custom home exterior

How to Spot a Great Custom Home Builder

When shopping for anything, we instinctively try to separate the good from the bad. Experience teaches us that cheaper is not always better, especially when making large purchases like a home or car.

But sometimes it seems we have little to go on besides price. With cars, you can read automotive experts’ opinions, browse websites for customer reviews, and look at frequency of repair records in Consumer Reports. Shopping for a home builder can be much more difficult, however, since there aren’t nearly as many studies, websites, and customers that help review and rank the quality of their work.

This is why we’ve taken some time to establish a list of things you can use to help qualify the homebuilders you’re researching for your new home. Follow this list and it will make choosing the best home builder a simple task and quite possibly save you some expensive headaches later on.

The Process

There are practical reasons why builders like to standardize where they can, but one-size-fits-all is fundamentally incompatible with the concept of a custom home. A great homebuilder will listen to your story, help figure out exactly what you’re looking for, and design and build the home that fits your needs.

If you want to use your own plans, build on your own lot, or even access your home during the construction process, you should have the freedom to do so. (Learn more about these possibilities on our New Home FAQ page.)

Ensure that your homebuilder is a great communicator, not only with you, but with subcontractors as well. Experienced homebuilders such as Norman Graham Builders have built solid relationships with subcontractors on previous jobs, and these harmonious relationships tend to provide better results.

References & Reviews

houzz rating

Independent reviews sites like houzz ensure you’re getting a realistic look of the business from previous clients. We’re grateful for our 4.8 stars!

One of the best ways to see what previous paying customers thought of a homebuilder is to browse independent review sites. Houzz, Facebook, and Google are all great places to start browsing reviews. A quality homebuilder like Norman Graham will be able to boast high marks, like our 5/5 on Facebook and 4.8/5 on houzz, and will also be able to provide references should you wish to reach out to previous clients. Pay special attention to whether ratings have recently dropped, which could be an indicator that the company recently changed hands, resulting in the quality of the work slipping.


When the homebuilder has submitted work to organizations that rate and review the quality of their work, how have they performed? Norman Graham lists some of our awards on our website, and as you can see in the footer, houzz awarded us with the ‘Best of houzz’ award in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

These are just a few of the ways to spot a great custom home builder. If you’d like to learn more, or are ready to get started building your own custom home, email us at or give us a call at 717-656-7336. We look forward to working with you!