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8 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Home Builder

Few things feel as good as finally being in a position to have a home you can call your own. 

It’s great if you choose to buy an existing house. It’s also just as amazing if you build an entirely new home. Deciding on whether to buy or build is only the tip of the iceberg. If you go the latter route, however, you have to make sure that you put the project in the hands of a highly-capable home builder. After all, it is your home, and you would want nothing less than the best available home builders to work on it for you.

To find the right custom home builder, you will need to interview several candidates for the job. So line them up, and ask them the following questions:

How long have you been building custom homes?

While experience is not a guarantee that a home builder is that good, more years in the business tend to mean that the builder must be doing decent work at the very least, or that builder wouldn’t have lasted that long.  Besides, the longer the experience, the more knowledgeable about new home construction a builder would be.

Can I see your previous work?

A portfolio would be nice. Seeing in person the actual houses the candidate has built over the years would be even better. So ask the candidate if something like that can be arranged so you can see for yourself if you’re going to like that builder’s work.

Can you work where I want to build my home?

Assuming that the location of the build is in a remote location, you have to know if the candidate will commit to working there. Far too many projects have been put on hold because of the unwillingness of builders to do their thing in distant or hard-to-reach project locations.

How is your knowledge of relevant building codes?

One of the most frustrating parts of any construction project is the possibility of an already-finished structure being taken down upon the order of local authorities because it violated certain aspects of state and local building codes. To avoid this costly mistake, hire only home builders who are up to date on building codes.

Will you be working on other projects besides this one?

That question may sound like you’re implying that the candidate must work exclusively on your new home construction, but that isn’t really the case. 

If the candidate you’re interviewing has a massive operation with lots of personnel and equipment, then you probably won’t have to ask this question. The builder will probably work on other projects simultaneously, and his or her company will be able to handle it. But if you’re talking to a builder with a smaller company, you have to make sure that the builder will commit to your project and its timetable, or your custom home will take a long time to finish. You wouldn’t want to be working with a small home builder who accepts every client that comes along but doesn’t have the resources to work on all of them at the same time.

If you take on this job, how are we going to communicate?

A candidate that plans to communicate with you by phone, email, or Skype is good, but one who has a software-driven system would be even better. Such systems make sending out progress reports and other pertinent project-related matters a lot easier.

Do you have insurance?

Insurance protects you from liability for any personal injury or property damage that might occur at the site of your new home construction, so never forget to ask a candidate if he or she has the right contractor's insurance policies. And don’t just take a home builder’s word for it. Always ask for proof of insurance.

Is your work guaranteed?

A one-year warranty is par for the course, but some home builders provide a structural warranty of up to 10 years.

These are just some of the most basic questions you need to ask before hiring a home builder. Building a home and moving to South Carolina will be one of the most exciting and fulfilling decisions you make, especially when backed up by the expertise of the Jeff Cook Real Estate team!

Discussion

#1 By Eli Mcmullen at 2/10/2020 9:45 AM

I like that you mentioned how seeing a builder's previous work in-person can help you determine the quality of their services. My wife and I are interested in having a luxury home built so that we have plenty of storage space when we have children. Maybe we should look for a home builder that has plenty of experience with building luxury homes.

#2 By Toby Ryan at 3/30/2020 -1:29 PM

It makes sense that your builder should always be able to prove that they are insured so that you are not responsible for any potential property damages. I remember my sister mentioning that she wants to have a home built on the property she inherited from our father, but she wants to make sure that the existing plumbing system isn't damaged in the process. It might be best for her to find a builder that is insured.

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