If there’s one point on which most home builders agree, it’s that the home buyer’s attitude and behavior are key factors in whether the home-building process will run smoothly or become a living nightmare for all concerned. Here are six tips for getting along well with the builder:

  1. Hire a qualified builder and work with him or her to assemble your home-building team. If the builder uses a site supervisor make sure you get to know him or her. Make sure that you agree on goals and communications. Getting involved and making good decisions will help make the home-building experience rewarding for you.
  2. Be realistic about your budget. Building a new home is unlike any other purchase you’ll ever make. Price is important, but it probably shouldn’t be the driving force in choosing a builder. Don’t attempt to build “more house” than you can afford. Having a budget that is inadequate for the home on the drawing board is an invitation to disaster. It’s wiser to cut back on the size, complexity, features or finishes for your new home than it is to stretch your financial resources beyond your comfort zone.
  3. Be prepared to get involved. Regardless of the type of contract that exists between you and the builder, having a new home built will require a substantial amount of your time and effort. Minimize your other commitments, projects and obligations to the greatest extent possible so you can concentrate on your new home.
  4. Communicate with the builder. Tell the builder what you’re thinking. If something is bothering you, talk about it with the builder. Don’t let your concerns, disappointments or gripes add up until you reach the boiling point.
  5. Control the urge to make changes once the plans and specifications for your home are completed. Nothing causes builders, subcontractors, suppliers and even buyers more grief than alterations. A seemingly insignificant modification can cost a significant amount of money and time. Small changes can ricochet through the home and later become major problems.
  6. Focus on the goal. Designing and building a custom home can be one of the most rewarding and profitable experiences of your life or it can be stressful and frustrating. Most builders are optimistic when discussing deadlines, be prepared for delays. They will happen and in many cases are not the builders fault. Educate and prepare yourself, cooperate with the builder and be patient.