29 December 2009

Out of Our League

It's great having such a fabulous builder, and we're so grateful that our house is small, straightforward, and easy compared with most of R's jobs, but we have found one thing difficult about working with him. (In R's defense, I'm sure this is typical of custom builders in general.)

When we need to select, say, a front door, we are expected to look online or perhaps in a showroom and find the one we like. Then, if we were typical custom home clients, we would select would be told how much it will cost, and we would either like the number or spend the next few weeks lamenting to friends how much we are spending on our (fill in the blank). Apparently that is what one does when money is no object.

This is not how we shop. We are used to having access to pricing information and being able to weigh all of our options before making a fully informed decision. This does not, of course, mean that we always choose the least expensive option. If we like one option 10% more than another option, but the option we like slightly more costs twice as much, then the less expensive option is the better value. On the other hand, if we like the more expensive option 50% more than the less expensive option, and the price difference is only 10%, then we would gladly spend the extra money.

Since relative costs are not apparent, it's impossible to make this kind of value calculation without bothering someone asking for the prices of many different options. So we're kind of inundating R with options, and he's very accommodating about it, but I'm sure he's wishing we were more like his usual clients, who like what they like and it costs what it costs.

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