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The Importance of Choosing the Right Contractor

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

When you rely on somebody to perform a service for you, you need to make sure you choose the right professional. The contractor who builds your home really sets the tone for the project, and a good one can direct and streamline the process to make building a house seem simple! If you want to look forward to a build you can look back on fondly, prioritize finding the right builder. Here’s how you’ll benefit from start to finish!

House Plan 7240 by Lannister Construction

Our Featured Builders are located across the country and give you a glimpse into what our house plans can become in capable hands! This beautiful build of House Plan 7240 was built in St. George, Utah, by Lannister Construction, a family owned and operated business that handles all sorts of residential projects.

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, make sure the house works for the lot, get approved by the local building department, and get approved by a lender for a loan, in most cases. Checking off these boxes takes time, and plenty of it. Choosing a contractor early often makes things easier because you can benefit from their experience; what would take you weeks or even months to get in order could be handled much more quickly and efficiently by somebody who’s seen and done it all before.

Many people building their own homes for the first time run into issues that they could avoid by having a contractor on their side early on. For instance, a builder who helps you find the perfect lot can steer you away from difficult ones that seem like good choices on the surface; things you can’t see, like tough soil conditions and restrictive easements, will compromise your plans before you start building. A contractor can also help you select a house plan that works perfectly for the dimensions and conditions of the lot, ensuring you don’t have to make adjustments after purchasing blueprints. Getting approval from the building department will also go much more smoothly with a knowledgeable navigator to fill out forms and bring all the necessary documents the first time. Finally, banks like builders with good reputations, and securing funding makes everything else less stressful. If any of this sounds good, make sure to find a builder willing to provide the assistance you need!

If you don’t know 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 sign the contract.

Backus documentary

Want to see how previous customers built their homes? Check out the variety of home building documentaries we have on our YouTube channel! This shot is from the Backus family’s build of House Plan 1031—see the whole documentary including a short interview with their builder here.

During the Build

The main role of a contractor is to schedule the build. From digging for the foundation, to having materials show up as needed, to calling in subcontractors to install electrical and plumbing at the appropriate times—the list goes on. It’s critical that all the pieces come together in order, otherwise progress could be slowed down and/or you could end up storing things for future use on the build site, which is a huge liability. A contractor who has successfully built homes on schedule is more likely to be able to do the same for you, and that makes for a smoother, more enjoyable experience. That’s why this is one of the most important things to look into before making your selection!

An established builder also comes with connections that you may benefit from. For example, they likely have good working relationships with suppliers, subcontractors, and inspectors that could give you better prices and/or scheduling priority. If you have particular stores or brands in mind for your finishing products, be sure to mention it—you might find better savings when purchases are made by a professional than if you did it yourself.

Effective communication is perhaps the most important quality for contractors to have across the board. Whether the process is right on track or has run into some bumps in the road (weather delays, finishes on backorder, etc.), you need to be able to check in and see how things are going. Put your biggest investment into the hands of somebody you can trust to answer your calls and who’ll call you to run ideas or confirm preferences before installing them into the house. Your builder should listen to your thoughts and be able to offer suggestions—it’s great to have an expert opinion, after all!—because good dialog works out confusion and gets everybody on the same page.

When you start your search for the perfect contractor, begin by making a list of your own needs and expectations so you can be upfront with interviewees and hire the best fit. Building a home is a huge undertaking, but the right builder can make it seem like a breeze!