Choosing the right homebuilder is as important as choosing the home’s floorplan or a new neighborhood. It’s a decision that will affect you—positively or negatively—long after your home is built. How do you know what builder is right for you? Unfortunately, you most likely will have to rely on your instincts to make that decision. But there are some guidelines you can follow to help you make that choice.
The builder’s overall reputation is generally an excellent guide. If the company’s reputation is poor, you’re probably not going to want to buy from them. 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. So don’t discount a new firm over an established ones. Homebuilders should include a team of seasoned pros with strong overall experience. It’s okay to conduct an interview-type conversation in your initial meeting. Ask the questions and do your research.
Are past home buyers satisfied? Many builders offer customer references and referrals. If not, ask. Get online and check websites where clients have left feedback about that builder. You can get a general feel of satisfaction just from those ratings alone. Some sites allow you to contact those who have posted a testimonial. Contact them and 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.
The Better Business Bureau is a good place to find out if there have been any major complaints about the builders you’re considering. Very good and very bad builder reputations usually surface quickly. Financial stability of the builder is also an important thing to check. Don’t be afraid to ask for bank references. Good builders will supply them willingly.
Good reputations follow good builders, among homeowners and Realtors. Look for builders whose homes tend to hold or maintain their value. Look for Realtor ads that specifically mention the name of a builder for a home for sale that’s now five or seven years old. That Realtor clearly sees the builder’s brand name as a big plus.
Licensed and Insured
Is the builder licensed and insured? Not every state or area requires builders to be licensed, so make sure that you inquire about that in the intial meeding. 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.
Warranty and Service
Look for a builder who provides prompt and courteous service under warranty. One who takes time to explain the proper maintenance and care that any home needs. The advantage of new construction is that the home and most of the products, systems and components it contains are brand-new and under warranty. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that major repairs or a new roof are likely years away is important. In addition, look for a structural warranty of ten years or longer on the home itself, ideally transferable to a new owner should you sell.
Tour Model Homes
This is a make-it or break-it deal. Ask to tour a home model from the builder. Nothing substitutes for touring a home built by a builder on your short list. It can be a furnished and decorated model home that’s open to the public. Or, it can be a home the builder constructed for a past buyer that you visit by appointment. In either case, pay careful attention to the look, feel and quality of the home.
Look for signs of quality construction and attention to detail when you visit the homes above. You don’t have to be an expert in building materials to see if something is made well, or on the cheap. Consider the building products that a builder uses. Are they brands with well-earned reputations for quality? What about other homes that under currenlty construction? Were there signs of care and attention there, as well?
Define Your Needs
While some builders construct a broad range of homes, many builders also specialize in floorplans that my not be customizable. Some firms build starter homes for first-time buyers and some firms construct 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. Pick what fits your budget. Then, be ready to be flexible. It isn’t always easy finding a home that meets all the criteria to be your dream home.
A builder whose entire portfolio consists of contemporary homes may not be the best fit for that highly traditional home you seek – and vice-versa. While many builders have expertise in a variety of design styles and architectural details, in general, look for a builder whose work includes at least some examples of the style of home you want.
Not every good builder chooses to join their local Home Builder Association, so don’t place too much emphasis on this. However, such membership does tend to show that a builder is committed for the long-term to the area. It’s also a sign of commitment to new home community developers, building product suppliers and trade contractors that work in your city or town.
Building Firm’s Staff
Last, look for the quality of people who work for the builder: Did the builder’s employees show sincere interest in you and your needs? Did they listen carefully? Did they provide good answers to your questions? Were they courteous, prompt and professional in your interactions with them in the model home, sales center or builder’s office?
With these steps above, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a good builder who’s a good fit for you, your needs, and the new home you’ll build together.
How to Choose a Home Builder by National Association of Home Builders
6 things to look out for when choosing a builder by Venessa Paech
How to Buy in New Construction by HGTV
How to Find a Good Builder by Homebuilding and Renovating
Hire a Homebuilder to Build Your Dream Home by Angie’s List
Here at Michael Roberts Construction, we make people’s home dreams come true in the Coastal Georgia area. All it takes is a phone call to start the road to a custom home, addition, or remodel. (912) 663-3141
I offer helpful hints, tricks, and other information about the home industry, pictures to provide you with inspiration for your next project, large or small, indoors or out, as well as examples of my work on my Facebook Page, Pinterest and Google Plus!
Michael Roberts artfully combines the latest trends in home construction with classic elements to create an exquisite space for real families to enjoy. Licensed by the State of Georgia as a residential home builder, he thoroughly enjoys every aspect of the home building process. He offers an exemplary hands-on approach to his craft and insists upon working with his customers on a personal level to ensure complete satisfaction. Michael Roberts is a name synonymous with integrity, notable reliability, enthusiastic creativity, and award-winning design in the Coastal Georgia area. With high standards, and a detail oriented approach to home building, Roberts builds functional living spaces that make elegant southern opulence an affordable luxury.