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Choosing Your Home Builder: What to look for and stay away from
14 January 2018

Choosing Your Home Builder: What to look for and stay away from

The quality of a home is only as good as the builder, which is why if you are thinking of building a home, you should choose your builder carefully. Consider the following suggestions for choosing a home builder:

Start with a Home Builder's Association

Start with your state or local home builder's association. If the builder you are thinking of using is a member, the association can provide information about the builder. If you are in the market for a custom home or looking for a builder who already has homes for sale, a home builder's association can point you in the right direction.

Contact Your Better Business Bureau

When people are dissatisfied with business services, they generally register complaints with the local Better Business Bureau. Even if there are no current complaints with your potential builder, he or she could have old complaints on file. This history could be helpful because it provides insight into potential problems.

Interview Builders

Once you decide on a list of builders for consideration, contact those builders for interviews. Make a list of questions for the builders and make sure you get straight answers. Some of the questions to ask builders include:

  • Do you provide financing or work with lenders to help me obtain financing?
  • Will I need a construction loan?
  • How much must I pay down to get started?
  • Will you charge extra if I want to make minor changes that do not add square footage or require extra materials?
  • Do you build custom homes?
  • Do you offer a warranty program?
  • Does the price include landscaping?
  • Do you offer any incentives such as appliance upgrades?
  • Is there any chance that the area will be rezoned for other types of development?
  • Can I tour homes that you have built already?
  • Can you provide references of people for whom you have built homes?
  • Do you add natural stones to your homes to increase their value?
  • Have you ever declared bankruptcy or been sued by a customer?

This is not an exhaustive list, but examples of some questions that could help you settle on a builder. You may think of others. If a builder's responses are satisfactory, and if you have his/her work and are pleased, you may be ready to move forward.

Stay away from builders with questionable reputations

If a builder has a reputation for bad work or dishonest financial practices, drop him or her from your list. If you tour a home completed by a builder, look past cosmetic appearance. Its easy to hide low-quality work behind paint and fixtures. If the house is vacant, look inside of closets and cabinets. Look into the crawl space and attic if possible. It may be worthwhile to hire a private home inspector to go with you since he or she knows what to look for. If you talk with a homeowner who is not at all pleased with a builder's work, move on.

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