Building a new house is stressful enough, but choosing the wrong builder makes the process even more nerve-racking. Finding a good builder is one of the most important steps in completing your new home, but many people aren't even sure where to begin the search for a builder.
Start in the Right Place
The National Association of Home Builders recommends that consumers contact the local association of home builders association to obtain a list of member builders. The association offers a list of local home builders groups on their website, or you can check the Parade of Homes website to search for a builder. If you are in contact with a local real estate agent, ask her for a list of reputable dealers. Finally, ask neighbors whose homes have been built in the last four or five years about their builder and if they are happy with the job he did.
Although it is important to hire a builder who is qualified, the last thing you want to do is pay more than is necessary. Gather quotes from the list of builders you’ve collected. Make sure you understand what is included in each quote. Does the builder include cleanup of the job site and finish work, such as landscaping in the overall cost? Also, similar materials should be listed for both quotes, including any included appliances, kitchen cabinets, flooring and windows.
Consider the Builder's Specialty
You wouldn't hire a heating and cooling specialist to install your plumbing or a plumber to replace your roof, so don't hire a commercial builder to create a 1400-square-foot ranch home. Ask the builder about other projects he's worked on that are similar to yours. Find out if he has pictures and if you can speak to those homeowners about his work.
Research Your Top Three Builders
Narrow down the choices to three builders you might like to use. Do your homework on these builders. The National Association of Home Builders suggests contacting other people the builder has completed homes for and asking questions like if the project was completed on time and on budget and if there were any major issues. Also, visit the Better Business Bureau website to see if any complaints have been filed against the builder and if they were resolved.
If a builder has completed 30 houses similar to yours, he is more likely to anticipate and resolve the common issues that arise with building a new home than a builder who has only one other home under his belt. Find out how many houses your builder has completed and the sizes of those projects.
Lori Soard has been a writer since 1995, covering a variety of topics for local newspapers and magazines such as "Woman's World." For five years, she served as a site editor for a large online information portal. Soard is also the author of several published books, both fiction and nonfiction.