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Sep
11
Selecting the Perfect Builder

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Selecting The Perfect Builder

You want a professional and reputable home builder, but how do you determine if they hold these qualities? How will you avoid a potential money pit and end up with your dream home? The more you invest in this process, the better the home you’ll have when you’re done.



What do YOU want?

Prior to making contact with any prospective builders, make sure you have taken the time to think about what YOU want. Once the process is finished, you may be living with your decision for many years to come. Decide the type of home, the scope of the project, and your budget. Many builders specialize in certain areas of building and having a sense of what you hope to achieve will help narrow down your choices significantly. Not only will this help you choose a builder that fits your specific needs but will also allow you to more accurately discuss time frames and overall pricing.




Consider answering these questions before setting out to find a builder. The answers to these questions are paramount and should carry significant weight in your decision-making process.

  1. What can I afford? Gain a minimum of least two estimates of your present home’s fair market value then pre-qualify with a lender. Sometimes lenders will also have suggestions on which builders might meet your needs.
  2. Have I selected a site? (You’ll want to do decide on the site first, then build a home.)
  3. Will the site location restrict certain builders?
  4. Have I included all key family members in important design and cost decisions?
  5. Do I have a set of plans for my new home?
  6. Do I have to sell my existing home before I can make a decision?
  7. Have I listed my preferred amenities and associated costs?




Talking with Builders - The Bidding Process

After you have thought about exactly what you want and have completed some research into builders, it’s time to start talking with builders. Clearly communicating your preferences in the bidding process is critical to a successful outcome. Should communication not be clear, problems can occur, making it difficult to compare pricing. Place your requirements in writing to each builder. This will cut down on the chances of miscommunication. Your plan should include all room dimensions, all outside elevations and all structural components including foundation specifications. Plans can be obtained from plan services, architects, lumberyards and builders. The specifications materials list will be one of the most significant costs to build your home, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible. Most builders have their own specifications format, here is an example of a specification list. The idea is to gain multiple estimates for the same work, this way, you will be able to quickly see how these companies differentiate from one another. A reputable builder will appreciate your research, preparation and involvement. The key is to find the right builder that meets all your requirements.



One way to research builders is to approach the companies that sell materials. They may have insights into Builders’ quality and real estate agents that can help as well. One question for suppliers might be, “Who do you believe are the top three builders in the area, and why do you think so?” After you ask a few materials companies, you may see a pattern emerge surrounding the builders in your area.

If you are planning on building a home that is extraordinary in size or design, another consideration may be engaging a registered architect. If this is the direction you would like to move toward, consider duplicating this process to identify an architect.

It is helpful to ask many questions before actually hiring a builder because philosophies regarding service, quality and efficiency can vary immensely. After all, you will spend considerable with them (Unless they hand the job off to others. If having the builder on the job is essential to you, bring that question up as well).





To help you with this important decision, consider asking the following questions.

  1. What is your policy on service after the sale and do I receive it in writing?
  2. How long do you guarantee your workmanship?
  3. Do you have a “service reserve” built into the bid, if so, how much is it?
  4. How do you control your sub-contractors if they have to come back after completion?
  5. Is the sub-contractor work guaranteed, if so, by the subcontractor or by you?
  6. What is your policy on change orders?
  7. Do you guarantee a completion date, if so, how?
  1. Are you licensed? If so, by whom and what are the requirements?
  2. How long have you been in the business and how long on your own?
  3. Can you provide client contact information of the four most recent homes you built?
  4. Do you have a finished home I can see?
  5. Do you have insurance, liability and workman’s compensation?
  6. May I see an example of the contract and specification sheet that I will be asked to sign?
  7. What is included in the clean-up portion of your bid?
  8. What are the details of your billing/invoicing process?
  9. How does your company handle lien wavers?
  10. What sets you apart from your competi­tion and why should I choose you?
  11. Can I choose my own suppliers? Walk me through how this world work.

Compare each builders’ answers against what is important to you. Then, surmise all this information to make your final decision. Remember, some builder’s preferences may not coincide with yours, and that is ok.




Good luck at selecting the best builder for YOU!



If you have any questions, we’re happy to help! Contact us directly at BrandyCoffey941@gmail.com or 941.404.4737.

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