I can usually tell whether someone’s been shopping for builders by the questions they ask.
One of the most common questions is, “What are your standard building specifications?” Now, typically when someone asks this they’re looking for a list of “standard” features so they can compare one builder to another.
I totally understand the question, but the right answer, in a lot of cases, is a little counter-intuitive.
At the risk of sounding like a smart aleck, let me ask you a question. What the heck is “standard” about the custom home you’d like to build?
If you wanted a “standard” home, there are plenty of houses in Edmond or Mustang where the houses are ten feet apart and all pretty much look the same. Isn’t that what you’re trying to get away from?
When a builder has a list of “standard” features, there are several possible reasons:
- He just likes to build that way, and you’re going to end up with a home that fits his preferences, not yours.
- He doesn’t know how to figure out the cost of a truly one-of-a-kind home and doesn’t want to budget for unfamiliar materials or features.
- He’s simply lazy and doesn’t want to take the time to figure out how to build the custom home you really want.
In addition to that, the “standard” features list is also what many builders try to use to differentiate themselves from the competition, throwing out technical terms like “anchor bolts,” “3500 psi concrete,” and “2×6 walls” that don’t really tell you anything about the quality of their work.
If that’s what a builder claims sets him above the rest, he doesn’t think you’re going to dig very deep in your comparisons.
When building a home on your land, you want to find a builder who specializes in custom, one-off home building—a builder who never builds the same home twice.
In order to build that way, a builder has to be extremely organized, with systems for designing, drafting, and cost-estimating, specifying every last detail. Is that difficult to do? Sure.
But with those robust systems, the builder can create the list of features that you want in your specific home, instead of just handing you a list of “standard” features. Standard features are for standard buyers.
If you dream of building your family’s home on your land, you’re not a standard buyer. You’re a person whose dreams and aspirations go way beyond standard.