Read This Before You Find a Custom Home Builder


Finding a Custom Home Builder: What You Need to Know

Building, remodeling, or renovating a home is by far one of the biggest investments most people will ever make, and finding the right custom home builder is an essential first step toward success, no matter the size, scale, or location of your property.

You’ve also got to keep in mind that you’ll be working with these custom home builders for weeks if not months at a time. You’ll share your thoughts, opinions, and ideas on everything from furniture arrangement to paint color to any number of other common household facets. Make no mistake – this is very much a strong professional relationship you’ll be building together!

Just like in any other type of professional relationship, you want to make sure the people you’re working with throughout this period are trustworthy, competent, and easy to get along with. A lot of that starts with doing prior the proper research beforehand (i.e., deciding what sort of property you’re looking for, determining what sort of renovations you want to be made for that property, and so on).

Luxury Living Room

To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide for finding and choosing a custom home builder. It will help you know which steps to take and what questions to ask a builder when building a home, regardless of whether you’re looking for a brand new property or if you’re a current homeowner looking for home renovation or remodeling services.

Before You Start the Search for a Custom Home Builder

Before actually meeting with a custom home builder, there are a few key pieces of information you should seek out. Of course, you won’t need concrete answers to everything, but these things will help you know what to consider in advance of your meeting. This, in turn, will help steer the conversation in the right direction so you both can gain a better idea of what you want.

Some questions to ask before your first meeting with a custom home builder include:

  • Type of Property: Do you know for certain what sort of property you want to live in? Is it a condo or a house? If you’re not certain, don’t worry – part of a custom home builder’s job is to work with real estate agents and other professionals to identify what’s available, figure out where it’s located, and let you know what options you have to suit your custom home needs.
  • Services Required: What’s the extent of services that you’ll need to make your project a reality? For example, will you be moving into a new property entirely or simply seeking out select renovation and remodeling services for an existing one?
  • Finding Inspiration: What styles, concepts, decor, and other essential home aspects stand out to you as consider different properties and options? Which ones inspire you? If you can remember what they’re called for reference, or even bring in some examples to show off, it can really help steer the conversation in the right direction.


While doing as much research as possible beforehand is always recommended, a custom home builder who’s truly knowledgeable will still be able to help you figure out what you need to satisfy your unique preferences, regardless of how extensive your prior research is. However, that conversation will be vastly different depending on what types of services you’re seeking – in other words, what type of customer you are.

New Home Building From Scratch vs. Renovation & Remodeling

At Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc. the clients we work with typically fall into two distinct categories:

  • Customers looking to build a brand new home.
  • Homeowners looking for custom renovation or remodeling services for an existing property.


Depending on the category, there are a few specific considerations for you to take into account before meeting with a custom homebuilder:

Considerations for Customers Seeking to Build a New Home

  • Deal Breakers for New Homes: Do you have any new home deal breakers – and if so, what are they? In other words, what do you absolutely need in your new home that you simply can’t go without? If it’s a pool for the kids, then that will certainly narrow down your options and help your custom builders find a more appropriate property with a pool – or, on the other hand, it could also help them determine if the more pragmatic solution would be to simply renovate an existing property to include a pool.
  • Location Considerations for New Homes: Location is one of the most significant points of concern for new home buyers, and for good reason. After all, no matter what city you live in, there probably aren’t many vacant lots lying around just waiting for new construction in the heart of town square or many of the town’s other hot spots. As a result, there is often extensive work and research that has to be done to find a property that not only passes your initial deal-breaking criteria, but is also ideally located. Still, if you have an idea of where this location should be, then it becomes our task to handle the scouting to find a location that best suits your specifications – or finding a satisfactory alternative in the form of an existing property.
  • Size: Will you be living alone, or with a significant other? What about a family? If so, how big is your family, and how many bedrooms will you require in relation to square feet? Needless to say, size is another huge component of finding the ideal custom home, and it comes with its own extensive list of considerations. Thankfully, these are all things that we’ll also take into consideration when helping you plan and build your new dream property.


Outside shot of the front of a large house

Considerations for Homeowners Seeking Renovation & Remodeling Services

  • Location Considerations for Renovation & Remodeling Services: While building a new home certainly requires its own exhaustive list of considerations complications, so does renovation and remodeling – and many of these are highly specific and scenario-based. For example, say you want to add a new roof deck to your high-end condo located in the heart of Boston. This might be more difficult than you originally thought, and that’s because, in Boston, there are many legal considerations that go along with adding something like this to a property within the city limits, especially if you’re planning on adding it for the purpose of grilling out. Of course, most ordinary people wouldn’t have any way to know these things on their own, but a custom home builder would – which is why it’s also part of our job to steer customers through these tricky legal rules while also talking to and planning with the appropriate authorities and local HOA members. All of these extra steps are time-consuming and complex, but also necessary if you want to determine whether or not certain renovations can be done legally (which is important information to have!).
  • Where to Stay During the Renovation Process: Customers who are already living in a home that’s set to undergo refurbishing will need to consider where to stay (or even live) throughout the duration of this process. As your house or condo is taken apart and put back together during the renovation, it’s certainly a good idea – and our own personal recommendation – to consider staying elsewhere. After all, construction is an extremely noisy, lengthy, and relentless process that usually lasts weeks or even months. Therefore, having another place to stay – whether that be a hotel or even at a friend or family member’s place – is always a good idea if you’re planning a big remodeling or renovation. For example, you will need accommodations for at least three months to allow a good builder to complete a kitchen or bath renovation with custom finishes.


Regardless of whether you’re buying a new home or simply looking for specific renovations, at the end of the day, custom home building takes a lot of planning and consideration. Because of that, it’s incredibly important that you do your due diligence when working with a custom home builder.

The Many Benefits of Building a Custom Home: Quality Assurance, Inspection & Due Diligence

Obviously, no one wants to buy a home that comes packed with issues, so doing your due diligence is absolutely necessary – and when this inspection is carried out by a combo team of a custom home builder and a home inspector, you’re sure to find a lot more benefit. That’s because a typical inspector might identify some sort of issue, but they won’t necessarily act on the repairs. However, when you’re working with a custom home builder like Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc. you’re also working with a diverse team of architects, designers, and others from highly esteemed companies such as Studio DRAW, Hacin + Associates, and more.

Working with a custom home builder like Sleeping Dog will also help you avoid potential legal complications related to building or renovating a home in your local area – and this is arguably one of the biggest benefits of building a custom home with a seasoned custom home builder. Especially during the home-evaluation stage, being able to bring a diverse professional staff with extensive knowledge of both national and regional laws can work wonders for avoiding complications down the road, as well as to provide some welcome peace of mind during the entire home building, remodeling, and/or renovation processes.

wooden paneling kitchen fridge

Conversely, someone like a general contractor would have to hire out and contract these individuals for their services on a project-by-project basis, which almost always leads to increased costs and delays. This is especially true if you’re building a brand new home from scratch.

Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc.: The Go-to Boston Home Builders

In our personal experience, we find that most clients will generally have a general concept or idea of what they’re looking for in regards to buying a new property by the time they come to us. However, sometimes they don’t – and that’s perfectly fine, as we’re just as happy to guide them through the process to find a new home that can be customized to their exact specifications, or walk them through what renovations are possible to make their current home a “dream” home.

Office Entryway

We will also consult with you to determine how heavily involved you personally want to be throughout the construction, remodeling, or renovation processes. In addition, with our extensive team of external collaborators and in-house professionals on hand to help us complete any given project, the benefits of building a custom home with a custom home builder like SDP versus going to a general contractor are even more apparent. That’s because general contractors very often have to subcontract some, most, or even all of their work in what is almost always a very costly and time-consuming fashion. Plus, the smaller the contractor is, the less likely they’ll have the resources required to complete your project at all.

Meanwhile, Sleeping Dog’s comprehensive design-build construction approach is led by one entity from concept through completion, making the project as simple on you as possible. It’s this unique yet highly effective design-build approach that has made Sleeping Dog one of the best-reviewed New England home builders.

If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you, no matter what sort of construction work you need, please feel free to contact us today!


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