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Spokane Home Builder Manners
6 Manners You Should Expect from Your Spokane Home Builder

   Often home builders or remodelers will have something written up or a prepared speech to give their clients at the start of the process that is designed to get everyone on the same page. It is an orientation intended to set up guidelines of etiquette such as when it is O.K. to call or it might include tips like not talking on and on with the workers. It probably includes a rough time line and perhaps a list of small problems that may occur but need not be made into big ones. This kind of reality meeting can go a long ways in eliminating future frustrations and bringing expectations down to earth. Simply put, it is a pound of prevention.

   For the builder, it helps insure the freedom to run their business as they see fit. This is fair, since the builder is running a business. It is also beneficial to the customer, giving them a guide about how the builder expects them to interact.

   While the customer is usually not experienced with the custom building process, they also have the right to present the builder with their own set of guidelines designed to orientate the builder with what they expect from them during the building process. My list is the product of 40 years involvement in the home building field starting out as a young laborer for my contractor parents, then as a sub contractor and finally as a home builder for nearly 20 years. I've never seen a customer present such a guideline but I have always thought both parties would do well starting out with one.

1) Do not talk derogatorily about us to people in your office, your subs, the lenders or anyone else. The truth is that many people are difficult to work with and so it follows that people having their home built are often such types. Additionally, the home building process involves a lot of money, emotions and expectations on the part of the customers which can make even polite and reasonable people not so polite and reasonable.The thing I have seen over and over is builders putting a difficult client into their mental "These Guys Are Idiots" file and commence an ongoing dialogue with the office staff, their subs and anyone who will listen about how hard these customers are to work with. The builder is really being unprofessional and seeking sympathy rather than doing the work to figure out how to make the customer happy. If they only want to work for really nice people they need to move to Mayberry.

   Talking behind anyone's back at any time is unwise, but in the custom home process it is especially foolish because it creates negativity around a very important undertaking. The worst part is that builders, like every one, think they can get away with it when there is no way a customer will not pick up the negative attitude the builder has spread around concerning them during the long and socially intense building process.

2) We need constant updating, reassurance and edification. This really is not too much to ask from the builder. While the customer has to be reasonable and not call five times a day, they need to have questions answered. Often it is in the best interest of all concerned, like when the home owner spots a mistake that might be easy to fix the next day but very difficult after a week's progress. Good builders understand the customer has a huge stake in the project and should not be left in the dark. One suggestion is to use emails. They lend themselves to unintrusive and thought- out communication, and they leave a record as to what was actually said.

3) Answer your cell when we call or get back within 30 minutes. Everyone has caller I.D. and they know how to use it. Too often busy and somewhat rude people abuse it by using it to screen calls when they are not in the mood to talk to a particular person. It is fair to take a few minutes to listen to a message and then prepare for a conversation. The main thing is to be available and not evasive because this builds distrust and frustration.

 It is a good idea to set up times when calls are welcome, and only go outside of those parameters for emergencies. It also fair to have the office staff sometimes return calls when only a simple answer is required.

4) View us like they do at Sears or anywhere else I spend my money. The building process is very involved and drawn out, but basically it is the same as patronizing your favorite convenience store or grocery store. You do business there because you chose to and you get what you want and are treated with respect.

   If a builder is not professional, they often lose sight of the fact that they are in business to provide a service and that the customer chose them to provide it. This comes from the fact that building a home takes months and involves thousands of dollars and a million decisions. It is easy to lose sight of the simplicity of the relationship in such a complex undertaking.

5) Please don't roll your eyes when we ask dumb questions or want to make changes. The builder knows in advance the home owner is going hit him with lots of both. What you are asking for in advance is patience and forgiveness. In the first place, there really is no such thing as a dumb question and you certainly have as much right to ask whatever you want as anyone. In the second place, concerning changes, everyone has the right to change their mind about prior decisions. The key here is to understand they cost time and money, and are some times a pain in the rear. But as long as you are willing to pay for them, the builder should be politely accommodating.

6) I'll try to see your side if you try to see mine. This is really the key to working through the myriad of decisions and complications of the custom home building process. If you want to enjoy the experience and wind up with the home of your dreams then you have got to be mature and fair and pick a builder that will treat you the same.

   As you probably have surmised, the above list is really just common sense and common courtesy. It is simply following the Golden Rule or perhaps in this case,  the Golden Stanley 25- Foot Steel Tape. Most builders are professional enough and experienced enough to not need any such reminders. However, I am continually amazed at the number of  home builders that either load their plates too full and forget their manners or never learned any in the first place. Edit this list or add to it , but present some version of it at the beginning. If they react with an open mind, then stick with them. If they react defensively, then you know you have a problem.


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