Every season, prominent shelter magazines like Architectural Digest publish articles asking designers to share the biggest mistakes that clients make. Responses range from relational:

Trust is key to the successful outcome of any design project. A designer should be hired only if the rapport between client and designer is a good one. Choosing a designer based solely on a fee schedule is a big mistake. — Scott Snyder

To foundational:

Not paying bills promptly. — Terry Hunziker

We asked John Sebastian, CEO of Sebastian Construction Group, to name the biggest mistake a client can make in selecting a contractor to build their high-end custom residence.

According to John, there are two mistakes that top the list:

Mistake #1: Clients not taking the time to talk to several client references on the contractor they select.

Amazingly, there are clients who commission homes costing tens of millions, without checking the contractor’s references. But seeing high profile names on a client list doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free construction experience or a high-quality result. Trust and verify.

The second mistake?

Believing in unrealistically low construction costs told very early in the process by a contractor – only to be disappointed later when the promised low price turns out to be untrue. Too many times, I’ve seen homeowners suffer through a miserable construction experience, only to end up at the higher cost point at the end of the project.

On top of Sebastian’s 70-plus year track record of the highest quality residential construction, our dedicated Pre-Construction team has built an extensive database of cost items. We also competitively bid each major component, to achieve the best quality at the lowest cost. As a result, Sebastian’s final budgets are typically within 3% to 5% of our initial budgets.

And Sebastian’s work? The quality speaks volumes.