When it comes to choosing a new home builder, it’s important to do some background checking and research before making a decision. Sometimes people don’t do enough investigation and end up sorry that they didn’t spend a bit more time reviewing a builder’s credentials. A few recommendations from friends often aren’t enough as each person’s tastes and ideas of quality are different. If one lives in Connecticut for example, there are a number of builders who specialize in new home construction. Whether one lives in the CT area or elsewhere, some initial time spent researching builders can help head off potential problems.
No one can guarantee that researching builders’ credentials will prevent all problems. However it’s important to do more than call a few homeowners for testimonials. Consumers should walk through some of the homes that the contractor has built to get a first-hand feel for the quality of the workmanship. Usually builders have model homes or recently constructed homes that people can tour. During these tours it’s a good idea to bring a list of comments and questions such as:
1) What is your experience? How many homes have you built in this area? Where are they located?
2) Do you offer a wide range of home plans?
3) Do you have a design center store that I can visit?
4) Which features in your model homes are standard or optional?
5) Can I design my home using your online tools?
6) What is the pricing procedure? I’d like to know the total price before I sign any agreements.
7) If you need to replace any of the materials we agreed on with a different material, I would like to approve that decision.
8) Who will my point of contact be during the construction process?
9) How long approximately will the construction process take?
10) What warranties do you offer?
These are just a few of the types of questions that consumers should ask when researching home builders. Another point that is worth bringing up is the origin of the materials to be used in construction. Some consumers have had poor experiences with drywall from Chinese sources, for example. New homeowners should ask builders about and get proof of the origin of drywall and all materials, to ensure that the home is built with top quality products.
One of the most important points in the construction process is good communication. Especially if one is not located within easy driving distance of the construction site, excellent phone and online communication will be essential. Consumers are encouraged to find out who the main point of contact is and insist upon frequent updates on the construction process. Ideally a first class home builder will not wait for the homeowner to track him or her down. The builder will ensure that the communication process is as faultless as the building’s construction.
John Trestman offers his insights on home construction and the building industry taken from his many years working for a new home builder in Connecticut.