder

If you’re ready to get started building your dream custom home, this could be the most important message you ever read. 

Is A Custom Home Right For You?

In many cases, the answer is no. Building a custom home is best for those who either: 

  • Find value in good quality products and materials
  • Want to build their “forever home” based around the most up to date modern technology suited to their particular lifestyle.
  • Desire a home which looks amazing, is unique to them only, and differentiates itself from all the other houses in the street
  • Are looking for features and inclusions which no off-the-shelf product can provide

Yet you must choose the right builder because… 

If You Select the Wrong Builder, it Can Become a Nightmare

I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories. 

Make no mistake, selecting the wrong builder can cause undue stress, and result in a nightmare home build experience that impacts your family and finances for years to come. 

Here’s what to watch out for: 

    1. 1.Poor quality workmanship: When a home is not built to a high standard, you can be left despising the substandard workmanship. Or the fact features and inclusions which were specified haven’t been installed. Or that it doesn’t look anything like the plans and elevations you signed off on.  

    1.2.Not being finished on time: This can mean you’re paying thousands of dollars to rent elsewhere, and could even impact where your kids end up going to school if you’re renting in another area. 

    1.3.Continual time blowouts & delays: this makes it tough to plan, which causes stress, even amongst extended family members if you’ve moved in with them temporarily. You could end up having to cut corners when finishing selections, or be forced to move into an unfinished home with tradies finishing their jobs while you’re living there. Some people are even forced to find extra money during the build they have not planned for. 

    1.4.Variation blowouts: leading you to not complete the home sufficiently, due to exhaustion of money. Truth is, if things are scaled back at the end of the process, you’re not going to walk away happy.  

And if you end up being forced to take out a loan to pay for the “extras”, it    will mean you’re paying interest on it for years. 

    1.5.The builder going bankrupt and not finishing your home: potentially leading to a fire sale where kids are taken out of their schools, parents have to return to work, family breakdown and loss of their assets.

    1.6.The builder taking shortcuts: This is a problem because  it results in a lower quality home, as well as making it hard to resell – meaning you may be stuck in a home you don’t want to live in for years.

Builders also often guide you towards what’s easy for them, rather than   what you want – which can leave you with a home which is not unique, and   does not differentiate itself from the others in the street. 

    1.7.The builder rushing you: This often happens when they have too many projects on, and can lead to corners being cut, and cause you to make hurried decisions which you later regret. 

You’ll be surprised how many builders will try to talk you into a home which   is not right for YOU, but is right for THEM.

    1.8.The builder not having a consultative approach:  This leaves you in the dark, and can make it difficult to make informed decisions. Not being able to get hold of your builder is extremely frustrating – you should never have to chase your builder for information. 

 1.9.The builder not being available for questions & consultation: or not having the in-house team to hold your hand throughout the whole process leaving you with external design contractors to design and discuss details in your home at a premium cost – leading to frustration and stress.

     1. Not getting what you expect from your home build: such as features or inclusions that were specified, poor quality workmanship or an unfinished home.

So what’s the solution? 

When considering building a custom home it’s critical you:

     1. Know exactly what you’re looking for, including the building team you need to make it happen..

     2. Focus on your end result. 

     3. Choose a transparent builder you comfortably work well with to achieve your vision. 

You see, it’s not just about the company; consider the group of people you will be partnering with.

Ensure you see eye-to-eye, they understand you and communicate well, and hold the same level of passion as if they were building the home for themselves. 

This is critical because…

You’ll be entrusting your building team, and want to have confidence in your working relationship

You only get one chance to build a dream home in your ideal location, so it’s best to find an organisation with these elements:

  • History and track record
  • Innovation
  • Systems and procedures
  • Team
  • Passion and drive

It’s true – finding all that in one builder is no easy feat, but those companies who do manage to bring all these elements together do so for one simple reason: to create a dream client experience.

The choice is yours – you can choose a builder who after 2 meetings tells you they will whip up a design, give you a quote and can get started by next week.

Or you find a builder that has your best interests at heart. Who says:

“Slow down there’s a lot more here to consider to make sure this truly is your dream home and not just 80% of it”

  • This is our process step by step.
  • This is how we’re going to check in on the budget to make sure that we’re controlling the finances.
  • This is how we work on site.
  • This is our automation app that makes your life easier.
  • This is our team, the people behind the scenes bringing your unique home story to life, and their qualifications.

And these are the stages we’re going to go through. 

While some builders may try to seduce you with price and a simplistic approach, when it comes to custom home design there are no shortcuts.

The best builders are meticulous about their craft and refuse to compromise on quality

If the process were as simple as buying a new car from one of the big dealers, it would be a different story. You could simply visit 5 dealers, give them a list of options you’d like and haggle on price, because you’re getting the exact same product from the same manufacturer.

When it comes to building your dream home, the builder literally is your manufacturer – so it pays to do your due diligence thoroughly!

Key Takeaway: You really need to work through all your questions, trust who you’re working with, and do your research into the company and people whose hands will literally be birthing your dream home into existence.

Here’s Why The Building Process Matters

Getting the building process right is the most important factor to ensuring you get the luxury home you want. 

Different builders will have various methodologies but make no mistake, choosing a builder who is meticulous with their process and standards will pay dividends when you take the keys to your new home.

While most builders will base their approach off what worked for them when they built standard homes in the past, a good custom home builder will have…

An entirely bespoke approach with a heightened almost ‘sixth sense’ for attention to detail.

The process of designing and quoting a custom home build is vastly different from the industry standard of building off plan. 

With so many more layers and elements to consider, it’s important you work with a builder who has developed their own custom system based on years of experience and client feedback.

Poor quality builders will:

  • Have a loosely defined build process they follow
  • Give you a premature price to win the job before fleshing out the design to save themselves time and effort.

While a good quality builder will:

  • Execute the design of the home over 2 stages
  • Completely design and detail your ENTIRE home prior to providing a quotation, which is not in the financial interest of the builder. But in the best interest of your dream home.

It’s the only way to be certain you’re getting everything included in your home, for the price that’s been quoted.

Based on that clear and detailed plan, they’ll give you an itemised quote containing every single inclusion down to the smallest detail. 

It’s the only way to see exactly where every dollar is being spent, so you can adjust accordingly if you find your taste outstretches your budget. 

A builder worth their salt will even:

Ask for a detailed list of everything in  your wardrobe so they can design a space  that fits your lifestyle to perfection

Key takeaway: Ensure the interior is designed completely PRIOR to a quotation, along with a detailed and itemised price for every inclusion – it may take some time but will save you in the long term.

The Importance Of Systems & Procedures

Why is jumping into your car and putting the seatbelt on in the morning so important? 

It’s part of the process of travel that can ultimately save your life if there were an accident. 

It’s no different with the building process, systems and procedures not only keep you safe, but they protect the company also. 

So in order to protect yourself it’s critically important that you:

    1. 1. Ensure the builder has systems and procedures that safeguard you as the client. 

   2. 2. Ensure they offer a client portal to their project management system so you understand every step of the build at your fingertips.

It allows you to follow along with the build in real time so you know the moment there are any issues or delays, and can communicate openly with your builder at all times.

And remember – the safest way to avoid a builder going bust mid way through a build is to:

                                                         Work with builder who is able to have an open conversation on how their finances are managed and operated

Key takeaway: Without consistent repeatable procedures, the builder is running blind and can’t offer you any guarantees of quality control. It’s these tight-knit systems which will give the confidence you’ll get what you paid for. 

How to Ensure Your Costings Are Accurate To Get The Best Value For Money in a Custom Home

Once you’ve received a detailed fixed price for your home, reviewing the costs to ensure they are accurate, in line with your budget and balance your ideal inclusions is an important step. 

If you find the price seems high, to ensure you are getting everything you pay for, be sure to reverse engineer your estimate line by line and work with your builder to find opportunities to reduce costs. 

This sort of detail allows you to review all of your choices to see exactly where your dollar is being spent.

While a good builder will be able to provide an elemental breakdown of each line, unfortunately many builders will avoid this kind of transparency hoping you won’t notice so they can make extra money without justification for the product of the home.. 

It’s a sad and frustrating reality but it’s critically important to be aware.

What most consumers do not realise until it’s too late is reverse engineering the costing based on your completed design and a complete transparency of costs is not the norm in the industry.  

If once you’ve reviewed the quotation line by line, you find there are no areas you wish to compromise, then the price you are left with is simply what a custom home costs to build. 

Don’t forget this quotation is to build a dream home that will be in your family for potentially generations to come.  

Know Someone In The Trade?

A surefire sign of a questionable operator is a builder who won’t review trades, other than the ones they want you to use. With the potential for all kinds of kickbacks or under the table handshakes, it’s your hip pocket that will end up suffering.

The flexibility to consider and review trades people you suggest to get the job done because you have a personal relationship with them and want them to contribute to your home will not only make your life easier, but shows the openness and transparency of the builder you’re working with. 

Bear in mind the builder still has to make their margin on top in order to manage and execute those trades on your behalf (that’s how they earn their living) but often a good builder can find talented new tradespeople by trialling those recommended by their clients.

Key Takeaway: When weighing up your budget consider just how long your new custom home will be in the family and whether the short-term gain of tightening the purse strings is worth the long-term sacrifice.

2 Ways To Avoid Becoming Your Own Worst Enemy

#1 Not Being Able To Trust The Builder

It’s the basis for every building horror story that ends up on A Current Affair: the client thought they could trust the builder only to discover halfway through that it wasn’t the case.

Being skeptical is completely understandable and we encourage it. 

That’s why it’s so important to take things slowly and do your due diligence upfront – because distrust isn’t healthy for any relationship, and can cause the following issues:  

  • Constantly second-guessing yourself and seeking outside opinions slows the project to a snail pace and makes it difficult to get the best outcome.
  • You’ll end up with too many chefs in the kitchen, involving everyone you know to continuously give you validation and input.

The end result? A massive reduction in productivity, as you have to continually question the builder’s actions and motives, which ultimately costs you in the long run and robs you of an enjoyable experience.

#2 Constantly Second Guessing Your Budget

There are many reasons getting the budget right is so important, but sitting firmly at the top of that list is to avoid the stress of being overstretched. 

It can create huge strain on the client/builder relationship and turn an enjoyable experience sour quickly.

  • You’ll struggle to make decisions for fear doing the wrong thing financially
  • The entire process becomes stressful as you are constantly worried about the finances
  • You might feel too scared to ask questions for fear of looking ‘stingy’.
  • It can create unnecessary strain on the builder client relationship as resentment, stress and frustration build.
  • You can become frozen in the process creating a downward spiral as delays cause further cost blowouts.
  • Procrastination can set in because you’re unable to make effective decisions
  • It activates your ‘fight or flight’ response making you susceptible to irrational decision making

Bottom Line: If your judgement is being clouded by financial stress, beware of making the fundamental mistake of moving forward with the wrong builder based on what seems to be a ‘like-for-like’ lowball estimate.

We’ve just covered a vast amount of advice on situations you should avoid when choosing a builder. 

Everything from what can go wrong if you choose the wrong builder, whether or not custom is for you, ensuring your budget is accurate, the importance of systems and procedures and being able to monitor progress in real time… 

…To the 2 ways to avoid becoming your own worst enemy and creating a bad experience. 

Now that you’re equipped with what NOT to do, how on earth do you ensure you get the custom designed ‘forever home’ you always wanted without the headaches?

We’ve created the Perfect Custom Home Blueprint which delivers everything you need to do and know, in a step-by-step guide to getting your perfect custom home.

All you need to do is click below and tell us where to send your copy.