What To Expect When Building A Custom Home

Through the years we have learned that it is important to set realistic expectations up front so that clients are not surprised by certain aspects of building a custom home they may not expect. There is a big difference between a custom home being built for the first time and a cookie-cutter production home that has been built many times.

Onsite Supervision

Tory will personally inspect the work done on your home, but I will not provide 100% onsite supervision. This is not required, but some clients have the impression that someone will be onsite all the time.


Building a custom home takes a lot of time on the part of the client. There are many selections and decisions that we will know about up front, but there will also be issues to address that were hard to envision up front. The more complicated and custom the home, the more potential for unexpected issues that have to be addressed on the spot.


We strive to build homes of excellent quality and at a level much higher than the typical production builder. With that said, we are very likely building a home that has never been built before with imperfect materials (sticks and bricks) by imperfect humans. There is no such thing as a perfect home and if there was, you would not be able to afford it.

Communication with Subs and Suppliers

We have a relatively transparent process and usually function very will as a team (builder, client, suppliers, and subcontractors). Many times clients go to showrooms and make selections with suppliers directly. We don’t discourage communication between a client and subcontractor or supplier.  Everyone knows that the client is the ultimate boss.  However, the client should not direct the activities of subcontractors while they are onsite working. This can leave the builder out of the loop and sometimes result in problems when the subcontractor or client may not fully understand how that specific subcontractor’s work affects something else in the home.

Changes, Mistakes, Errors, and Damage

There will be problems and mistakes.  Everyone working on your project is human and with the level of customization and complexity of most of our projects, there will be problems, mistakes, and errors. The builder’s goal is to catch errors as soon as possible and correct them. There will be many problems that you will never know about. However, there may be some you do see so by all means, bring them to our attention. It is very likely that someone will accidentally damage something and another subcontractor will have to be hired to repair the damage. For instance, try to carry a ladder through your home (down hallways and up and down stairs) without accidentally scratching a wall.


We are a small volume builder and all of our subcontractors and suppliers work for other builders. Sometimes schedules conflict with work going on for other builders and we have to wait on subcontractors to finish other work before they can get to our project. Weather compounds this problem. There will plenty of days where nothing happens on our project because we are simply waiting on a subcontractor. There will be times when we expect a task to take place on a certain day, but it will not. Subcontractors tend to be optimistic when estimating when they can start and finish a job. This means that many times we are operating on information that ends up being wrong with regard to scheduling. We prefer to use the subcontractor we want, rather than whoever is available.  Also, many times we are using special materials that need to be ordered.  We will be trying our best to order only what is needed so minimize waste.  This means that sometimes we miss the estimate on the low side and need to order more materials; which means we have to wait on the material to come in.


We probably provide more detailed information regarding budgeting than anyone. We like for clients to make as many selections up front as possible. The more selections that can be made up front, the fewer surprises there will be regarding budgets.  Having said that we can’t always predict the future costs of materials like concrete, lumber, drywall, etc.