What to look for when picking a builder for your new home

Ginger Dean

January 26, 2016

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

If you're building a new home, you want to work with someone who shares your vision, can work within your deadlines, comes with glowing recommendations, and fits into your budget. Does such a person even exist?

The answer is yes, you just need to know where to look and what questions to ask. Keep these five things in mind when selecting a builder for your new home.

1. Talk with the builder to define your needs

One of the worst things you can do when building a new home is have no idea what you want. This leads to overcharging, unnecessary costs, and a lengthy timeline. Defining your needs will help get an accurate financial estimate on your project.

This will also help you pick a builder who specializes in the kind of home you want and who can help you set realistic goals for what you want out of a new house.

2. Ask for references from past clients

Cheaper doesn't automatically mean better when it comes to building a home. Just because the price is right doesn't mean the quality will be. As a part of the interview process, ask potential builders for references from past clients. This way you can get an idea of the experience and quality of work to come.

3. Get their credentials

Not just anyone can build a new home. Check your builder's professional credentials to make sure the builder is licensed with the proper authorities. It's also important to check registrations with the local state bureaus such as the Residential Builders Commission or a similar body.

4. Factor in overages and time delays

All best laid plans can bring surprises. When it comes to building a new home, these surprises usually cost money and come with time delays. Talk to your builder about possible setbacks so you can prepare financially and set a more flexible timeline for any delays in your project.

5. Check if the work is guaranteed or under warranty

Read the fine print in the contract before you sign and hire a builder. The contract can include financial penalties in case of time delays as well as warranties on the work.

Ask about warranties on parts such as the roof, foundation, and siding to protect yourself in case of any future damage. The builder usually provides warranties on the actual structure whereas parts such as appliances and windows can come with their own warranties from the vendor.

When it comes to your big investment don't be afraid to ask questions and do your homework. The more you know about the home structure and builder the more money you'll save and the protected you'll be.

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