by Lauren Busser, The House Designers’ Editorial Director
You have made lists, spreadsheets, and you have found the perfect house plan for you. Congratulations, you have made one of the hardest decisions in the whole building process!
Now you need to find someone to build your home. The task might seem daunting, but we have a few tips to help you along the way. Here are five questions to ask your builder to make sure that you are picking the right person to build your dream home.
1. How Many Years Have You Been Building?
When you are interviewing your builder, think of it like interviewing a babysitter, a barber, or a doctor. You are making an important decision, so make sure that you don’t leave anything to chance. Try to look for a builder with a longstanding reputation.
Along the same line, you will also want to check the number of homes they usually build in a year and the price range in which they typically build.
2. What Types of Homes Do You Typically Build?
The type of home you want to build will be a factor for who you select as your builder. You want to make sure that your builder has experience building the same style home. If you are building a contemporary home and your builder specializes in two-story craftsman homes, you might not have the best fit.
3. What Sets You Apart from Others in the Industry?
Find out what this builder believes sets them apart from the others. This is a good chance to ask about achievements and their portfolio of work.
4. Who is Responsible for Getting the Permits and Loans?
Depending on the location of your build, your planning and zoning boards, banks, and other organizations will have different requirements. Ask your builder if you are responsible or if they will set the process in motion.
5. How Often Can I Expect to Hear Construction Updates?
Make no mistake – just like in any other industry, communication between the builder and their client is key. Ask them how many times a week you can expect to hear an update and whether it will be through phone, email, or at the job site. Ask how often you will have the opportunity to walk through your home. You should also inquire about your access to the job site and when you can expect updates on expenses.
And As a Final Step
Check up on your builder’s references. You can check the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the Home Builders Associations in your local area should also have a record of your builder. Examine the records and make sure that you are not selecting a builder with too many complaints.
Remember that organizations, like the BBB, won’t have records of every complaint because most builders issue a warranty and will honor it, so most disputes that arise will be resolved directly with the builder. Make sure to double and triple check your builder’s reputation and willingness to make repairs.
When you start to build your new home, ask questions in order to find the right builder for the job. Your home is your most valuable asset, so make sure that you select the best builder for your needs and stay organized with our Home Building Organizer. This useful tool can be used to track your home's budget, keep your estimates, and even get product ideas. These useful worksheets come shipped right to your door for $39 (normally $49).