Building a home is an experience like no other. Ensuring you get it right is essential to the home building process. The design is based on your own unique lifestyle needs and is meant to showcase your style and personality. With that in mind, selecting a home builder is a crucial step. Every project is different after all! When building your dream home, you need to make sure your builder has the skillset to bring your vision to life. Trusting the wrong builder can lead to disaster, so knowing how to select one that’s qualified is important. To help you get started, we’ve gathered a list of helpful tips and questions to ask while meeting with potential builders.
5 Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Builder
1. Building a Home is a Service, Not a Product
Yes, you’ll end up with a beautiful home when it’s all said and done. However, your builder is providing a service to you. This includes acting as a consultant or guide throughout the design and construction process.
2. Get an Up-Close Look at Their Work
Every builder has a different set of skills and some may be more qualified than others. One way to ensure a potential builder’s skills match your project is to see their work in person. Visit any available spec homes or models before selecting a home builder. Doing so will give you a better idea of their design and craftsmanship style.
3. The Initial Design Matters
Your finished home is only as good as the design that inspired it. Most builders offer a library of floor plans and designs to help you get started. However, your best bet is to work with a builder that offers “Design/Build” services.
4. Do Your Homework
Don’t be afraid to check a potential builder’s references. Getting a first-hand account from other homeowners lets you know what it’s like to work with that builder and their trade partners. For a thorough account, visit the Better Business Bureau website to see if any complaints have been filed against the builder. Before selecting a home builder, check their references.
5. Costs Will Vary by Builder
Building a custom home is a pretty hefty investment. Understanding how those costs are calculated will be helpful when weeding through potential builders. Typically, 1/3 of the cost will be the materials and products used to build the home. The other 2/3s will be the cost of labor. Labor costs can vary wildly, as they’re based on the expertise and skill level of the builder and their subcontractors.
Home Builder Interview Questions
Not sure what to ask while interviewing potential home builders? The following list will help you get started.
- How long have you been in business?
- What is your educational & experience background?
- Do you have a professional designer(s) to help with space planning and selection?
- Are your workers employees or subcontractors?
- Do you have a written scope of work/product installation methods for each trade? If yes ask to see it.
- What professional associations do you belong to?
- Where do you bank and who is your contact person?
- Where do you purchase your lumber and who is your contact person?
- Do you use the same trade subcontractors consistently or receive bids for the lowest price?
- Who will be my daily contact? How will they contact me?
- Can I receive a copy of your warranty and homeowner’s manual?
- How long have your key employees been with your company?
- Will you provide a written timetable for project construction?
- How often will my home be cleaned during the construction process?
- How many homes have you built similar to mine?
- What is your change order policy?
- What happens if you miss the agreed upon closing date?
- On average, how much do your customers deviate from your allowances?
- What guarantees do you offer?
- Why should I choose your company?