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Frequently Asked Questions

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This area of our website is for those who realize that the only way to get the home they desire is to build a true custom home. We know from experience that building a custom home can be a pleasant and rewarding experience. Having a positive experience however depends on how well you do your initial "homework".

We are often asked the same questions about the building process. In this section of our web site we have attempted to answer the most frequently asked questions. We invite you to compare our answers to those of other builders. After all, building a custom home is not just a major financial decision, it is one that will involve your family and its lifestyle.

Before reading these questions, ask yourself what is your goal in building a custom home. We believe that what people really want is "value." Value in a custom home should not be confused solely with cost. “Value” in a custom home involves the correct blend of quality craftsmanship, personal service, and aggressive cost controls. This is the formula that The K.V. Sanders Company applies to all the custom homes it builds.

We are concerned about costs, but want a custom home because quality is very important. What is the best approach to achieving both goals?

I believe what most people are looking for is “value.” Value in a custom designed and built home should not be confused solely with cost. Cost is certainly one important element in producing value, but the other elements required are superior craftsmanship and personal service. When combined, these three elements, craftsmanship, personal service, and aggressive cost controls are the primary characteristics that will produce the “value” you will appreciate in your new home.

Are you truly a custom home builder?

Yes. The K.V. Sanders Company builds only custom homes and no two of them are alike. A custom home is a unique floor plan, elevation, and set of material specifications designed for a specific Client to meet their exact needs. Each of our plans is unique and will not be duplicated or slightly changed and built elsewhere. Any Builder who works from a pre-designed set of floor plans and elevations is not a custom home builder.

What is the "design/build" process of custom home construction?

Design/build is a construction process that evolved from the need for high quality construction standards at affordable construction costs and the desire for unique creative designs coupled with close personal service. Design/build is based on the team concept, which means that the principal players (Architect, Builder, Designer, and Lender) are selected and assembled at the start of the project and will work together taking the project from design, through construction, and up to completion. In this process, the Builder is certainly the most important member of the team and consequently his/her proper selection is critical to a successful project.

Why does the design/build process produce a better product?

Design/build works because the three most important people involved in the design and construction of your home are involved in the project from the beginning. To a Client this means a great deal more than just producing the home of their dreams. Design/build grew out of the need to find a way to build that maintains quality standards while ensuring rigorous budget control. In the Design/build environment the Architect and Designer serve to help the Client design a home that satisfies their dreams. The Builder certainly provides a significant source of product information and construction insight, but is most effective in his/her role of quality and cost control. Far too many homes are designed today and never built because actual construction costs far outweighed the construction budget.

Should I put my plan out to multiple Builders for competitive bids?

Competitive bidding no longer serves to ensure consistent quality at a fair price. Most jobs awarded in competitive bids are done so solely on the basis of the lowest price. While that sounds good to a potential Client, it has come to mean that these competitive bids are submitted with the absolute bare minimum standards to meet the limited specifications that might be printed on the building plans. Also, no attempt will be made in a competitive bid to point out or deal with expenses on those things which are not called out on the building plans but which all experienced bidders know will be needed to complete the project. These types of costs will show up later in the project as extras that are not noted on the plans. There is truth to the old expression "You get what you pay for".

How do I select a Custom Builder?

Selecting a Custom Builder is really not a difficult process; it merely requires a little time on the part of a Client. There are five basic things to look for in selecting a Builder:

  1. Personally interview 2 or 3 Builders whose expertise is in the price range in which you are building. There is no advantage to hiring someone whose specialty lies elsewhere. You wouldn't hire a Yugo mechanic to work on your Mercedes. During the interview ask such questions as what is the time to complete this house? If it happens too quickly, be suspicious! Who is your point of contact, the Builder or a construction superintendent? A true Custom Builder will work with the Client one-on-one. How many custom homes do you build each year? Custom home building is not a production environment. If the number is large, be concerned.
  2. Examine the Builder's reputation. Speak with sub-contractors and vendors whose products are evident in some of the Builder's current work, and talk to residents who live adjacent to sites where the Builder has done some work. Membership in a Builder's certification program speaks volumes about the quality of a Builder. Look for a "Certified Builder's Guild" membership as a stringent criteria for previous Client satisfaction.
  3. Visit a current job site to get a sense of the Builder's method of construction. Look at the quality of the material, examine the cleanliness of the work site, determine if building material is organized and protected from the elements, and observe if the people working on the site are organized and busy. These characteristics are a direct reflection of how the Builder operates and say much about the Company you are considering to build your home.
  4. Personal compatibility with your Custom Builder is a must. You will spend a significant amount of time during the course of the project with this individual, so pick someone you like and can communicate with easily.
  5. Finally, and this is the most important of the five, get some references from the Builders and talk to these people. These references will give you the most accurate picture of the nature of a Builder. It goes without saying that all Builders will put their best foot forward with their references, but surprisingly, (or maybe not!) some Builders may have no "good" references.

When interviewing past clients of a builder, what sort of questions should I ask?

The following is a list of questions you might want to ask past clients of a builder. Was your home finished on time and on budget, and if not, was the delay due to weather or extensive change orders? Was there a sense of integrity on the part of the builder? Would you build with this builder again, and what would you do differently? Was the builder accessible? Was the building experience generally fun, and are you happy with the quality of your home? Were any service items that may have appeared after you moved in corrected properly and in a timely fashion?


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