Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Custom Home Builders Rated Highest in Quality?

Only the best custom home builders in Napa County have earned the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most accurate and rigorous ratings process anywhere. You’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed. Most companies can’t pass this test. That’s why you’ll feel confident when you choose a Diamond Certified custom home builder listed below. Simply click on the name of a Diamond Certified company below to read ratings results, informational articles and verbatim customer survey responses.

Thousands of customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program cuts out mediocre and poorly performing companies. If you want quality, you’ll have confidence in choosing Diamond Certified companies. And you’re backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.

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Alan Kaiser is president of Kaiser Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (707) 927-1020 or by email.

Alan Kaiser

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Alan Kaiser: Building Fulfillment

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ST. HELENA — While many contractors cite a particular aspect that initially drew them to the building trade, for Alan Kaiser, there were a number of things that appealed to his young disposition. “While I was in college, I started working for my cousin, who was a very experienced builder,” he relates. “I found construction to be fulfilling on many levels, from working outside to the technical aspects involved, not to mention the simple satisfaction of standing back at the end of the day and seeing the results of my work.” Since founding Kaiser Construction Inc. in 2000, Alan has continued to find fulfillment in the versatile nature of his work.

While he still lives in the same county where he was born, Alan’s is not a tale of small-town stasis, as he spent the bulk of his young life abroad. “My dad worked for the Navy, so we moved around a lot when I was a kid,” he explains. “I actually lived in Central America for a number of years. However, no matter where we ended up, we always returned to Napa County.” Having established his local roots for good, Alan now resides in St. Helena, where he says he appreciates the town’s unique character. “It’s a very active, thriving community, so there’s always a lot going on, but it’s also managed to retain its small town feel. There aren’t a lot of places left in California like it.”

In addition to being a business owner, Alan owns a sprint car racing team, to which he devotes much of his time outside of work. “I’ve been doing automobile racing all my life, and it continues to be a passion of mine,” he says. “We’ve had some topnotch guys drive for our team, and we’ve actually won a lot of races, so it’s been a fun ride.” When he’s not at the race track, Alan enjoys spending time with his fiancée, Diana, and his soon-to-be stepchildren, James and Amanda.

In his life and career, Alan espouses the currency of the age-old golden rule. “I strive to treat others how I would like to be treated,” he affirms. “In addition to my own personal values, I think it’s true that what goes around comes around, which is why I make it a priority to deal fairly and honestly with everyone I meet.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Alan says he’d take a vacation before returning to tackle a long-deferred home improvement project. “I think the first thing I’d do is take my family on a trip to Hawaii. Afterward, I’d get started on a project I’ve been planning for a while: building another house on my property.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Probably hitting about 165 miles per hour while racing.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: La Prima Pizza in St. Helena.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio. I particularly enjoy the Armstrong & Getty Show.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving—it’s a time to get together with family, relax and enjoy a long weekend.

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The Importance of Ladder Safety


ST. HELENA — Several ladder-related injuries occur each year, but most of these result from either incorrect application or incorrect usage. To better ensure safety while using a ladder, it’s important to consider these points: Choose the right ladder for… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Ladder Safety

Complete Video Transcription:

ST. HELENA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to use a ladder for a home improvement project, you’ll first need to know some basic ladder… Read more




custom log homes
custom high-end homes
custom vacation homes
chalet-style custom homes
custom beach homes
custom A-frame homes
custom green homes
custom craftsman homes
luxury homes
custom modular homes
split-level custom homes

home design-build services
custom home additions
custom home remodeling
custom new homes
custom home design
custom home floor plans
custom kitchen designs
luxury home renovations
custom tenant improvements
custom commercial building construction
custom bathroom renovations

ABC Associated Builders and Contractors (http://www.abc.org/)
AGC of America Associated General Contractors of America (http://www.agc.org/)
ASA American Subcontractors Association (http://www.assaonline.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CBIA California Building Industry Association (http://www.cbia.org/)

CSLB Contractors State License Board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
HBANC Home Builders Association of Northern California (http://www.hbanc.org/)
NAHB National Association of Home Builders (http://www.nahb.org/)
NCBE North Coast Builders Exchange (http://www.ncbeonline.com/)
NSCA National Systems Contractors Association (http://www.nsca.org/)
NUCA National Utility Contractors Association (http://www.nuca.com/)

Know What You Want
Researching What You Want Before You Hire a Napa County Custom Home Builder Contractor

Many factors should be thought about before selecting a custom home builder  contractor in Napa County, including the smaller cities of Angwin, Deer Park, Oakville, Pope Valley, and Rutherford, that will meet your needs the most successfully. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin your research. Consider the following questions before making your final selection of a custom home builder  contractor.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. What is my budget?
  3. What is the time frame for completing the custom home construction project?
  4. What personal and professional characteristics would I like my Napa County custom home builder  contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)
  5. Are there any changes I’d like to make personally before to the custom home construction team begins construction in order to offset costs?
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What To Ask In Person
Think About Asking These Questions in Person When Speaking to a Custom Home Builder Contractor in Napa County

The next step is to interview custom home builder contractors in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville. Questions you may want to ask include the following.

  1. Does the general contractor carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  2. How do the residential general contractors in Napa County  price building construction?
  3. Do the general contractors specialize in the type of work you need? If so, ask the builders to provide some examples of similar work in Napa County they have completed.
  4. What will the construction companies’ timing be on bidding and completing the home construction?
  5. Do the construction firms hire subcontractors or do the general contractors and their employees perform the work?
  6. What type of warranty does each of the construction companies provide and what are the terms?
  7. Will construction permits be needed? If so, will the general contractors be responsible for getting them?
  8. How many projects that are similar to mine have you completed in the last year?
  9. How do you perform your work—what time do you start, how will you protect my carpets, how will you handle trash and debris, etc.
  10. How and when do the Napa County general contractors clean up the construction site?
  11. What professional organizations are you a member of?
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  • What To Ask References
    Think About Asking These Questions to Previous Customers of a Custom Home Builder Contractor in Napa County

    It’s best to select a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality contractor work in Napa County and the greater Bay Area, you can feel confident about choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your custom home builder contractor.  Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the custom home builder contractor are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are happy with their service.

    If you do phone references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied. Did the contractor seem receptive to your input?

    1. If you need a custom home builder contractor in the future, will you consider hiring this general contractor?
    2. What type of custom home builder project did you hire the general contractor to complete?
    3. Did the contractor provide answers to questions to your satisfaction?
    4. Did the custom home builder contractor show up on time?
    5. Do you feel like the general contractor charged a fair price for the quality of the work?
    6. Did they finish the job on time?
    7. Did the general contractor clean up after completing the job?
    8. Were there any unexpected costs? If so, what?
    9. Would you recommend this custom home builder contractor to your family and friends?
    10. Did the contractor seem receptive to your input?
    11. If you need a custom home builder contractor in the future, will you consider hiring this general contractor?
    12. Were you satisfied with the service from the (custom home builder contractor name)?
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  • Review Your Options
    Finding the Best Napa County Custom Home Builder Contractor

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of custom home builder contractor is important to you and your family. So before deciding on the best custom home builder contractor in Napa County for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    1. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice listed in the Better Business Bureau as having complaints filed against him? If so, were they valid complaints that required disciplinary action?
    2. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice charging a reasonable price for quality work on my custom home construction project?
    3. What is my time frame for this custom home construction project: when do I intend to start it and when do I need to have it accomplished?
    4. Which general contractors in Napa County offer the better warranty for the overall cost?
    5. Is my custom home builder contractor of choice well-established in the community?
    6. Does my general contractor of choice have good references that I have checked?
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  • How To Work With
    Hiring a Napa County Custom Home Builder Contractor

    Once you’ve hired a custom home builder company in Napa County, including the smaller cities of Angwin, Deer Park, Oakville, Pope Valley, and Rutherford, you will have an initial meeting between you and the contractor to discuss the contractor’s qualifications and your requirements. An estimate of the custom home construction project and its feasibility is drawn out. Furthermore, you will discuss the budget and design of the project as well as any restrictions and permissions that will be needed. The contractor will provide you with an estimate based on the design specifications. He will also offer choices in terms of designs and construction. Once the final contract has been written, the next step will be applying for permission. Last of all, the construction and financing process will begin.

    Be Contract Specific

    Once the contract is drawn up, it should be signed by both parties: you, the project owner, and the contractor. If any sub-contractors will be involved, they should sign the contract as well. The contract should protect the interests of both you and the contractor. As a result, it should include the following:

    • Contractor’s name, physical address, mailing address and phone.
    • Quote of the project.
    • A clear, concise, and complete description of the project, including start and completion dates. It should also include who will be responsible for each aspect of the project.
    • Terms of payment schedule as well as the payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractor(s) and suppliers.
    • A detailed materials list: product, size, color, type, model, and brand name. Any additional or alternate materials that may be used if necessary should also be listed.
    • Who will be responsible for obtaining necessary permits (this is usually the contractor).
    • Any oral promises made.
    • Warranties should be written and the length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.
    • How “change orders” will be handled. Any changes or additions to the project should be written up in the contract so that the conditions for change are pre-determined. Furthermore, the contract should list how and when payment will be made for adjustments. Because change orders are common aspects of most remodeling jobs, it is common for remodelers to require payment before the work actually begins.

    Take Precautions to Protect Yourself
    Taking precautions will help protect you and your custom home project investment. It will also increase your chances of success. Consider the following guidelines:

    • Do not sign a contract that uses vague terms. Make sure that all terms are specific regarding project requirements and the work that will be performed.
    • Do not make final payment until the work completed meets agreed upon specifications, building code requirements, and that subcontractors and suppliers have all been paid.
    • Do not agree to finance your project through your contractor. Shop around for better loan terms.
    • Before deeding your property, be sure to first consult an attorney or knowledgeable friend or family member.
    • Agree to make payments as the project progresses, contingent upon completion of a determined amount of work. This way, if work on the project is delayed, payment will be delayed as well.
    • Don’t sign a contract or any document until you have thoroughly read through it and filled in any blank spaces.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    Being a Good and Successful Custom Home Builder Contractor in Napa County Customer

    It’s the custom home builder contractor’s responsibility to complete a successful custom home builder project for you according to your specifications. But you play a big part in the success of your custom home builder contractor, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Napa County custom home builder contractor.

    • Be sure your custom home builder contractor has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re completing your design and build project. The work will move along more smoothly if your custom home builder contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • Ask your custom home builder contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Before you hire a custom home builder contractor in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the custom home builder contractor your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local custom home builder contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • When your custom home builder contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the custom home builder contract work on schedule.
    • Be clear and upfront with the custom home builder contractor. Let them know what you want from your custom home builder contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Pay for the custom home builder contractor’s work promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Custom home builder contractors in Napa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, truthful and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Examine the Invoice to Check the Completed Custom Home Builder Contractor in Napa County Work

When the custom home builder contract work is completed, your custom home builder contractor is required to give you a written invoice. This must include:

  • The name and physical address of the custom home builder contractor
  • A list of all work performed, including the warranty
  • An itemized list of all merchandise purchased or included
  • The total custom home builder project cost, including the amount charged for labor, if any
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Written Warranties
Protect Yourself by Requesting Warranties in Writing from Custom Home Builder Contractors in Napa County

Before the custom home builder contractor leaves, confirm any warranties offered by the custom home builder contractor in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville. The written warranty document must detail the following:

  • The custom home builder contractor’s name and physical address
  • Your responsibility in the case of a problem with the building project and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
  • If the custom home builder contractor warranty coverage is transferrable to the new owner in the event that you sell the home or building in which the contractor has designed and built.
  • The length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Custom Home Builder Contractors

Custom home builder contractors in Napa County, including the larger cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville, provide all types of custom home projects. Following is a list of the most popular requests.

Custom A-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.

Custom Luxury homes
Luxury homes are high-end homes in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, décor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.

Custom green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.

Custom log homes
Log homes are structurally identical to log cabins because they are made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber.

Custom vacation homes
This is a home that is used seasonally as a vacation residence rather than being lived in year round.

Split-level custom homes
A split-level home is similar to a ranch home. It features three levels of living space on a floor plan that makes economical use of the building lot.

Chalet-style custom homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

Custom modular homes
These are buildings used for commercial purposes that are portable and cost-effective. Modular buildings are pre-constructed in a factory or other manufacturing site and then transported to the assembly site.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Custom Home Builders

Below are key custom home building terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your custom home construction project.

When designing a new home or business project, the architect is in charge of creating a draft of the actual design of the home, addition, remodeling, or building project.

Also known as: architect jobs, architect, shop architects, interior architects

A blueprint is a paper reproduction of an architectural design. Usually these paper drawings are on white paper with blue lines but it is a generic term for any detailed architectural design.

Also known as: the blueprint, blueprints, half pipe blueprints, hosue blue prints, blue print maker

change order
A written order to the contractor that details changes to the specified work quantities or modifications that are in the original contract.

Also known as: construction change order form, change order request form, change order form template

custom bathroom renovations
This is a reference to improving a home by remodeling a bathroom in order to make it more modern and up to date.

custom home designs
Custom home designs are designs for home that are modern and unique.

Also known as: custom home plans, home designs, custom designed homes, luxury home designs, custom design homes, small home designs, new custom homes, custom home construction, contemporary home designs

custom home floor plans
These are not stock floor plans that have been modified by a builder by making simple changes such as adding or changing a doorway. These are, rather, unique plans that have been drawn up by an architect or professional designer after they have meet with the client and viewed the property where the home will be built in order to more effectively design a home specifically constructed for the client.

Designers have expertise in certain areas of home remodeling and decor, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

dry wall construction
This is a type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition. This is generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling.

Also known as: construction dry wall, dry wall, drywall contractors, dry stone wall construction, drywall installation, drywall contractors

General contractors manage all aspects of a project. This includes hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining materials and building permits, and scheduling inspections.

Also known as: certified general contractors, association of general contractors

home design-build services
This is a reference to a project delivery system used in the construction industry. In this method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor to build a home.

home floor plans
This is the blueprint or design for a home that is typically drawn up by an architect.

Also known as: luxury home floor plans, log home floor plans, ranch home floor plans, small home floor plans, home floor plans free, modular home floor plans

Architects who have met the standards for licensing by the California Architects Board are licensed. This includes completion of the two state-run intern development programs known as CIDP and IDP; completion of the Architect Registration Examination; and completion of the oral examination known as the CSE.

specialty contractors
Specialty contractors install particular aspects of a project such as the plumbing or electrical work.

standard bid
The traditional cost that is associated with the materials and labor needed to construct the project.

Any constructor who contracts to perform parts of the work of a project that the original contractor contacted to do.

Also known as: subcontractor agreement template, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement form, sample subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement construction, subcontractors insurance, insurance for subcontractors

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Custom Home Contracting Clients

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a custom home builder with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only custom home builder contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified custom home builder contractor.

Q: How long will it take to build my new custom built home?
A: Building times vary based on lot conditions, the complexity of the home, location and many factors that arise at times. Most custom home builder contractors are able to complete the majority of homes in a timely manner. Typically, it takes 3-6 months to build a new home once the footing is poured.

Q: Is it possible to use a specific custom home builder contractor yet retain competitive prices?
A: The answer is yes because typically contractors agree to provide a complete custom home construction project on a guaranteed maximum basis. They will agree to charge a set amount for a project and no more, assuming the scope does not change. If the costs are less than originally estimated, savings are passed on to the client on a pre-agreed basis.

Q: Once my home is under construction, can I make changes?
A: Chances that are made during the construction process can have a negative impact on the construction of your home. It is strongly encouraged that you design your home exactly how you want it at the point of sale. However, change orders may be accepted on a case by case basis during the actual construction. Be aware that these change orders may increase the overall cost of your home considerably.

Q: Why do so many people have home construction nightmares?
A: If you analyze most home construction nightmares, you will find a single common theme: the client was seduced by the lowest bid. If you are shopping for a television and you accurately compare the same model, size, and features, not much will go wrong if you buy the less expensive television. However, this is not the case when comparing construction builders. Every builder builds differently. For this reason, you should always do your homework and make sure you research any custom home builder contractor before you sign the final contract.

Q: What effect does the weather have on my home’s building materials?
A: Most every home that is being built is rained on or snowed on during construction. These weather conditions will not affect the quality or strength of your home.

Q: How long will my construction project take to complete?
A: That depends on the job. When you meet with your contractor, they should be able to fairly accurately determine an estimated end date.

Q: Do custom home builder contractors operate a clean worksite?
A: It is a good idea to check the work of a design/build contractor before hiring to see if, in fact, they operate clean worksite. Check to see if they use floor protectors and put plastic sheets for dust containment. Note if there is a line item in the contract that includes jobsite setup, cleanup, and portable facilities.

Q: What are the benefits of owning my own home?
A: The benefits include paying toward your own home rather than paying for someone else’s home ownership. Over time, houses usually increase in value, thus increasing your net worth. If your new home is financed, then the finance charges are tax deductible.

Q: How can I minimize the problems associated with a custom home construction project?
A: The first step is to recognize that all construction problems can be reduced to issues of communication or money. Money is an issue regardless of your budget or wealth. Before the project begins, know what your contractor is charging you for overhead, markup, profit, and extras. Get a list of hourly rates. Know how his subcontractors charge him. Understand fully who pays if something goes wrong. Understand your warranties and guarantees. Write everything down in the contract. Regarding communication, never trust verbal communication on a construction project. Document every conversation that involves something being done to your custom built home.

Q: How do I know that a custom home builder contractor is not marking up your credit allowances?
A: A quality custom home construction firm will have open and transparent paperwork. They should be able to show you receipts for what has been purchased, including contractor discounts.

Q: Are estimates of custom home construction companies negotiable?
A: Generally they are not. A quality custom home builder contractor will give a fair estimate based on current market prices for your community. They may be able to work with you in lowering the overall cost by using different materials or coming up with a more efficient design.

Q: What is involved in preparing a site for building my custom home?
A: In order to be prepared for your home to be built on site, you will need to research any environmental and building ordinances and codes that may apply, clear the home site of trees and other debris, design septic/sewer issues, install a driveway and culvert, determine whether your lot has any shrink/swell soil conditions, and excavate if you are building a basement home.

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