You've decided you want to build your dream home and now you have to decide who is going to build it! This is a big decision that can be made much easier by consulting with and choosing the right builder; it doesn’t have to be a decision that adds additional stress to your life. Avoid becoming one of the nightmare stories you've probably heard about by knowing how to pick the builder that's right for you. Below are a few key points we recommend when making your decision.
Reputation: Look for a builder that has a long building history; how much experience does the builder have? Ask to see customer or trade references. What is his resume? Does he take care of his customers; are they satisfied and happy? Will they recommend him? Is his warranty stated in his contract? Does the builder have a comprehensive warranty program?
Quality: Regardless of the price of the home, quality can be measured. Your builder should be current on the latest construction techniques and municipal codes and committed to craftsmanship. Ask questions as to how familiar he is with any potential new changes within the City codes. How does the builder ensure quality? Ask what processes the builder uses to inspect the work. Will you be involved? How often will the builder visit the job site? Ask to see examples of their work, whether it be a model home or homes under construction. Can you see pictures for review?
Communication: How often will the builder deal with you during the building or design process? Good communication is a big key to success. You should get timely responses to any inquiries; make sure you and your builder are clear on what you feel is reasonable. If the builder isn’t responsive initially you can typically expect slower responses after construction starts.
Integrity and Resolution: Building a home is a complex process with opportunities for challenges to occur. When problems arise, and they will, a good builder steps up to the plate and makes it right. Get referrals and ask how the builder resolves service requests during and after construction. If they have a professional systems in place to handle such requests, this will insure prompt attention to your inquiries. Get things in writing if possible, does your builder like written requests? Ask how he typically likes to deal with your or any customers concerns.
Service: Don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from building your dream home. Look for a builder that will walk you through the entire process, from design to financing, from site preparation to building permits and actual construction. This full service experience can add tremendous value and peace of mind to the building process. What basic processes does the builder use? Ask what type of scheduling system will be used? Does the builder have a schedule you can see? When will you know your move in date?
Value: Look for items that add more clarity and value to your building experience. Examples might be, clear pricing in general or transparency in the prices for options. Clear specifications, will you know what you are actually receiving? Will you pay for the house design and drafting services? Will you receive design flexibility and customization? What will it cost if you want to make changes? Can you even make changes and when? Will the builder try to make extra money on change orders? What processes or policies can the builder share with you to make the process simpler or easier for you?
Personal Connection: Do you feel comfortable working with your builder and their staff? Are they helpful, attentive, knowledgeable, and professional? Are they honest and forthright in setting realistic expectations before they start building your new home? What commitment will they make to keep you informed throughout the process? You have to trust your builder. In your interview meetings you need to feel comfortable with your builder. The home building process can take months so you need to feel good about the builder.
Now that you've decided to build your dream home you have an important choice to make, by following these points and recommendations you will be on the right track to selecting a professional builder who will make the homebuilding process a real success.