By the time you are ready to consider signing a building a home contract, you should have a good idea what sort of contractor or homebuilder you are dealing with. Home building companies vary a lot in policy and structure. Building a home is a major decision and much of your home building success is determined by the elements of the contract you will be asked to sign.
Be sure that your contract is accompanied by a signed materials list, which specifies the size and type of all materials used on your home. Check the list to make sure every single element is as you have previously discussed and agreed upon.
Explain to your home builder that you intend to visit your new home about twice a week during all phases of construction. Make sure this is agreeable with him, and that there is no language to the contrary in the contract.
Most of the home building complaints on line could have been avoided if the home owners had visited the construction site, observed the construction process, and complained as soon as they saw mistakes made.
Ask for a list of subcontractors. It is nice to have, though some home builders don’t automatically provide this information. It isn’t a necessity, but it is nice to know, so ask your contractor who they use as major subcontractors.
There are certain things you absolutely should not agree to, and one of those is an arbitration clause. An arbitration clause states that any disagreements between you and the builder will be settled by an independent arbitrator. This is a waver of your right to sue under any circumstances. Even more disheartening are the many cases in which the arbitrator is a personal friend, or business partner of the home builder. Arbitration contracts are one of the recurring features in almost all home builder complaints. Just refuse to sign it, and walk out if the contract cannot be written without it. There are many other contractors who would love to build your home.
Before you sign a home building contract you should have an attorney look it over. Ask him to make sure that the contract is fair, and has no arbitration clauses or other language that might restrict your rights as a consumer. If your attorney has problems with the contract then have him to amend it to suit your needs and bring it back to the home builder, with a take it or leave it attitude. Never sign a contract that your attorney has advised you against. Go to another builder if this one will not accept the amended contract.
I’ve heard some real horror stories about home builders and their attitudes toward prospective clients. It is hard to imagine because most home builders are kind and courteous people who will bend over backwards to give you the home of your dreams. Don’t settle for an uncaring home builder who uses slick salesmen and tricky contracts. Insist on talking to the people who will actually be building your home, and also to the people who are ultimately responsible for making sure you are satisfied. There is no reason to feel compelled to allow a company you feel will treat you unfairly to build your home. Try smaller firms if you feel you are getting too much sales talk and not enough facts. Always remember that you are the customer, and the home builder is not doing you a favor when he agrees to build your home. The home building company is going to be paid well enough, and you are signing over the right to control your construction site. Choose wisely and read carefully. Ask for advice and help from a realtor and an attorney before you sign any building a home contract.