Building your dream home can be one of the most important and rewarding things that you do in life. Finding the perfect place to live and constructing a home that fits you perfectly can be a dream come true.

But the builder you choose can make or break you custom home project. There are many different custom home builders out there and not all of them will be the right fit for you.

There are several things you can do to prepare yourself and help narrow your options. So that you can make the best decision possible and ensure that you have a wonderful custom home building process.

We will teach you what you need to do to find the best custom home builder for you. Giving you the tools you need to build the home of your dreams.

Commit To Your Project

Before you begin your search for the perfect builder, make sure that you are 100% committed to your project.

Set your investment amount, ideal start and finish date, and create a must-have list of your expectations for the finished home. It’s also important to know the level of involvement you want in the project – whether you want the builder to select materials and finishes, or you want to make those decisions.

Before you put in too much time and effort, you will want to be sure that you are ready to build your dream home from start to finish.

Tip: If you have a tight budget, put your money towards quality materials rather than more square footage. It will pay in the long run.

Requirements To Look For

Finding the custom builder that is right for you rests on a lot of different details.

There are many important things to consider about the builder who you will be working with, including the following:

  • Experience & Credentials
  • Licenses & Insurance
  • Working with Allowances
  • Warranties Offered
  • Flexibility with Floor Plans
  • Specialty & Expertise
  • Awards & Recognition
  • Management & Team Support
  • Communication with Clients

All of these vary from builder to builder and can have a large impact on your custom home building process.

builder with blueprint shaking partner hand

Take Notes & Ask Questions

Start by compiling a list of local builders in your area. You can find custom builders on the HBA website, newspaper, or from local real estate agents.

Now, start your research. Luckily, several resources are available for you to find the answers you need.

Online Reviews & Research – Reviews are powerful and are noted to have a strong  influence on people’s buying decisions. Keep an eye out for positive comments that refer to the reliability, communication, and long-term satisfaction that past clients experienced.

Check the company’s website and social media sites to see their portfolios and read more about the company’s values. When a builder has an up-to-date website and is moderately active on social media, it’s a sign that they care about their business and are upstanding members of the building community.

Online research can help narrow down your list of local builders. Identifying the top rated companies that you’ll want to find out more about.

References – Don’t be afraid to ask builders for a list of references, they’re probably the best resource out there! The HBA may be able to connect you to references, as well.

Before reaching out to these people, prepare a list of questions you want to ask, and don’t forget to take notes!

  • Did the builder finish on time and on budget?
  • Were they knowledgeable and helpful in making decisions?
  • Was the quality of work and materials a priority?
  • Was there a relationship of trust and open line of communication?
  • If problems occurred, did they respond quickly?
  • Was it apparent that they work with a strong team?
  • Were the organized and timely?
  • Did they respect and understand your needs?
  • Did the builder have a vision for your home?
  • Overall, would you recommend this builder?


Inside View – After speaking with references, you might want to take it a step further and actually go to see their custom home, with their permission of course. Home Shows in your local area are also a good opportunity to see homes up close.

Making The Decision

You think you’ve found the builder that’s right for you, now what?

Contact the custom builder to get an estimate in writing that clearly outlines everything that will be achieved by the end of the project. Once you are given a contract, read it. It may be worth your time to go over it with a real estate lawyer so that you have a clear understanding of what can be expected.

Important things to look for include: dates, guarantees on estimates, performance goals, and warranties.

lamp exp

Working With Westlake Development

If you are looking for custom home builders in Portland Oregon, you will find that Westlake Development stands out above the rest.

We have a passion for improving our economy by adding to our local workforce, buying local, and building local.

Buying locally also has a positive impact on the environment as less energy is necessary to ship our products. Also, using local products ensures that the products are superior and manufactured in strict environmental conditions.

Gerald Rowlett, owner of Westlake Development Group LLC, is an advocate for his clients. He values the friendships that are formed throughout the custom building process and he begins every project by listening to the client’s needs. Fully understanding a client’s lifestyle so that he can build a home that is just for them.

“The builder should have a vision for the client’s home and be able to bring something more to the table than just building a house. I tell clients all the time, anyone could have built this house off of a plan – it’s really about a good relationship. It’s important for the client to feel really comfortable with the builder and for the builder to grasp how they live –  that’s when you can truly build a custom home for someone.” – Gerald Rowlett Westlake Development Group LLC