Whether you've already found the perfect piece of property or just have a vision of the ideal location for your dream home, the builder you choose will be a key partner in creating a custom home that fits your lifestyle by carefully considering all your wants, needs and desires.

Since custom homes are typically one-of-a-kind and built on land specifically selected by the homeowner, every aspect is unique. As a result, true custom home builders tend to focus just a few homes every year.

"Probably the most important thing for people to consider when choosing a custom home builder is to ensure that they are dealing with a builder who has a proven track record," Rich Cook of Cook Builders which was established in 1974 said. "Staying current with the market is very critical. Things change very quickly, and the best way to stay current is to keep doing it."

After gaining over two decades of construction experience working on a combination of local residential and commercial projects, Cook began to really focus on custom home building in 1998. Since then, he has the great privilege of partnering with clients to build an average of 7-10 custom homes per year.

Another thing that is also important to consider is a builder's ability to work in many different areas, according to Cook who is currently working on homes in various stages of the construction process scattered throughout the region in Crown Point, Lowell, St. John and Winfield.

"The Cook process begins with design, and the home site is very much a part of that," he said. "From there we can establish a budget which is crucial to fine-tuning all of your selections."

So, as you begin your search for a custom home builder, consider one with a strong building history who stays current with the latest trends. You'll also want to tour as many homes as possible to see real world examples of a builder's craftsmanship and meet their references in person.

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