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Choosing a General Contractor

Choosing a ContractorChoosing a builder to build your new home is a big decision, and even though we've all heard stories about questionable General Contractors, there are lots of reputable, really good builders out there. By doing a little research and checking referrals and possibly seeing a couple of homes your potential builder has built for other clients, you can find a great builder to entrust in building your new home. Here are a few suggestions to get you started in your selection process:

  • Never choose a contractor based solely on the lowest bid. While you may end up choosing the builder with the best price, it won't be the main reason you've selected them.

  • Always get more than one estimate.

  • Don't rely on possible legal remedies as your protection against a builder you might be apprehensive about to begin with. Simply don't hire that particular contractor.

  • Do your research! If your state has a licensing board for contractors, call to find out if there are any outstanding complaints against that license holder. Online searches including Yelp, Google and Houzz are reliable ways to review objective reviews from past customers.

  • Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file.

  • Thoroughly interview your potential contractor candidates. Find out what kind of worker's compensation insurance they carry and get their policy number and insurance company contact information so you can verify the information. If they are not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury incurred during the building process.

  • Check to see if the contractor also has a general liability policy.

  • Hire a builder who is capable of building the home you want. Builders who suggests changes to suit their building abilities, may not be the right builder for you.

  • Choose a contractor with an excellent reputation in your area. Ask for names of clients and possibly addresses to do a drive-by to see the home. If a builder has a project in progress, see if you can walk-through the home.

  • Ask local businesses for builder recommendations like bankers, realtors, material supply stores or local building officials.

  • Take the time to do your research even in a competitive market, and never feel pressured to pay a deposit to a contractor at the first meeting.