10 Considerations When Choosing a Home Builder

Building a home requires a substantial financial investment, so it is important that you choose your builder carefully. Before making your selection, you can use the following 10 considerations to evaluate each potential builder:

  1. Reference input. Individuals that are currently using the builder can provide candid opinions about their experiences. You can also contact individuals who have recently moved into a home built by the builder and those who have lived in a home the builder built a few years ago. Remember, however, that the builder will typically only give you references from people that are happy with his work. You might want to ask the builder's references the following questions: Did the builder return their calls promptly? Was the house built on schedule? Did the house cost what the builder projected it to cost? Are the owners happy with the quality of construction? Did the builder respond to complaints and problems promptly? Do the owners have any regrets about using this builder? Would the owners use the same builder if they built another home?
  2. Agency input. Agencies can provide customer satisfaction information. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to determine the number of complaints filed against the builder. The Better Business Bureau will also have information about complaint resolution.
  3. Municipality input. Your local building inspector probably has worked with your proposed builder and might offer information about the builder. Is the builder knowledgeable of local building code requirements?
  4. Builder background. The builder's work experience is extremely important. How long has the builder been in business? How many homes has he built himself? Does he limit the amount of houses that he builds at one time?
  5. Builder's Flexibility. The builder's business practices are also important. To what extent can you customize your proposed home? Can you purchase items such as lighting fixtures yourself, or does the builder offer only a few options to choose from?
  6. Personal observations. Visit homes built by the proposed builder while they are in various stages of completion. Are you satisfied with the attention to detail and quality of work that you observe?
  7. Construction specifications. Talk to the builder about his standard building procedures. Then compare these to those of other builders.
  8. Project specifics. The builder can provide information specific to your proposed home plan. What is the builder's time estimate to complete the home? When is the builder available to begin the project? Can you use your own plans, or must the builder provide them? What are your anticipated out-of-pocket expenses? Is a price increase likely before building begins?
  9. Financial considerations. You can compare the quoted home price to that of other builders. Is the home price reasonable? Do other builders offer more for the same money?
  10. Builder's personality. You will be working with this builder for several months. Do you feel comfortable around the builder? Do you feel comfortable communicating your requests to him?

Although it takes time to carefully evaluate builders and to obtain answers to the above questions, the quality of your built home is highly dependent upon the builder that you choose. Choose carefully, and enjoy your new home!

author: Karen O'Donnell Marshall

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