I receive dozens of calls throughout the year from new home owners searching for advice on how to deal with builders who won't even return calls or show up after the sale to repair items on their new home.
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In all cases, my immediate (unvoiced) reaction as I listen is that they should have selected a builder with a better reputation. Too many home buyers, when looking to build "the right" new home, base their decisions first on location, then on price, then on a continuing list of factors, only considering the builder's reputation almost as an afterthought.
Service after the sale is what enhances the reputation and integrity of a builder and what ensures that he will continue in business. When a family first moves into a new home, they are preoccupied by all the tasks of making a house a home, hanging draperies, buying and arranging furniture and unpacking. Little deficiencies in the new home are ignored for the first several weeks.
As the new home fills up with personal belongings and a lived-in routine is established, those little problems-squeaky doors, loose knobs, dripping faucets- become more annoying. But it's crucial to remember that as an assemblage of thousands of mechanical parts, a new house always needs a "wearing-in period."
A reputable builder is aware that problems will appear and is concerned about addressing these to the satisfaction of himself and the client. Custom builders who have formed relationships with their customers will not allow a leaking faucet or an annoying squeak to tarnish his relationship. This custom builder's livelihood depends on keeping homeowners thrilled about the custom home specifically built for them.
Because of this relationship, a top-notch builder frequently will contact homeowners by phone, or even stop by the home to monitor changes in the house. The homeowner should be comfortable calling the builder directly if a troublesome situation unexpectedly arises. A good builder will evaluate the situation and come to the house that day or the next day to assess the problem himself. Owners may also compile a list of several deficiencies and send it to the builder, who will review the list, interpret what has happened, devise a plan for correction and arrange an on-site visit within two days.
Unlike many builders today, a true custom homebuilder relies solely on himself or herself to act immediately once notified of any problem in a home associated with their company's name. Service after the sale supports and strengthens the reputation of the builder and is an important element in custom home building.