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Choosing a General Contractor

Cory CummingsChoosing a builder to build your new home is an important decision, and even though we've all heard stories about General Contractors, there are lots of reputable, really good builders available to build your new home. By doing your research and checking referrals and possibly seeing a couple of homes your potential builder has built for other clients, you'll be able to find a great builder to entrust with 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. It's additional time but it's time well spent.

  • Don't rely only on 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 and find out if there are any outstanding complaints against that license holder. Online searches including Yelp, Google, Bing and Houzz are reliable ways to see objective reviews from former customers.

  • Call your local Better Business Bureau and verify there are no customer complaints on file.

  • Thoroughly interview your potential general contractor candidates. Find out what kind of worker's compensation insurance they carry and get their policy number and insurance company contact information to verify the information. If they are not covered, you'll 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 suggest changes to suit their building abilities are probably not 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 built homes. Ask builder's you're interviewing if they have a project in progress, and inquire about doing a walk-through the home.

  • Ask friends, family and 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. A deposit should never be given until an approved and detailed contract is provided.


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