Whether you are looking to buy your first home, or are preparing to move from your current one, the idea of building your own house from scratch, where you can design everything to your liking, can be quite an appealing idea.
But, like any other move in real estate, it requires some careful forethought to ensure you are going about things in the right way, and will get your desired result. One of the most important considerations is choosing your builder. Here are just a few important points to keep in mind during the selection process.
Define Your Needs
Many builders construct a variety of homes, while others are more specialized in terms of style or price range. For example, you probably won’t find an abundance of builders that provide both multimillion dollar mansions and starter homes for the first-time buyer. Carefully defining your needs for your new home is the crucial firsts step for lining yourself up with the best builder for your project.
Putting Together a List of Possible Builders
Naturally, one of the first things you need to do is put together a list of candidates, and you want some solid sources that give you some solid choices. Your local home builder’s association, which can be found at nahb.org/findanhba, is a great starting point.
Your local paper’s real estate section can also provide some leads, as well as give you an idea of the types of homes being built and approximate costs. Check with local real estate agents when searching for a home builder—often times, you may be able to find information right on their websites. If not, definitely make a phone call.
Evaluating Your Options
Once you have put together a list of candidates, it is time to do your homework, and narrow down your options. You need to gauge their reputation and quality of work. Request the addresses of homes and subdivisions recently constructed.
See if the builder can provide the names of previous clients who would talk to you directly about their experience. Head out on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and see if you can catch any home owners outside and chat them up about their house and experience with the builder. The more people you can talk with, the more accurately impression you can put together. Ask them if they are happy with the home, if there were any issues and how they were addressed, and if they would use the builder again.
Keep notes on all your conversations with builders and home owners. Write down any impressions and other pertinent information that will help in your comparisons.
Open houses sponsored by builders, and home shows are two great ways to evaluate builders. The furnished houses in home shows can give you a better idea of how you might use the space. If you prefer, ask the builder to see an empty home.
When looking at homes, closely eye every aspect of the construction to gauge the quality. Ask lots of questions, and get as specific as possible.