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Questions You Always Wanted To Ask A Master Builder But Never Had The Chance

Building a house (or lots of them) seems to be an area of knowledge that is kept secret (insiders only), with clients kept in the dark and fed on expensive "cow dung."

A while ago I asked my US readers of my e-book, "Residential Development Made Easy" for questions they would like to ask a Master Builder.

I found a unique individual, Leonard Manion, who has been very generous with his time (he builds in 48 States) who gives answers straight from the shoulder with apologises to no one.

I must also say that few builders would spend the time to cater to these questions and answer so frankly.

Leonard answers are denoted by the ProCustom Home tag. I have kept the questioner's identity private, however the answer has been send to them by email.

Question 1.

My wife and I are planning a new small retirement home. We have in mind a couple of builders in this area, and I plan on asking him these questions.

My wife is very adept at planning and researching. Under what circumstances do you recommend we hire an architect? and Why or why not? (This is not a loaded question. I am not an architect and neither is my brother-in-law. We would prefer to build without hiring an architect.)

Master Builder Replies

This would depend upon your budget. Some architects charge as much as 10% of the budget of a home to do the plans. We don't like to place our clients into a position of hiring an architect until they really need one.

First, the loan, then the land, then the architect. In our case, we have in-house architects and structural engineers. We recommend our clients to hire a Interior Designer (ASID) and have them work with you to design the floor plan which is uniquely suited for how you and your family use space and the style you like.

Armed with the floor plan you would then send it to us and we would create your architect blueprints from it. Blueprints are part of the quote we provide our clients. This way they don't have sticker shock from a local architect.

Question 2.

How much price and quality research re materials can we expect our builder to do or to have done?

Master Builder Replies

This depends upon the builder you hire. For the most part, you can't expect too much. Most builders work in their comfort zone. With materials they're used to working with. They usually won't try something else unless insisted upon by the home buyer or developer. And, then they usually hire an outside source to do this.

In our case, we use current technology and one of the reasons why we are both profitable and successful is that we keep abreast to new technology and want our buyers and developers want in their homes.

Question 3.

Is it reasonable for us to ask our builder to identify his subcontractors and allow us to talk with the primary subs before we contract (and after)?

Master Builder Replies

It is reasonable, however, not very realistic. Subs come in and out of a job site. If one is not available another one is called in.

Instead, you may want to concentrate on ensuring the builder has the proper permits and insurance for building. Especially for workman's comp and for liability.

What few people realize is that they can be held accountable if the builder doesn't have the correct insurance. Let's say that a child comes on to the site after the builder has left. Decides to climb to the roof and jump. Guess who's liable? Check the references of others he's built for.

Question 4.

What do you, as the builder, expect the homeowner to do (other than to pay you as and when agreed).

Master Builder Replies

As the builder, we expect the home buyer to be reasonable and realistic in their expectations. We have made is easy as possible to work with us. We can provide financing required.

We can provide the Realtor to assist you to finding the ideal location. We can tell you the appraised value. And, we can help you find an Interior Designer to help you come up with a visual floor plan.

The biggest problems that most builders run into is when the home buyer to either change what has been agreed to or is unrealistic in what they want. This is why we have our home buyers sit down with an Interior Designer.

The ASID can sit down with you and help you visualize exactly what you want and help you make any compromises you may have to make.

It is very expensive for to make changes. Let's say that you wanted a 17x20 kitchen. Sounds like a big kitchen. Probably too big. However, once the cabinets and appliances start coming in you realize that it's too small and want the kitchen to be bigger.

This may cost you an extra $50k to make those changes. You can save yourself a small fortune by first working with ASID on floor space, storage, placement, design, and style.

Colm Dillon, $1.2 Billion Developer & Author of "Residential Development Made Easy," The Only E-book In The World That Teaches 'Individuals' How To Develop Residential Real Estate, Has Readers In All US States And 83 Other Countries Growing Their Wealth.

Learn More About What This "Guy Who's Done It" Has To Teach You On His 'No Padding' Web Site:

His Motto: Learn It The Right Way, The First Time

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