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Summer Sale | Take 15% Off ALL House Plans | Code: SUMMER15
Summer Sale | Take 15% Off ALL House Plans | Code: SUMMER15

Selecting a Qualified Contractor to Build Your New Home

by Tammy Crosby, CEO & Editor-In-Chief, for The House Designers®

When you have to rely on someone to perform a service, it's important to choose a trusted professional with a solid reputation. The contractor you choose to build your new home is especially important, and a good general contractor can direct and streamline the construction process to keep your home building project on time and on budget. Here’s how you’ll benefit from start to finish by doing your homework and finding a qualified builder.

House Plan 8836 by Riggins Construction

Our Featured Builders can give you a glimpse of what house plans can become in capable hands! This build of House Plan 8836 in Lebanon, TN, was done by Riggins Construction, a family owned and operated business that serves the Middle Tennessee region.

Before You Begin

There are so many things that need to fall into place before you can break ground. You need to know where you’re building, ensure the house fits the lot, get approved by the local building department, and get approved by a lender for a mortgage when a loan is needed. Checking off these boxes will make your home building process smoother. Choosing a general contractor early in the process often makes things easier because you can benefit from their experience. What would take weeks or sometimes months to get in order could be handled much more quickly and efficiently by an experienced home builder.

Many people building their own homes for the first time run into issues that can easily be avoided by having a contractor on their side early on even if it's a GC hired on an as-needed basis. For instance, a builder who helps you find the right lot can steer you away from challenging lots that seem like a good choice on the surface, but may have issues that you can’t see like problem soil conditions or restrictive easements. A contractor can also help you select a house plan that works well for the dimensions and conditions of the lot, ensuring you don’t have to make adjustments after purchasing your home plans. Getting approval from the building department will also be streamlined with a knowledgeable navigator to fill out forms and provide the necessary documents. Finally, banks like builders with good reputations, will assist with securing the funding you might need for your construction project.

If you're unsure where to start with finding a contractor to build your home, you’ll find tips in our article How to Choose the Right Builder. We’ve included some places to look for pros, questions to ask when you interview them, and what to do before you go to contract.

Varnum doc

Want to see how previous customers built their homes? See the home building documentaries and customer new home tours on our YouTube channel! This shot is from Chelci and Brian's build of House Plan 8516—see the whole documentary here and more photos on our new House Plan 6484.

During the Build

The main role of a contractor is to schedule and coordinate the entire construction process. Your GC will be responsible for digging for the foundation, to having materials available as needed, to calling in subcontractors to install electrical and plumbing for example at the appropriate times. It’s critical that all the pieces come together to prevent slowing down your project. A contractor who has successfully built homes on schedule and on budget is likely to be able to do the same for you. That’s why interviewing your builder, checking online reviews and possibly doing drive-bys to see their previous projects are vital to making your decision.

An established builder also comes with connections that you can benefit from. For example, experienced builders have good working relationships with suppliers, subcontractors, and inspectors that could give you competitive prices and/or scheduling priority. If you have particular stores or brands in mind for your finishing products, be sure to specify what you want. Check with your builder for builder discounts and do your own research as well for price comparisons. Also, check out our Architect Preferred Products for products our architects recommend and many have used in their own homes. Investing in quality products that stand the test of time is vital to building a home that measures up to your initial vision of what you want your home to be.

Effective communication is one of the most important qualities for any general contractor. Whether the process is on track or has possibly run into issues like weather delays or products on backorder, you'll need regular communication with your builder to keep close tabs on how the project is going. The bottom line is you'll want to put your biggest investment into the hands of a professional you can trust to communicate quickly and who you can rely on to discuss products, systems and preferences before installing them into the house.

When you begin your search for the perfect contractor, start by making a list of your needs, expectations and budget and be as detailed as possible during your interview process to ensure the contractor you finally select can build the home you want. Building a new home takes time and requires lots of decisions and details, but the right builder will make the process much easier and you'll end up with the home of your dreams!


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