How To Find a Luxury Custom Home Builder in Melbourne
It can be hard to choose whom to trust with your luxury custom home build project. Melbourne may be home to many of the country’s leading builders, but you want the perfect one for your project. And in some ways, being so spoiled for choice only makes the decision harder.
Here we share our advice on finding the right luxury custom builder for you and your new home. We explore the best places to look for a builder and how to come up with your shortlist. We also go over the checks you need to narrow down the possibilities and make your final choice.
Define your search criteria for your Luxury Custom Home Builder
Each luxury custom home builder will have a unique set of strengths, experience, and specialist skills. They will also have their own approach to delivering a project, including how they engage with the homeowner. As such, you want to find a builder whose working style and skill set will suit you and your project.
With that in mind, before starting your search, it is best to clarify what you are looking for. This means spending some time thinking about what your priorities are and what you are willing to compromise on. As part of this, we recommend considering how important the following criteria are to you:
Reputation: To some people, the prestige of the design and build team is part of the appeal of a luxury custom home. If this is true for you, focus your search on the most well-known and highly accoladed firms. If not, you can cast your net a little wider and base your decision on other factors.
Services offered: While most luxury custom home builders will offer an end-to-end service (design to delivery), some just specialise in the build component. If you are committed to using a specific design team, choosing a build-only company might be suitable. If not, an end-to-end service may help streamline the build process, making it smoother and more stress-free.
Design style: Most luxury custom home builders will specialise in – or at least have more experience with – certain architectural styles (French Provincial, Hamptons, etc.). As such, if you have a particular style in mind, this can help you narrow down your search. While not critical, choosing a builder who understands your preferred style should make both the design and build phases easier.
Price structure: Different luxury custom home builders will have different approaches to pricing and managing the build budget. For example, some will provide a fixed price for the build, whereas others will be a little more flexible. The best option for you will depend on the specifics of your build and the level of price certainty you would like.
Years of experience: Do you want a tried and tested builder with a long legacy of delivery? Or are you open to a less experienced builder who may be more innovative and open to new ideas? This is a matter of personal preference and will generally depend on your risk appetite and build plans.
Experience in the build location: It is generally recommended that you choose a builder who knows the area you are building in well. This should mean they understand the unique challenges of that location, including any potential local planning issues. However, depending on what you are planning to build and where, other factors may be more important to you.
Experience with specific materials: Are you considering featuring any non-standard building techniques or unique materials in your new home design? If so, you may need to find a builder who has the relevant specialist experience. Or, at the very least, a builder who is willing to find and engage the relevant specialist tradespeople.
Ask friends and family for recommendations
As with any service, the best endorsement for a luxury custom home builder will usually come from people you know and trust. So if you know someone that has built recently – and you like the work that was done – ask who they used. Also, ask them how they found the experience and if there is anything they would do differently.
If it all sounds good to you, ask for an introduction to the builder. This will give you an instant ‘in’ with the builder and a shared point of reference to base your conversation on. Also, many luxury custom home builders rely on referrals and reward previous clients who send new business their way.
Alternatively, if there is a builder you are considering, ask your network if they know anyone who has used them. This is a great way to get honest and unbiased feedback on what working with them will be like. It could also be an opportunity to check out the quality of their finishes and how well their work ages.
Look around the local area of a local custom home builder
If working with a local builder is a priority for you, check out who is already working in the neighbourhood. Most companies will put their branding on the temporary hoarding they put around the site during construction. As such, a quick drive around the surrounding streets should provide you with a few suggestions.
Pay particular attention to builds that are similar to what you are planning and note down who is managing them. You can then look these companies up online to get more information about who they are and what they do. This should also show you if the project you have seen is indicative of the work they usually do.
If there are no new houses being built in your area, you can also look at the recently built houses. If there is a nearby property you really like, you may be able to find out the builder’s details online. Or, if you are comfortable doing so, try to contact the homeowner and ask them about the build process.
Check customer reviews online
While most luxury custom builders will be more than willing to provide references, it pays to do your own research. This is because it is in the builder’s interest to curate the client feedback they share with you carefully. After all, they are trying to win your business, so they will want to put their best foot forward.
The good news is it has never been easier to find honest and unfiltered customer feedback. In fact, a quick Google search of any luxury custom builder should return at least a few reviews. Popular social media sites (like Facebook) can also be good for getting a better sense of a builder’s reputation.
That said, while online reviews can provide useful insight into the customer experience, you often need to take them with a grain of salt. They are generally not validated or moderated prior to publishing, so they are not always accurate. They can also be easily manipulated to unfairly promote one business over another – though this is not common for luxury custom home builders.
Peruse a potential builder’s portfolio
Every good luxury custom home builder should have a portfolio that shows off some of their best work. Often this is made available online and should give you a good sense of exactly what a builder can achieve. As such, it is worth checking this out when you are trying to choose which builder to sign with.
When looking through a builder’s portfolio, pay close attention to the fine details and general level of finish. Also, look out for projects that are like yours, either in layout or overall design style. Ideally, you would like to see a couple of properties with similarities to what you are planning.
This is also a great opportunity for you to get ideas for your own luxury custom home build. If there are certain features or inclusions you like, discuss with the builder about adding these to your design. And do not be afraid to ask whether you can inspect one of their previous projects to get a better feel for their work.
Arrange a ‘get to know you’ meeting
Getting from initial designs to final handover for a luxury custom home can take several years. And, if you choose a full-service builder, you will work with the same team throughout this whole process. With that in mind, it is important to choose a company you feel comfortable committing to long-term.
Having a good rapport with your main contacts is key to this and will make your build experience much more enjoyable. It should also make it easier to have the difficult conversations that will inevitably arise throughout the build.
The only way to check for this is to meet with the builders you are considering and see how you get along. The best luxury custom home builders understand this and will offer free consultation sessions to all prospective clients. This is an opportunity to get to know the people you would be working with and get their feedback on your plans.
Contact Carmel Homes
With over 30 years of experience, Carmel Homes is one of Melbourne’s leading luxury custom home builders. We pride ourselves on the quality of our finishes and are committed to creating bespoke spaces that are equally beautiful and liveable. For more information on our services or to set up your complimentary design consultation, contact our experienced team today.