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Expert Tips on Custom-Home Building: An Interview with D.H. Badger of Badger Custom Homes

By D.H. Badger

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I started Badger Custom Homes in 2005 after working for a production builder in Austin for 8 years. New residential homes on our clients property is what we focus on, although I enjoy a spec home here and there when scheduling allows. I've truly been blessed with contractors that are top notch, and most of the guys on my job sites have been working for me for over 10 years. And several over 15 years! I'm lucky that I go to work every day and deal with people I consider friends.

What common misconceptions do many people have about building a custom home?

Lots of folks are overwhelmed by building a home designed for their specific lifestyle. So for my clients who are unsure of where to start, I like to walk them through two or three houses I've built and explain the feature differences while pointing out the consistent detail to finish out, no matter the product we use. The misconception is that you are starting from scratch when in reality we have streamlined the process.

How involved are you with the clients during the decision making process?

Once the plans are designed and financing is in place, I work closely with my clients choosing selections. Although basic decisions were made during the bidding process, we refine these ideas as the house takes shape. I'm there when flooring, lighting, and counters are chosen to make sure we get exactly what the client wants. Sometimes repeating a single sentence can change a selection drastically.

What is one of the most important things for future homeowners to consider before construction starts?

Be sure that your builder is including the level of materials that you want in your house. My estimates always include quality items such as Kitchen Aid appliances, eggshell paint, upgraded granite, and robust light fixture allowances. Building a custom home with a builder is not like buying a car from two different dealerships. There are a lot of variables and the cost benefit needs to be taken into consideration.

How do you balance what your clients want with what's possible and what you think is best for them?

Most of my clients are regular working class people that are easy to relate to. My motto is let's get the most bang for our buck. However I do deal with many clients that require highly upgraded items. I always give them my opinion and then let them make the decision that is right for them.

Do you have any tips to help make the home building process more enjoyable for people?

Find a builder that you can relate to and that will actually discuss options with you. I have gotten several jobs from the simple fact that I return phone calls. If someone is difficult to communicate with or does not follow up with you during initial communications, it probably won't change during the building process. Building a home is a very personal, human experience and your builder should be easily accessible.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

That's easy, when you call me you're talking to the secretary, the manager and the accounting department! I only have one phone number, it can be found at www.BadgerCustomHomes.com.

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