Willis Sinclair Homes
“The Lowcountry’s Premier Custom Home Builder”
Alice has been fighting leukemia for about 20 months now. When Gramma (aka Kandy) offered her a ride in her red convertible, Alice rushed inside to change and grab her purse. She was ready to go!
24 Gabriel Road
Lodge, South Carolina 29082
843 846 2500
From the desk
of Willis …
Happy Summer to you! It is now officially summertime and the heat has come to prove it. With heat indexes already up to 109° it makes outside work a bit more challenging. Working outside now is a bit like working inside of a Sauna with a huge skylight!
This month’s newsletter is about how to choose a good builder. Choosing the right builder for your house will ensure that you have a successful project that makes you happy and proud. We outline several attributes that we believe are important in choosing a builder. These are just a few of the many qualities that we personally try to maintain in our service to our clients.
While we outline several technical aspects of a good builder, there are other more personal aspects that I think should also be considered. Two questions that I feel are very important are why is the home builder in business and how long do they plan to stay in business?
There are a number of reasons why a person may become a home builder. Many do it for the money because home building can be quite lucrative. Others do it because it’s what they know how to do and so it becomes a default occupation. There are also those who inherited a family business and decided to follow in their family’s footsteps.
If someone were to ask me I would say that the previously mentioned reasons do apply to me to a certain extent. However, they are not my main reasons for being a home builder. My main reasons are my children. My goal is to build a business that has a place for each of them, if they should choose to join me.
So, to answer the question, “Why am I in the home building business?”, the answer is to provide a future for my children. To answer the question of how long I plan to stay in business, I would say indefinitely. As long as we have clients who value what we have to offer then I plan to be a home builder.
Because of the reasons above I take my job as a home builder very seriously. It is important to me that every job is built to last and that every customer is happy in the end. If we ever do a project for you and you aren’t 100% satisfied please let us know. We promise we will fix the problem if at all possible.
For the past couple of years my oldest sons, Henry and Jerry, have been coming to work periodically. This past Friday they cleaned, mowed and trimmed our newest job site. Within a couple hours they had the place ship-shape and were off to help on other projects. They enjoy coming to work, being productive and earning a little spending cash. It makes me happy to see them take an interest in the business at an early age. With a proper education and training I expect they will take the business to a whole new level that I cannot even imagine!
Building a home is a large expense and can be very stressful. You don’t want to make a mistake selecting a builder. Here are some tips you can use to select the best builder available.
A quality builder will provide realistic cost estimates for you if you ask. If you get a “$400 or $500 per square foot” be wary. Pricing a home is a lot of work and some builders don’t want to bother. A builder who will not price a home might be looking at you as an open checkbook. Be careful.
At Willis Sinclair, we will price your new home down to the penny (with allowances for flooring, cabinets and such) if you wish. We will also price any changes you may wish to make before you make them. We want you to be aware of the status of your home at all times.
A quality builder will provide frequent updates. There are times when not much is changing (waiting for permits to be issued, for example), but there are times when a lot is being done. We will provide you with an update frequently (usually daily). Our updates are normally done via email, so you get them quickly, but they don’t interrupt you like a phone call would.
A less than quality builder may be tempted to give glowing updates: “everything is going great!” A quality builder will give you specifics such as “the first floor is being sheathed.” At Willis Sinclair, we go a step farther: we provide many (probably over 1,000) photos during the construction process. You can see for yourself exactly what is being done.
A typical update photo showing foundation walls being built.
■ Is on Site Daily
Some builders try to juggle too many homes or stretch themselves too thin. They don’t give you frequent updates because they are not on the job and they don’t know exactly what is being done. We are on the job nearly every weekday when work is being done. We may leave to check on other jobs, but we are always available for subcontractor questions.
A quality builder will answer all of your questions and concerns quickly. Your emails, texts and phone calls should be returned within hours. We use mobile smart phones for communicating and will answer every call so long as we hear it ring. We respond to texts and emails quickly also.
A quality builder will also help you make decisions at your request. Obviously, he has built more houses than you have and he will often have suggestions. A quality builder will, however always let the home owner have the final say in any decision (unless it is a zoning or code issue).
Good subs are critical to your home construction. Some builders are slow to pay their subs and that can be a serious problem for a home owner. Excellent subs won’t work for slow paying builders, so if your builder is slow paying, it is very likely you will be stuck with not-so-good subs. If you select a slow paying builder, you could also wind up with liens on your property.
A quality builder will communicate with you in a channel comfortable to you. You should not have to learn any new skills just to get your builder’s messages. At Willis Sinclair, we prefer email because we can include photos, but we will communicate any way you wish. We also post photos with captions online so your friends and family can follow the construction anywhere in the world where the Internet is available.
Occasionally, a builder will not pay a sub and the sub will file a lien on your new home. It may even happen if there is a dispute between the sub and your builder. In order to prevent this, at Willis Sinclair, we obtain Lien Waivers from all of our subs when we pay them. This documents the subs were paid for their work and material.
One very good way to screen builders is to speak with others who have built a home in the area. Get their impressions. Be careful when you do this, however, because sometimes when a person has selected a less than quality builder, they won’t want to admit it or perhaps they don’t want any liability issues. Use discerning listening.
Important questions might be:
Did your builder keep you in the loop during construction?
Were you provided lien waivers?
How did the cost compare with your builder’s estimate?
How did the actual construction time compare to your builder’s estimate?
What sort of warranty did your builder provide?
Does your builder take care of small items?
How often did your builder give you updates?
Was your job site kept neat and clean during construction?
And, of course, the most important question:
Would you use this builder again?
Willis Sinclair Homes
Our goal is your complete satisfaction!
843 846 2500