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Journal Entries

Building our new home: from finding the location, creating the design, choosing the builder, to the building process. This journal chronicles our process, from end to end.

How We Chose Our Builder

Before we were married, we had both been through the process of building our own homes. I’d been through it a couple of times in Phoenix, and once in Asheville. As with any big decision, there are several consdierations beyond just price.

I've know a few really good guys who are, what I call "pick-up truck builders." Their trucks are their offices. They have honorable intentions and know how to build a quality home. The inherent limitation is their one-person bandwidth of time and attention to all their clients. If they have only a couple jobs running concurrently, they can juggle it all pretty well.

But, when a significant challenge crops up on a job, or they take on too many projects at once, it’s just not humanly possible to give the attention they intend to everything on their plates. No lack of intent—but the ability to follow through and give attention to details suffers.

Another thing we looked for was a good builder who was also a good businessperson. Someone who withstood the recession of ’08-’09, someone who has reserves and is an important client of his/her suppliers. Someone whose subcontractors are skilled, dependable, and loyal. Someone who has backup subcontractors to call upon as needed.

We’d never heard of Tim Alexander (no relation), owner of HomeSource Builders, before we bought our land in Bridgewater. He introduced himself, and we found that he fit that "goldilocks" criteria we were looking for: someone not too big care, but not too small to have any any redundancy or the safety net of of multiple resources—just right. Having built in the mountains for more than 30 years, his customers gave glowing reviews.

His proposal is a clear, no-nonsense document that spells out everything, with a line listing of all estimated costs. He provides copies of all receipts for materials and labor, and charges a fixed fee for his overhead and profit.

Over the past year, we've come to really enjoy working with Tim and his crew at HomeSource. They're professional, reasonable, and fun to work with. We're looking forward to beginning the building process in November.