How to Choose the Right Home Builder
Selecting the right home building firm for your needs and for the type of new home you seek is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your home buying process. Fortunately, there are some proven ways to speed up the research and selection process and to help ensure that you find a quality builder who’s a good match to construct your new home
Define Your Needs
While some builders construct a broad range of homes, many builders also specialize in a specific type of home, price range, or style. For example, not many firms build starter homes for first-time buyers and also multi-million dollar homes for affluent custom home buyers. The building materials, trade contractors and even the building process itself can differ greatly by type and price of home. Look for a fit here. Then, be ready to make sacrifices, as it isn’t always easy finding a home that meets all the criteria to be your dream home. In fact, a 2016 report from Bank of America found that 95 percent of first-time buyers are already willing to make sacrifices in order to make homeownership a reality.
Every home building firm (including the most experienced and well-regarded companies today) once built their first home. And many new home building firms were started by experienced veterans of other builders. Don’t overly discount a new firm – especially if their team includes seasoned pros – but do look for strong experience overall and in the type of home you seek.
Are Past Homebuyers Satisfied?
Many builders offer customer references and referrals. If not, ask. And in either case, follow up. A few great questions to ask: Would you buy another home from this builder? Or recommend them to close friends or family? And don’t forget to ask for the key reasons why a past home buyer would or would not recommend a builder.
Is the Builder Licensed and Insured?
Not every state or area requires builders to be licensed, but make sure that you work with a licensed builder in such areas. Ask about the insurance that the builder and his or her trade contractors carry. Make sure that they and you are covered during the building process.
Tips for Choosing and Working With a Builder
You may have heard horror stories about problems with builders, budgets spiraling out of control and sites left half-finished. But the reality is that the vast majority of builders are both professional and capable, and you can do a great deal to avoid bad experiences simply through the way you choose, manage and communicate with them. Here’s why it’s worth laying the foundations for a good relationship with your builder — and how to do it well.
Don’t approach a builder too soon. It may seem logical if you’re thinking of having construction work done to start by approaching a builder, but don’t be too hasty. Builders are generally good at pricing once they know exactly what’s wanted, but asking for a price before you have any drawings or detailed information about the project is as good as inviting them to tell you simply what they think you want to hear.
Consider the scope of the project. Find the right kind of building company for your project. The kind of contractor suitable for a luxury retail project has to be highly organized, usually with multiple managers, a well-organized back office, and teams that can operate around the clock and produce exceptionally high-quality work at speed. Such contractors tend to be expensive and for most people would be too much for a kitchen addition or an attic conversion.
Establish whether you need a specialist or just a general builder. A really good general builder is suitable unless the work in question is unusual. For example, a good general builder is perfectly capable of converting an attic or building out a basement. You can, of course, go to a loft or basement company, and they, too, may do a great job. The most important thing is to find someone who will do good work for the right price
Aim for one point of responsibility. Rather than using one general contractor, it may seem wise to try to save money by directly engaging separate tradespeople, such as plasterers, electricians and carpenters.
How to Choose the Right Custom Builder for You
Congratulations! You’re taking the first steps toward building your own custom home. You’ve probably been thinking about your dream home for quite a while. Maybe even spent a few late nights perusing Houzz to get ideas. You may have already chosen the perfect lot or sketched out ideas for a floor plan. Wherever you are in this research phase, we are thrilled that you’ve found us. We make it our mission to provide as many helpful resources to people like you who are embarking upon this exciting custom homebuilding journey.
In this post, we hope to make an incredibly important decision a little less daunting for you. Selecting the right custom homebuilder is absolutely the most impactful decision you will make along the road to your dream home. Choose well and you will have a true partner and advocate. With the right builder you will avoid the all-too-familiar construction horror story and instead end up with a high-quality dream home as well as an enjoyable, smooth, and creatively fulfilling experience for you and your family.
When to choose your builder
The best time to choose your builder is either before you begin the design phase with an architect or very soon after engaging an architect. Bringing a builder on board early in the design phase will ensure that your home’s design and your desired budget stay aligned throughout the process. Actually, a good custom builder will do much more than that during this architectural design phase
Beginning your search
First, you should know that in the state of Texas anyone can be a builder. There are no licenses or certifications required by law here like there are in most other states. Because of this very low barrier to entry, there are hundreds of homebuilders in and around Houston, some better than others.
Dig deep in your research
Now for the fun part. Time to narrow down your list to your top two or three choices. You will want to do this by digging deep with online research AND by reaching out to them through their website or by phone.
most important factors when choosing a builder for your new home
Price and budget
There are specialist builders for first-time buyer homes, mid-range project homes, top-end custom designs, and for the very high budget there are luxury builders.
Reputation and references
Many clients want the perceived security of a household name, with the company’s volume of completed homes guiding their choice. It is very important to read reviews and speak to past or current clients before you sign. A good builder will have no issue with letting you speak to customers and they should be able to supply good, verifiable references.
In today’s highly competitive market, builders are cutting prices to keep busy. That looks good on paper, but cut prices are not sustainable in the long term because every business needs to make money to remain stable into the future.
Home style and preferences
Many builders specialise in certain styles. If you are building a complicated, undercroft three-storey home, don’t choose a small-project home builder who specialises in single-storey display homes. They probably won’t have the staff or trades to move onto a complex construction.
Most builders have a favourite area where their pricing is most competitive, so it’s wise to choose a builder that has a good sample of homes built in your proposed area.
How to choose the right builder for you
When you decide to build your next home, rather than buy it, there’s one thing you simply have to get right: choosing the builder.
Picking the right builder has the potential to make or break the entire experience for you, so it’s something you don’t want to rush.
Check their folio
You’ve no doubt got some idea about the type and style of home you’re hoping to build, so it’s important to find a builder whose skills best align with your plans. Paxino says this part of the process is usually easy, as most builders will have their projects displayed on their websites, or they will be able to provide you with a catalogue of homes they’ve built previously.
Find or ask for references
Some of the best information to assist you in selecting your builder can be gleaned by speaking to people who’ve dealt with them before. “You might be skeptical about who they’re going suggest – whether it’s their brother or someone they know,” Paxino says.
Go the extra mile
You’re going to be paying your builder hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of dollars to construct your home, so a few hours spent doing some extra reconnaissance will be more than worth your while. There’s nothing to stop you knocking on the door of people whose homes have been built by your prospective builder and asking for their opinion. There’s every chance this will be the best and most honest information you’ll receive.
Let’s talk costs
There’s no point in gathering building quotes first, Paxino says, because many of the builders may not be appropriate for your project. So do your research first, narrow the field, and only then start asking for prices from the builders who’ve made your cut. And remember: cheapest isn’t always best