If you plan to build your own home, you have many choices to make. Not only do you have to design the home the way you want it, but you also have to choose the right home builder. These two issues go hand-in-hand as you figure out what will work for you.
If you focus only on the home design and plans, you could end up with a builder that doesn’t deliver what you wanted. If you focus on who builds the home alongside the plans, you will have a better chance of receiving the dream home you had in mind.
Before you choose a builder, learn the following tips you can use.
Make Your Plans
Start by making a list of what it is you want in a home. In fact, it’s even better if you have actual drawings of what you want as your home. This way when you do shop for builders, you can show them exactly what you want and get bids that will be accurate for your needs.
Making sure you have plans first will also help you narrow down the type of builder you need. Will you need specialists to help the general contractor build certain areas of the home or is everything straightforward? Again the plans and lists will let companies know what you need upfront, giving them a better chance of providing you with an accurate estimate.
Start Shopping for a Builder
Once you have an idea of what you want, it’s time to start shopping for a builder. We recommend that you make a long list of builders and then narrow it down from there.
You can find builders by contacting your local builders’ association. The association will have a list of member builders that meet their specific criteria. This can help take some of the work off you as you do your research to determine if a company is legitimate. Of course, you should still do your own homework, but at least you will have a good starting point.
You can also reach out to community resources to find builders. Talk to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and real estate attorneys. Each of these professionals often has business relationships with people throughout the building industry, giving you access to more resources in the area.
Of course, you can also reach out to family and friends that have recently built a home. Talk to them about their experience and ask whether they would refer their builder or recommend that you go elsewhere.
Once you have a list of builders, it’s time to start the interview process. No matter how much you read about a specific company, you want to hear for yourself what they have to offer and see how they can meet your needs. Ask builders for referrals and even if you can see their finished products to determine if their style is something you like.
You’ll want to ask the builder about their fees, warranty program, their financial status, and whether they are licensed, insured, and bonded. These factors play an important role in the success of your home project. For example, if a company isn’t insured and an accident occurs, you could be liable for the costs. Also, don’t forget to ask about their timeline. You’ll want to make sure it fits within your needs.
Don’t be shy when interviewing companies – ask as many questions as you want as they could be building one of the largest investments of your lifetime.
We recommend that you secure bids from at least three builders, if not more. The bid you receive may seem completely different, which is why it’s important to have as many as you are comfortable with to compare.
Don’t focus only on the cost, but on the timeline and offerings as well. For example, one company may offer a low bid compared to others, but take twice as long to build the home. Is this something you are willing to accept or is paying the higher fees worth it to you?
You’ll want to focus on what the builder provides you with as well. Are all features included? Can you make changes as you go along and something doesn’t seem right? Is there a home warranty included? These are the things that may not cost money, but will add value to the project in the end.
Evaluate the Contract
We recommend higher a real estate attorney for this step. Building a home is a big undertaking. Entering into a contract that isn’t fair or conducive to your needs could leave you in financial ruin. Don’t let that happen to you. Employ the services of a real estate attorney that is well versed in new construction. Let him tell you what he sees wrong with the contract so that you can request the necessary changes.
If the builder isn’t willing to negotiate the contract, it could be the way out that you need, allowing you to see what other builders have to offer. There are many builders out there so don’t think you have to settle on the first one you find. If something isn’t right in the contract, don’t give up until you get the terms that are most feasible for you.
Finding the right builder takes a lot of work and patience. Don’t assume that any company will do. You need to know what you want and how soon you need it before you can even start the search. Once you are at that point, it’s time to shop, compare, and decide who will deliver the home that you desire.