Obtain a list of contractors and home builders in your area. Your local Home Builders Association may be helpful in drawing up a list. Other sources of names addresses and phone numbers include telephone listings, the Local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. If you plan to use specialized materials or alternative green construction you may need to broaden your search outside your hometown.
Do an extensive search on each builder. Learn what sort of homes they build. Look for disgruntled previous clients spreading these names. Search extensively on line, but while you are looking check out the official websites for each contractor. Observe their tastes and the types of homes they build. Consider if those homes look like the home you plan to build.
If you find sites on line with complaints about builders, go ahead and read them, even if they don’t list any of your local builders. These stories will let you know why you are investigating. It is important to remember that only a small percentage of homebuilders and contractors are disreputable, but those who are can wreck your dreams and take your money, leaving you with nothing but a pile of rubble.
In addition to outright disreputable or incapable contractors, there are quality levels in construction. Getting a cheaply built house for a cheap price is not the same thing as being ripped off by a disreputable contractor. Still the results can be at least somewhat similar if you were expecting more. Finding a building contractor to build your home is similar to shopping for anything else. You will pay a little more for quality, but more than that, sometimes skin-deep beauty can cover structural mediocrity or even substandard construction. Just as store merchandise can still be shoddy even if it looks nice, the same is true of houses. What you need to find out is which contractors build a strong sturdy structure.
Take a poll of local realtors, loan officers, subcontractors, and building inspectors. Ask at least ten people in these related businesses, which three contractors they recommend and at least one they would not recommend and why. Compare your answers to see who comes up in each category most often.
Talk to friends and neighbors who have built a home in the last ten years. Find out who their contractor was and discuss the building process. Listen for frustrations, horror stories, and overall satisfaction level with the home, and the way they were treated through the process.
Visit several open house events and find out who the builder is. Then look over the homes carefully. Inspect the crawl space or basement, and attic if possible. It may be a bit awkward but you want to see the quality of construction that doesn’t show from the living room.
Visit a few construction sites just to see how things are done on a job site. Find out who the builder is, and watch as the home takes shape.
Once you’ve crossed off a few non-recommended builders, and have a few stars by the names of builders who are frequently recommended. Consider which of the remaining builders you like most. Select three to six to get estimates from. Make sure your description of what you want and your specifications stay the same, in order to insure bids are fair. Make sure specifications for all materials are listed and that this list has the home builder’s signature on it. Don’t worry so much about finish surfaces, but pay close attention to lumber grades and sizes.
When making your final selection, price should not be the only consideration. Consider the builder’s reputation, and his disposition and that of his staff as well. Remember that you will be dealing with these people for up to a year, so pick someone you instinctively trust and find easy to communicate with. Select the right contractor for your situation. That isn’t always the same person someone else would choose. The home builder selection process is a personal choice, and a matter which you should very carefully consider before making a decision.