There are guidelines and procedures for learning how to choose a homebuilder for a new home. Building a new home is a learning process for most families, but not one to go into with a trial and error approach. Selecting a homebuilder is one of the most important decisions in building a home. The structural integrity of the home, its overall look, and your overall satisfaction with the house depend on your choice.
The first step is to develop a list of homebuilders in your area. Consult the Homebuilders Association in your area, use the phone book and ask friends and acquaintances in order to create a complete list of contractors and home builders. Don’t limit your search to any one group. Consider local home builders as well as national companies. It is important to start out with an open mind and consider all your options.
Decide on the overall size and style of the home. Research styles to learn exactly which look you want your home to have. Consider whether you want the home builder to complete the home and outfit it with cabinets and appliances, or build a shell and allow you to complete it. Make your decisions as you research home builders.
Ask as many real estate agents, loan officers, and other professionals in the home building industry as possible, which home builders they recommend and if there are any they do not recommend. Ask among your friends what they have heard about local home builders as well. Write down all the replies and their source to determine reputability.
Conduct an online search for each homebuilder you are considering first to examine their websites, and then with words like, complaint, scam and lemon house to learn of any dissatisfied customers. Read complaints and consider if these complaints are reasonable and justified. Look for serious complaints about structure and weigh them more heavily than other complaints.
Visit all open house events in the area, especially older homes, and ask the realtors who the builder was. Seeing how a house has held up over the years, can tell a lot more about the quality of the homebuilder, than touring a brand new model home. When you tour homes, ask to look in the attic or crawl space if possible. You don’t actually have to enter the area, simply open the crawl space or attic door and look in at the floor joists, ceiling joists and roof trusses. Notice especially the size of the lumber used, and the craftsmanship involved.
If you see a new home construction going up, ask builders if you may watch or look at the home. Ask who the builder is, and any other questions you feel comfortable asking. Any time you have the opportunity to inspect bare framing, go and look. You might also want to check out some YouTube videos on various homebuilding techniques.
Read the many articles on this site, and download our 98 page book on home planning to learn more about the homebuilding process. Do more extensive research on aspects that interest you. This will help you to understand more about what to look for in the builder, and clarify your preferences in materials.
As you learn more about the homebuilders in your area, begin to cross off the names of builders you do not want building your home. Put a star beside the builders who impress you most. Consider which builders build homes most like the home you want to build. Cross off builders who use styles you do not like, or have built homes that did not hold up well.
Select four to six home builders to interview and obtain quotes from. When visiting the home builders or contractors, avoid speaking about the cosmetic aspects of the interior for a while, and discuss construction quality and building materials. Ask about the thickness and grade of all the lumber used, and establish the importance of energy efficiency and insulation. Describe exactly what type of home you want, and share with him your home building journal. Be sure to keep the description of your home and any illustrations you may have the same from one builder to another.
Explain carefully to the builder that you wish to visit your construction site frequently, and photograph the progress. Explain that your visits will not take long, and that you will avoid interrupting work. Be sure to establish your right to visit the site in advance. At some point, if you are truly interested in this builder after the interview, obtain a quote, a materials list, and a sample contract. Ask which warranty company they use, and any other questions you have. Inform them that
When you have collected sample contracts from all the builders you are considering, read them carefully and look for arbitration clauses, and other language that would limit your rights. Home buyers should never even consider signing an arbitration clause. Next have your attorney look over all the sample contracts you are considering. Tell him that you do not want to sign a contract with any arbitration language, and want to make sure your interests are protected. Eliminate contracts that have arbitration language, and then review the remaining bids.
When considering bids, make sure that all the bids describe the same house, and that the materials used are of equal quantity and quality. Price is not the greatest consideration in this case, and quality of construction will more than pay for itself in time. Narrow your choices based not only on price, but also on your impressions of the home builder or contractor, the tone of the contract, the quality of the warranty, the better materials list before even thinking about price. If there is a huge discrepancy in price with one bid a lot higher than the others, try to determine why, by viewing the materials list. If you can find no good explanation consider disqualifying the quote that seems overpriced. Gradually weed out the choices until you select the builder you wish to deal with.
Selecting the right builder can be a long process, but also one that is enjoyable and very worthwhile. Look for signs of quality craftsman ship, and select a home builder with an honest and straightforward demeanor. By learning how to choose a homebuilder for a new home, you insure that your home will be all you dreamed of and more.