How to Find a Home Builder: 4 Tips For Choosing a Contractor For New Build Homes

Tips for Choosing a New Construction Home Builder

Buying a house is one of the most significant purchases a person can make in their lifetime—it's also one of the most personal. And when building a new construction home, the process can be even more personal.

That's why choosing the right builder is extremely important. When purchasing property, there are several factors to consider: new build versus ready-built. While buying ready-built can be a quicker process, there is the possibility that the house still needs work before it's ready to be moved into. With a new build, one can design a property to their tastes and specifications.

A newly built property carries lower maintenance costs (older properties are costly to maintain!). Still, several things must be considered before embarking on a new construction journey. By keeping these things in mind, you'll be well on your way to choosing the right new construction home builder for you.

Can The Builder Readily Answer Questions Put to Them?

When planning a new home construction, selecting the builder is crucial to the project's success. Building a home is very different from purchasing a ready-built property. There may be hidden costs to consider. That's why communication between the homebuyer and the builder is crucial. Take note of how they answer questions about the build process. How do they react to being questioned? Are they happy to discuss concerns? Do they give satisfactory answers to questions posed to them?

There are several areas where a builder should be able to provide detailed and informed information. These include:

  • Warranties: Are warranties provided? If so, what do they cover? How long do the warranties last? A good rule of thumb is that the construction work is covered by warranty for at least the first few years, but warranties will vary. Quality warranties show that a builder protects the buyer and places the needs of the buyer first. Home builders that do not provide a good warranty present more risk to buyers.
  • Financing Plan: How does the builder expect to be paid? Is the expectation that the payment is in one lump sum, or will the cost be split over several payments?
  • Customization Options: How flexible is the builder? What aspects of the new construction can be customized, if any? How open is the builder to talking through customization options? How open are they to a customer's input?
  • Expected Timeline: What are the build's timeline, milestones, and deadline? Make sure the dates are clear. How flexible is the builder if deadlines change? Plus, the best builders will be booked several months out—especially custom home builders. Home buyers should find out what their home builder's timeline is to help them plan for their new construction.
  • What's Included: The price quoted is fundamental to understand when building a new property. For example, is the cost of the lot included in the price? What about painting and decorating? Landscaping? Or is the price just for a basic shell?
  • References for Previous Work: It is crucial to have the opportunity to see a builder's previous work and be able to speak with former customers. Talking to prior clients gives a good sense of who the builder is and how they manage a project. You should ask questions like when they worked with the builder, what challenges there were and how the builder handled them, and if they would recommend the builder.

What Does Their Paperwork Look Like?

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Builder

A builder's construction skill is one of many things that need to be considered. How they handle a build's administration and project management is also important.

Some questions to ask during the due diligence process are:

  • Does the builder have up-to-date liability insurance and workers' compensation? Accidents happen, things go wrong, materials get delayed, and items don't always fit. It's essential to ensure the builder has the appropriate insurance just in case the worst happens. It's best to make sure the contractor has every eventuality covered.
  • Does the builder have a clear and understandable written contract? Clear communication helps ensure everyone is on the same page and increases the likelihood of successful completion. A professional contract protects both the buyer and the builder.
  • Is the builder in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and the local homebuilders association? Professional reputation can make or break a business. If due diligence is done properly, it will be clear how the builder handles customer service and project management.
  • Does the builder have the proper permits and licenses? This is one of the most important things to note, as issues with permits and licenses can lead to legal consequences down the line.
  • Does the builder have other certifications? Certifications and memberships with associations are other indications that a contractor is skilled and able to do the work well. Information about such memberships may be available on the builder's website, where they provide information about their qualifications.
  • Has the builder been in business for a while? Experience can be an indicator of a contractor's skill and good business practices. Although brand-new builders may be very skilled tradesmen, builders who have been doing the job for longer will have more references, a larger portfolio, and refined customer service practices.

What Kinds of Build Does the Builder Specialize In?

As part of the research process, consider what type of construction work the builder specializes in. If their experience is in commercial property, they are probably not the construction company to choose for a residential property building project.

Viewing previous work will indicate how they finish their work and their attention to detail.

Look at the volume of work they carry out over a year. Are they taking on multiple projects at the same time? Do they have the staff to handle all that work? How does working on those projects affect the finish of their work? It will become clear which construction company finishes their work to a high standard and gives excellent customer service.

What Are Previous Customers Saying?

We've already spoken about speaking with previous customers and viewing previous work before deciding on a contractor, but let's examine those in a little more detail.

Looking at online reviews is an excellent place to start the research process. Reviews will give an idea of how the chosen contractor is generally received. Speaking with previous clients is also a good source of information about the builder.

If possible, speak with contractors' suppliers, as this will also set the scene for how they do business. Are they reliable to work with? Do they pay their suppliers on time?

Final Thoughts On Choosing a Builder

When choosing a builder for a construction project, there is a lot to think about. Make sure that time is dedicated to research and consider what is essential in a residential build. Is the builder chosen going to be able to recreate the vision for the new property? Make sure the research process looks at several different contractors rather than picking the first company encountered. Once a build has been started, changing the builder part way through is costly and can be challenging.

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