You’ve decided that you want to build a custom home – great! You’re ready to start the exciting process of making your dream home a reality. Of course, one of the first steps in the process is to find the right home builder for the job. How do you evaluate if a potential home builder is the right match for you? Get ready to ask the hard-hitting questions!
To help you get started, here are 10 questions to ask a potential home builder:
1. Are you licensed in the state that I’m building in?
It goes without saying that you want the builder taking care of your home to know what he/she is doing.
To ensure that a potential home builder is qualified, competent, and experienced in the craft, don’t hesitate to ask him/her about his/her licensing. Is this builder a professional who is licensed to work in the state that you’re building in?
You want to start the home-building process off on the right foot, and that means hiring a professional builder with the proper license.
2. Can you build my home within my budget?
During the home-building process, a clear line of communication is paramount for success. This is especially important at the very beginning of the process.
Before hiring a potential home builder, discuss your plans for your home and your allotted budget with him/her. It is important that both of you are on the same page about what can and will be executed – and that your home builder is not going to recklessly run you over your budget.
It is best to be direct. Discuss your budget frankly from the start to avoid confusion and to make sure that, in the end, you get what you want.
3. How often can I expect updates from you during the construction process?
This principle cannot be overstated: communication is key. This is true not only at the beginning of the home-building process, but throughout its duration.
If you know that you’re some who will want frequent updates throughout the construction process, tell your potential home builder from the get-go. Or, if you’re someone who prefers to hand off the reins and only wants updates at the big checkpoints, again, tell your potential home builder from the get-go.
Opening this conversation ensures that both you (and your builder) will know what to expect from the home-building process, which will help things run more smoothly for everyone.
4. Do you have any references I can speak to?
Before jumping into a new project, it’s always a good idea to do a little homework ahead of time. When preparing to build a new home, communicating with a potential home builder’s past clients is a great way to learn about the builder and his/her work.
And remember, don’t be shy about asking a potential builder for references! (After all, if his/her work really is of quality, he/she should be happy to direct you to previous (and, presumably, satisfied) clients.
Next, what is it that you should ask these references? Question them about what to expect from the construction process with this builder. How did he/she handle any issues that arose? And, most importantly, would these past clients hire the same builder again?
5. What type of warranty do you offer?
One of the key benefits of building a new home from the ground-up is that you won’t have to worry about repairs for a while. After all, everything in the home will be brand new and, most likely, under warranty.
This is another circumstance in which you want to practice clear communication in order to avoid any confusion.
When interviewing a potential home builder, frankly discuss what kind of warranty is available. You don’t want to assume that something is under warranty and then, should it break, find out that it isn’t covered.
Do not hesitate to ask questions. Make sure that you understand what kind of warranty is available from the very beginning.
6. How many homes do you currently have under construction?
Building a custom home is a big undertaking, and you want to make sure that your potential home builder will take it seriously.
Feel free to be direct and ask him/her how many homes he/she currently has under construction. This will give you an idea of how closely the builder will be able to monitor your home, personally.
If you feel that the builder may not be able to give you the attention that you want and/or need, don’t settle. It is important that you find a home builder that you can trust and with whom you can feel comfortable.
7. Do you have any model homes I can tour?
Of course, there is no way to see what your custom home will look like before it is built (it will be, after all, one-of-a-kind). However, you can request to look at a potential home builder’s model homes, if he/she has any.
Taking a tour of a model home will provide you with two benefits. For one, it can help you to visualize what kind of design features you might want to see in your own future home.
It will also give you a chance to evaluate the potential home builder’s work. What is his/her style and craftsmanship like? Does it seem like this builder is a good match for you?
8. What is your estimated time for completion?
Building a custom home can be a lengthy process. As one would expect, there are a lot of steps and decisions to be made along the way. (For more information, check out an Overview of the Home-Building Process: What to Expect.)
Before you jump into the construction process blindly, discuss a timeline with the potential homebuilder. Being upfront about an estimated schedule (and an estimated end date) from the beginning will keep you and the home builder on the same page throughout construction.
After all, a clear line of direct communication is key for an organized, stress-free experience.
9. When do I need to decide on cabinets, paint colors, lighting, etc.?
Most likely, this question will be addressed when discussing a timeline for the building process – but it is always a good idea to reiterate for clarity. After all, you want to discuss not only what the potential home builder is responsible for, but what you will be responsible for as well.
For example, deciding on cabinets for the bathrooms and kitchen, paint colors and/or wallpaper, light fixtures, and any other interior hardware is your responsibility.
Talk with the home builder ahead of time to determine when you will need to have made these decisions. If everyone adheres to the agreed schedule, the home-building process will run smoothly and efficiently.
10. What differentiates you from other builders?
Finally, this is the question you should ask that will be the most personal. It is an opportunity for you to discover the potential home builder’s personality and the style of his/her work.
What makes this builder different than the competitors? What is something special that this builder can bring to the table?
Taking the time to open this conversation will help you to learn a little bit more about the people with whom you’ll be working and if they will be a good match for you and your home. After all, you want to enjoy, not only the final product (your home), but the process that it takes to create it!
Building a new, custom home is an exciting process. Naturally, you will want to work with a home builder who understands what you want and knows how to deliver it.
At Brendon Properties, we have over 40 years of development experience and we approach every new project with our trademark attention-to-detail and expert craftsmanship – but don’t just take our word for it!
When you’re ready, contact us to talk about building your dream home.
Visit Brendon Properties to learn more.