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  • Erin Farnsworth

What to Look for In Custom Home Builders in Los Angeles

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

The Los Angeles home market is ablaze with demand. Properties are being bought at exceptionally high prices, pushed by an extreme shortage. With a lack of availability making options scarce, many buyers are going the route of custom builds.

The numbers show that new construction in LA’s residential sector was up by 34% in the last six months of 2021. Instead of purchasing an existing home, numerous residents are choosing to build properties from scratch on empty lots.

This has become an attractive option even for those who have the budget to compete in this pressured market. Custom builds allow them to get an ideal home that meets all of their specifications, something that can be almost impossible to accomplish when hunting among real estate listings.

If you’ve found yourself considering the same path, the first order of business is finding a reliable building partner. But with so many companies vying for your attention, it can be difficult to determine who is best to work with.

Knowing the key criteria to look for in a custom home builder will make it far easier to narrow down your choice. Let’s go over the top factors and discuss why they are strong signifiers of builder quality.

Extensive Experience

One of the most basic requirements that should be met is having ample experience building custom residences, preferably in the area. You’re likely building a home you plan to live in for decades to come - it’s not the time to risk trusting a fledgling company. Builders who are new to the business are still figuring out their process, and they often don’t have the established connections and partnerships necessary to keep projects rolling smoothly.

When asking builders about their experience, don’t just take their word for it. Get proven evidence of their abilities and expertise. You’ll want to look for a robust portfolio of successful projects, ideally accompanied by descriptions detailing the work involved and the problems solved.

Reviewing case studies of past builds will give you a clear grasp of what types of homes the builder specializes in, and what level of results they consistently achieve. Additionally, these case studies can reveal what types of issues they have successfully navigated before, from terrain management and layout flow to daylight utilization and aesthetic cohesion.

Unique Expression

If you’re someone who places high value on the design of your living space, you’ll want to prioritize candidates who go beyond the standard home build. The ideal team will have their own artistic style that is expressed in each of their projects, giving homes a special character that can’t be found anywhere else.

Channeling individualism isn’t just important for the builder, it’s important for you as well. Designing your own home shouldn’t be a limited experience; you should have the freedom to explore new concepts and channel your personal aesthetic to a tee. The right builder will be able to help you attain any design goal, even the most Avant Garde.

Understanding of Regional Style

Los Angeles is home to some of the most iconic properties in the world. That’s because the area has its own characteristic style. LA’s signature design is fresh, hip, and luxurious, all while embodying the easy, laid-back lifestyle that defines Southern California. Homes here open themselves to the outdoors, making the most of the ample sunshine and pleasant weather.

Choosing a builder that understands how this style takes shape is critical in terms of your own enjoyment of the home, as well as the property’s value. Homes that fit in with the style of their region typically command higher selling prices than those that clash. Value also increases for homes built in certain architectural styles. It’s worth noting that your home’s design aesthetic impacts the value of your neighbor’s properties as well (and vice versa).

All these factors combine to underline the importance of finding a builder who is savvy to local architectural themes and their desirability in the market.

Dedicated Pre-Construction Process

This point is by and far one of the most essential, but it’s actually quite a rarity among builders of any type. Here at Farnsworth Builders, we follow a pre-construction process before actually beginning any site preparation or construction work. It has a dramatic effect on whether or not a project will unfold with minimal friction.

Pre-construction is the stage during which a builder will go through all the assessments and figuring necessary to prepare for and plan out the actual build. It’s this process that allows for challenges and solutions to be identified, and coordination to take place. Doing all of this before active work begins staves off complications, reduces risk of delays, and prevents mistakes from being made.

Green Building Options

Building with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind isn’t just a matter of environmental friendliness. It is also a boon for homeowners, as many green installations improve home performance. This translates to higher value in two ways: the first being a reduction in energy expenses, and the second being an increase in the home’s market pricing. Green-certified homes have excellent resale value in California, and their ROI is only expected to grow.

The ideal custom builder recognizes these benefits and ensures that their customers can enjoy them. Your chosen team should offer plenty of green building options for your home, from grey water recycling to hyper-efficient cooling systems. Should any installations require more complex planning, your builder should be able to offer the necessary engineering and subcontractor support.

Quality Subcontractor Partnerships

When it comes to subcontractors, things can get problematic without the right approach to management. While a custom home builder should ideally have a significant portion of their building crew hired in-house, they will also likely recruit the services of specialists for a few specific installations.

The subcontractors chosen for this work should have a proven reputation for quality and professionalism. Reviews and ratings should indicate that these subcontractors were chosen for their dependability, not cheap labor.

Clear Warranties

Warranties can be a big point of contention when building a new home. A builder may make vague promises that you are protected by comprehensive warranties, but if a major problem arises, they can claim a multitude of exemptions.

A builder with integrity will provide you with clear documentation of their company’s warranties and all of the stipulations entailed. They will also inform you of the state laws that provide you protection even without a contractor’s explicit warranty. This includes the “Right to Repair'' act, which specifies the type of work that is covered within certain periods of time.

Overall, a builder that meets the highest professional standards will do their best to educate you on your rights as a customer, and provide all of the information you need to resolve issues peacefully. Your interests are always put first, with a genuine commitment to making sure you receive fair treatment and quality service.

Valuable Testimonials

Positive testimonials are certainly reassuring to see. But mere praise doesn’t provide much insight into what you can expect from a builder. Ideally, their testimonials should cover the specifics of why each customer’s experience was so satisfying. Having this level of detail makes testimonials valuable sources of information about how the builder works, solves problems, and treats their clients.

When reviewing a company’s testimonials, look for mention of project timelines, material sourcing, complicated installations, attention to detail, and personal involvement of the team members. If customers have great things to say about how the builder performed in these domains, it’s a solid sign that you’ll be in good hands.

Los Angeles Residents Trust Farnsworth Builders

In the past 14 years, Farnsworth Builders has become a name known for immaculate and beautiful projects. Numerous residents have chosen us as the builder capable of meeting their exacting design goals while managing their projects smoothly and efficiently. We have established a reputation for creating visionary homes that offer the luxurious lifestyle expected of the city’s most desirable properties.

It’s not just our results that impress, it’s also our approach. We employ an intensive pre-construction process that irons out all project details before kickoff, from logistics and planning to final design choices. By going the extra mile to understand our clients’ needs, we’ve become known for highly personalized service rivaling the region’s best firms.

If you’re evaluating builder candidates for your custom home project, we invite you to reach out to us. When you call Farnsworth Builders, you get a team that will happily discuss your goals and what it will take to make them possible.

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