Unlike production houses, you only get one chance to build a custom house correctly, that is why it is so important to choose a builder with extensive first hand experience in the construction process.
Do look for :
The home builder who gets his hands dirty, who owns tools and possesses the knowledge to use them if need be.
Do look for a home builder who also owns a large supply of work cloths; look for a builder who will be completely immersed in the actual building process. I personally handle the entire building process, from creating the contract quote, to lining-up and checking behind the sub-contractors. I have the ability to perform the more precision-type work myself, like trim work, installing cabinets, precision kitchen tile backsplashes and punch list if need be. I also write the checks to the craftsmen and suppliers. My right hand always knows what my left hand is doing, therefore I prevent mistakes from happening, not just discover them after the fact. By doing this, I cut construction time considerably.
What to Avoid :
Avoid the well dressed front-man with the overdeveloped “gift of the gab”. He will show up on the job site only a few times a week to make a quick walk through.
Avoid the contractor whose vast majority of income is derived from spec houses, (if you are building a custom home). Many spec house builders are accustomed to minimizing (their) cost, while maximizing (their) profits, most often at the expense of quality. They also consider home owners to be a nuisance that should be avoided if possible.
Avoid a builder who discourages direct contact with his or her sub-contractors, craftsmen or suppliers. He may be hiding something. Your contractor should gladly provide you with his contracts or quotes from his sub-contractors and suppliers.