Selecting the right building company according to your needs and for the type of new house you are looking for is one of the most important decisions you will make in the process of buying your home.
Fortunately, there are some proven ways to speed up the research and selection process, and help ensure that you find a quality builder that is the ideal choice to build your home.
In all, this tip can speed up your search for a construction company and increase your confidence in that decision.
10 Steps to select the right builder
- Define your needs: What size, type and range of house prices do you need?
- Experience tells: Although every builder was once new, experience matters.
- Are previous buyers satisfied? Request and verify references from previous buyers.
- Verify that the builder or building company is licensed (as appropriate) and is properly insured.
- Does the design fit? Does this builder have experience in the style of home you are looking for?
- Guarantee and service: How does this constructor work in each of these areas?
- Resale value: Have the previous houses of this constructor maintained or increased its value?
- Participation in the industry: Is the construction company a member of the local association of builders?
- Tour models or houses of clients: There is no substitute for this step.
- Look for signs of quality: As for labor, materials and practices, when you walk through these houses.
Here are some additional details about the steps above:
- Define your needs
Although some builders build a wide range of houses, many also specialize in a specific type of house, price range or style. For example, not many companies build homes to start for homebuyers for the first time, and neither do multimillion dollar homes for wealthy home buyers. Building materials, specialized contractors and even the construction process can differ greatly depending on the type and price of the house. Look for something that fits.
- Experience counts
All of the construction companies, including the most experienced and reputable ones, have ever built their first home. And many construction companies started with experienced veterans from other construction companies. Do not discard a new company in advance, especially if your team includes experienced professionals, but look for experience in general and the type of home you are looking for.
- Are previous buyers satisfied?
Many builders offer customer referrals. If not, ask. In any case, follow up. Some questions that would be good to do: Would you buy another house from this builder? And do not forget to ask the main reasons why a former buyer would recommend or not a construction company.
- Is the builder licensed and insured?
Not all states or areas require builders to have a license, but be sure to work with a licensed builder if required. Ask about what insurance the builder and the specialized contractors have. Make sure they and you are covered during the construction process.
- Does the design fit?
A builder whose portfolio consists exclusively of contemporary homes may not be the best choice for that traditional home you are looking for, and vice versa. Although many builders have experience in a variety of design styles and architectural details, in general, look for one whose work includes at least some examples of the style of home you want.
- Warranty and service
One of the main advantages of new constructions is that your home itself and most of the products, systems and components it contains are new in package and are under warranty. The peace of mind that provides knowing that major repairs or a new roof are probably years away is important. In addition, it seeks a structural guarantee of ten years or more on the house itself, ideally transferable to a new owner in case you sell. Also look for a construction company that provides timely and courteous service under warranty and that take the time to explain the maintenance and proper care that any house needs.
- Resale value
Good reputations follow good builders, among homeowners and realtors. Look for builders whose houses tend to maintain their value. We know that in recent years the value of housing has fallen a bit for one of the first times in history, because of the market. So this is not an exact science, but when you see that a builder’s houses maintain or increase their value, it’s a good sign. You should also look for ads for real estate agents that specifically mention the name of a home builder for a sale that is already five or seven years old. The real estate agent evidently sees the brand as a great added value.
- Participation in industry
Not every good builder chooses to join their local home builder association, so do not overemphasize this. However, such membership tends to show that a builder is long-term committed to that area. It is also a sign of commitment to the developers of new home communities, construction products suppliers and specialized contractors working in your city or town.
- Visit model houses and/or houses that this builder has done for buyers in the past
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a list of possible builders using these criteria, this is the most important step. Nothing replaces seeing personally houses built by a builder or construction company on your short list. It can be a furnished model house that is open to the public. Or it can be a house built by the builder for a former buyer that you can visit with an appointment. In any case, pay close attention to the look, feel and quality of the house.
- Look for signs of quality
Look for signs of quality building and attention to detail when you visit these homes. Consider also the construction products that the builder uses. Are brands that have earned a well-deserved reputation for quality? What about the houses under construction you went through when you were on your way to see the finished model house? Were there signs of care and attention there as well?
Finally, observe the quality of the people who work for the construction company. Did the employees show sincere interest in you and your needs? Did you listen carefully? Did they give you good answers to your questions? Were they courteous, timely and professional in your interactions with them in the model house, sales center or office?
With the steps above, you will be well on your way to selecting a good builder that is a good fit for you, your needs.