Internet Reality Check for Custom Home Builders

February 2, 2021

Avoid the most common mistakes when searching for home building ideas on the web!

We all love the internet. It’s a bottomless source of ideas and inspiration for any project, and most people wouldn’t think of starting a new custom home before spending some serious time online. The internet is also a valuable resource for builders: it’s where we start our research into new products, technologies, and construction methods.

Despite the wealth of knowledge it offers, the internet provides its best value when you keep its limitations in mind and work with your builder to thoroughly vet that knowledge. A little skepticism will go a long way toward making your search results truly helpful.

The most common problem we see with online information is that it lacks needed context.

Take design, for instance. Pinterest is the go-to for design ideas, and they’re really are some great ideas there. Have you seen our amazing Pins? The challenge is that most photos of architectural details only show the result. They don’t tell you how much effort those details took to create, what unseen elements (structural blocking, for instance) were needed to support them, or what specific products and materials were used.

What about manufactured products? That new mechanical or electronic system may have a great sales page, but the skilled labor needed to install and service it may not be available in your area. Even with something simple, like a high-end soaking tub, the builder must make sure the local distributor carries it. Maybe it is readily available but only as a special order that takes too much time to get and has an unacceptably high price.

Home performance is another topic that can trip people up. That super-high R-value insulation that appeared in a paid link at the top of your search results offers impressive performance. Still, it might be overkill for the local climate, making the extra cost unnecessary.

Or take the person who worries about condensation and, after reading about it on the web, wants to talk with the builder about wall vapor barriers. It’s a valid concern, but not all structures need a vapor barrier, and its proper place in the wall depends on the climate and the type of construction. Heat and moisture movement are complex subjects, given today’s building products and methods.

That’s why cutting-edge builders seek building science education to ensure that they are handled correctly.

Some clients come to the table armed with the advice they have found about hiring a builder and getting the best price. Much of the online advice about these topics is overly generic and contrary to what experience tells us makes for a delighted client.

The problem isn’t the information—it’s the expectations that are sometimes created by that information. Assumptions based solely on Google results can sow unnecessary seeds of disappointment, and that disappointment can harm the homeowner’s relationship with the builder.

Plan Your New Home

When planning a new home, it’s best to approach online research in the same spirit as when looking up symptoms before visiting the doctor. Information you find can help you have an intelligent conversation and make a good decision about treatment options. And… the doctor will have insight and knowledge that you don’t.

Just as your doctor is the medical expert, your professional builder is the expert on the art and science of designing, building, and finishing a high-quality custom home on budget and schedule. The best use for the information you find online is a starting point for collaborating with your builder.

Speaking of collaborating with your builder, have you seen Winsome’s Core Values? #4 is Authentic Collaboration with Positive People!


Winsome Construction is a luxury home builder, crafting high-performance homes throughout PortlandSalemBend, the Willamette Valley, and the North Oregon Coast. We invite you to stay connected with us by subscribing to our monthly newsletter  (enter name and email below) or calling us today at 503-472-7402.

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