We’ve all heard the horror stories. Choosing the wrong builder can turn your dream home into a nightmare. There’s even a joke about it – “if your marriage can survive building a new home, it can survive anything.”
Whether it’s your first home, next home or last home, building a new home should be fun and relatively stress free if you choose a good builder.
When looking for a builder, consider these 5 important attributes:
1. A good builder belongs to the local builder’s association. The Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana has a high code of ethics and encourages continuing builder education. Plus, participation in the local, state and national Home Builders Association can help assure a builder is keeping up on the latest trends and technologies in home building. Go to hbanwi.com for a list of current builder members.
2. A good builder has experience in the local market. Along with finding out how long your builder has been in business, ask about local projects. While it says something if the builder has been in business a long time, there’s added value from a builder who knows the local market and can provide local references. Remember a good deal is not necessarily the same thing as a good job. A builder with an established local reputation for quality and dependability is more likely to be invested in the community in a number of ways.
3. A good builder clearly spells out what’s included. Whether you’re building a starter home or an expensive custom home, you should get what you want. After all, that’s why you’re buying new. It can often be more important to know what is not included than what is included. Any and all questions should be resolved before you get started. Clarify how “change orders” will be handled. You should always have a clear set of the home building plans, a detailed specification sheet with styles, allowances and colors. A scaled plot plan should also be included, and you and your builder should sign everything.
4. A good builder warranties his work. When it comes right down to it, the difference between a good builder and a not-so-good builder is that a good builder takes care of any problems, and there will always be issues to address during construction, as well as adjustments after completion. In addition to checking out a builder’s reputation, carefully review the warranty, and ask about the method used to track warranty issues and insure completion.
5. A good builder communicates clearly from beginning to the end. You should always have someone to go to for answers to questions or for concerns. You should have clear-cut guidelines communicated to you from start-up right on through construction to the final walk-through and closing. There should be time line communication from your builder explaining what’s needed before a certain process is initiated and what is to be expected in change orders. A good builder has clear communication between your sales representative and his sub contractors, vendors and superintendents. Experienced builders use the same high-quality people over and over, which can eliminate many potential problems.