Our home buying new construction tips will focus on comparing builders and their advertising. There are many homebuilders and contractors who can build your home. We are going to look at ways to read their websites, investigate their national or local reputations, discover more about their services, and decide which builder will have the privilege of building your home.
Home Buying New Construction Tips: Checking out the Website
Go to each site and compare what they have to say. Start with the “About Us” button. Find out how long they have been in your area, and try to glean the size of the company. Are they a national company with a location in your area? Are they local homebuilders? Do they have a lot of employees and their own work crews, or is it just a small office staff and a contractor? All these things are a matter of personal taste, but it is a good sign if they’ve been in business for decades.
Check the other Features on the site. Some home builders list their prices while others do not. If they list prices, keep in mind that these are most likely prices of homes without the upgrades. They may also show different promotional pitches such as free upgrades. On the other hand they may have a more traditional approach, and discuss their long reputation, or feature a lot of pictures of their work. All this helps you get a feel for their work, and their style of doing business.
Now search for complaints on line. This should be a long exhaustive search. Take your time, typing in the company name, and words like complaint, lemon, scam, dissatisfied and other terms to indicate customers may not be happy. Use an advanced search to keep the company name as an exact match, and remember to define your location as part of the search, if it is a local business.
Read any and all complaints and consider what has been said. Not all complaints are justified, and of course everyone makes mistakes. What you are looking for is companies who do not respond quickly to complaints, and leave customers dissatisfied. Also consider how many complaints each builder has, and how serious the complaints are. “My house is collapsing” is much more serious than “I don’t like the paint.”
Ask local realtors, loan officers, subcontractors, building inspectors, real estate attorneys and other professionals you may know, or be able to meet, to recommend three builders each. If they are comfortable discussing it, ask if there is anyone they would not recommend. Compare your results. What names keep cropping up? Consider homebuilders who have many recommendations and avoid those who have a lot of negative comments.
Attend open houses, not only of new homes, but also of older homes for sale by this builder. If possible, visit a current construction site as well. Be sure to look in the crawlspace or basement. Even check in the attic if possible. When checking out a construction site, look at the studs if they are exposed, and examine the overall craftsmanship. Look for quality construction, and adequate use of lumber. Notice especially how well the older homes are holding up. Take notes and take photos with your camera phone to help you remember what you saw.
Choosing a great home builder or contractor is one of the most important steps to buying a great new home. Find more home buying new construction tips, download our 98 page free book, and read the other articles on this site.