Few things feel as good as finally being able to construct your own home. Buying a pre-existing home is good, but building your house from the ground up is definitely better since everything about it would be your call. You have the final say on the overall design, the materials to use, and other aspects of your home.
However, your vision for your dream home can only become a reality when you’re working with a good custom home builder, and that’s why you have to do everything you can to select the right one.
You can ask friends and family for referrals or search directories—online and otherwise—for builders with an excellent reputation. And when you’re talking with potential builders, there are questions that you need to ask before picking one. Here are some of those questions.
Do you have a license?
It is not uncommon for people to hire unlicensed home builders because they typically charge less. The problem with builders who operate without a license is that they tend to do not-so-impressive work.
So if you’re trying to save some money by hiring unlicensed builders, know that you will probably spend more to fix or correct whatever mistake they have committed while constructing your dream home. That’s why you must hire a licensed home builder at all times.
How long have you been a builder?
Experience counts in everything, home building included. The longer the experience and the more homes built, the more assured you will be that this builder knows what he or she is doing. Experienced builders are also more likely to listen to your input and incorporate your ideas into the project, as they have worked with a variety of clients long enough to know the importance of following their wishes.
Can you show me your past work?
You will always need to see some of that home builder’s work samples. So ask for a portfolio and see for yourself if the quality of his or her most recent work is up to par. You can even ask to drop by one of the builder’s finished projects and see everything in person. Better yet, talk to the builder’s former clients if you can contact one, and ask about their experience working with him or her.
Are you willing to work where I want to build?
Before entering into an agreement with any builder, you should make sure that it’s alright with him or her to work in the place where you’re building your home. There are builders operating in a certain town or city who aren’t too keen to work on a project 30 miles away.
Are there other projects you will be working on at the same time?
When a home builder has a sizable business, then he or she has workers who can help pull off multiple jobs at the same time. The problem would be a home builder who takes on too many projects but doesn’t have the workforce or equipment to do several jobs at once. So if you’re eyeing a home builder with a small operation, it would be best if you can have him or her commit to your home building project. That way, your dream home will be finished faster.
Are you up-to-date on building code requirements?
Few things are as frustrating as spending a fortune on building your dream home only to be forced to redo it because there are things your builder did that is in violation of local and state building codes. That’s why it’s extremely important for home builders to know building codes like the back of their hand. Don’t hire builders who aren’t updated on them.
What is your timetable for this project?
A good home builder will tell you not only the projected start and finish date but also inform you about the various stages of construction work. He or she will also make it clear to you that delays are always a possibility, and offer contingencies in the event of a delay. With this kind of information, you will be better prepared long before the project breaks ground.
How are we going to communicate?
You may be working with the most experienced and skilled home builder in the business, but everything could fall apart if the communication between the two of you breaks down. That is why it’s imperative that your potential builder presents a clear-cut way for you to communicate with each other.
Most builders would say you can communicate by phone, email, or Skype, and that would be fine. A more dedicated builder, however, would say he or she has a system in place that will make keeping in touch with you a lot easier, and more.
The same system will be recording communications between all parties involved as well as all paperwork. In most cases, the system would be powered by software that does everything mentioned above and helps keep you well-informed from start to finish.
Do you offer a warranty for your work?
A 1-year warranty is par for the course for a reputable builder, but there are some who provide a 10-year structural warranty. As much as possible, you should hire home builders that offer such warranties. In any case, you can always purchase your own additional warranty if you want more coverage.
Can you provide me specifications and cost?
All discussions about building a new home boil down to the cost of the whole thing. If you’re building your home on a budget, you must discuss it thoroughly with the builder. Ask for clear detail specifications from your builder so you can determine together the total cost and figure out how to make your budget fit.
These are just 9 of the questions that you need to ask a potential builder before hiring one. To make sure everything you want to be covered is covered, think up some more questions to help you find the right builder for your dream home.
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