Loans for single-family homes are becoming easier to get. They’re also cheaper by 36 basis points in Q4 of 2019. Perhaps now is the time to build your dream home.
Wondering how to find a home builder for your custom home? Read on to learn 10 tips to help you find the right home builder the first time.
Choosing a Builder
Choosing the right builder for your custom home project is not something to do lightly. It’s crucial to the whole success of the project that you make the right decision.
As with any decision of this magnitude take a business-like approach. The best builders will be doing the same.
It’s important to have a structured approach. Have criteria or checklist to work from and do your homework diligently. Putting the effort in at this early stage is much better than trying to unravel a complex building project and failing builder later on in the project.
1. Clear Objective
You should fully understand your building project. Knowing what the project involves helps you pick the most appropriate builder for it. Don’t work on the basis that any general builder will be able to take on your custom building project.
Materials, techniques, designs, and more can need specialized knowledge, skills, and experience. You can’t ask the right questions or answer the builder’s questions without this information.
With a clear understanding of your needs, you can begin to search for builders with the know-how to deliver your project well. Make your aim to check whether the builders you consider can demonstrate that they understand the brief. Check whether they can provide evidence of their capability.
It’s important to know who will be doing the actual work. It’s no good if you speak to a seasoned professional with all the right know-how if the person working on your actual project is a “wet-behind-the-ears”, novice. They might be willing to learn and enthusiastic too but you don’t want them to learn by the mistakes they make on your home?
3. Reputation and Service
Ask for references. Previous customers can give you a great insight into what this builder will be like to work with.
Ask them to describe their communication, service, and standards of site management. These issues can give you a clue about how professional they are. Look for clues that the customer was less than satisfied and probe further.
Ask questions. “What could they have done better?” is a telling question.
Ask around in the neighborhood. Local builders need a good reputation to prosper as so much work comes by recommendation. Be extra vigilant about builders without a local reputation for high standards.
4. Licenses and Insurance
No reputable builder would operate without the appropriate licenses and insurance. Each state has its own licensing rules. Check the rules and ask every prospective builder for evidence that they comply.
Ask to see insurance documents. Don’t rely on a generalized claim that they are fully insured. If something goes wrong you’ll wish you checked the details thoroughly.
Insurance needs to cover the builder, its employees, and any contractors. It needs to absolve you of any liability for damages. Without this, you could find yourself involved in litigation.
5. Relevant Experience
Many great builders are specialists. They may have a fabulous reputation and expert skills in one type of building work but not in another. Check that the experience you are assessing is relevant to your project.
A custom home takes a special kind of expertise. There may be a need for high levels of craftsmanship that re not required in other building work.
Working on a custom building project requires expertise in customer service that most builders don’t need or have. You may not have experience in the building business or technical knowledge. You will need a sympathetic builder who understands your needs and wants.
6. Peace of Mind
When you choose a builder, you will want peace of mind. If something goes wrong, will you lose money or have to take on unexpected liabilities.
With a new home, you can expect to be using products, materials, and systems that are new. They should be under warranty.
The structure of the building, roof, and many other components should be under a warranty. Verify the warranty position before contracting a builder. Ask for examples where claims have been made under warranty and successfully resolved.
7. Market Evidence
The true test of a builder is whether the homes they have built sell successfully. Check realtors for evidence of homes built by a proposed builder, selling. Ask if the prices reflected expectations.
A local realtor will have a view about whether the builder is delivering homes that they can market. Do they maintain their value? Are they attracting interest from buyers?
Accreditations such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are a useful point of reference. You can check whether they meet the BBB’s standards for good business practices.
Membership of associations might include a requirement to meet certain professional standards as well as maintain certain standards of continuing education for employees.
9. Seeing is Believing
A visit to homes built by a builder can reveal much more than a website or brochure. Check the build quality and the materials used. Does it stand up to scrutiny?
10. Top Standards
High standards of workmanship will be evident on a site inspection. It’s also very important to talk to the people who are working on a building project. Do they seem to care about the work they are doing and do they show an interest in you as a prospective customer?
Now You Know How to Find a Home Builder
With this checklist in mind, you ready to do your homework. You know how to find a home builder. It’s time to get serious about building your dream home.
Time to talk to us about building your home right here.