When you are building a custom home, you no doubt want to ensure you are getting a fair price. After all, the average price of a luxury custom home, built here in the Mid-Atlantic area, starts at about $1,000,000. But, the fact of the matter is, most reputable builders source from similar manufacturer’s and suppliers so, if you’re comparing apples to apples (and that’s a big IF), then the price between builders should be no more than 5-8% difference. So, if all that’s the case, how many builders should you get to price your custom home?
Many homeowners think they need to get bids from multiple builders. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but if you select a quality builder to start, the traditional bid process will reveal similar pricing across comparable builders and products. Therefore, we believe if price is relatively equal, you are better off ensuring that you have a great working relationship with the builder who you will partner with for the coming months/years.
There are some builders who will routinely bid on a set of designs in the hopes of getting the job. You may send your designs out to 10 builders, if you choose, but we feel that carefully selecting 2-3 builders is ideal. This allows you to do your homework – thoroughly research your builder and determine if you can build a good working relationship with them. It also allows your builder to focus on the complex estimating process specifically for projects that are most suited for them.
With over 30+ years of experience, we do not typically bid on projects where there are more than 2-3 other builders being considered. Why? It can take 30-60 hours to properly estimate one project. So, we try to focus our time, resources, and efforts on projects where the homeowner is educated on the building process and not just looking for a low-bidder. That’s not a win/win for us because that is likely to be an apples to oranges game of bidding.
Some clients just need to go through a rigorous process to feel as though they have received the best possible ‘deal’ on their custom home. Conversely, we feel as though the best building experiences are approached in much the same manner as you would select a doctor for an important surgery. You likely don’t want the cheapest doctor, you probably want the doctor who has the best reputation and a proven ability to provide your desired outcomes. That’s not typically a scenario most people consider awarding to the lowest bidder… and neither is a luxury custom home.
We suggest interviewing 2-3 builders and then selecting the one that you feel most aligned with – remember you’ll be living and working with them for the next year or more and you want it to be an enjoyable relationship. We’ve devoted much of our new book to the process of selecting a builder, bidding your project, and comparing apples to apples.
If you are thinking about building your once-in-a-lifetime custom luxury home, be sure to download our FREE ebook: “Designing & Building Your Custom Dream Home: How to Create an Experience You’ll Love to Remember” or visit our website at MuellerHomes.com
Ready to get started? Contact Mueller Homes today, and let’s talk!