The Right Fit: Choosing a Homebuilder

Two construction workers rolling out the building plan on a table littered with construction tool.

Buying a new home is often one of the most important decisions of your life. Do you know how to choose the right builder?

Building a new home is an exciting and nerve-wracking process. One of your first decisions will be one of the most important: Which builder will you entrust with constructing your dream home? Luckily, we’ve talked to the experts and come up with a list of qualities you should look for to ensure that the next 6-12 months run as smoothly as possible and result in a finished product you’ll love. After all, your new home will likely be the most expensive thing you ever purchase. It’s certainly a daunting task, but the experts have provided us with a few clues that will indicate you’ve found the right builder.

Know Yourself

“We find that a vast majority of buyers have no idea of all the options out there,” says Cheryl Julcher, principal and managing broker at Yellow Brick Properties. As someone looking to build a new home, your first step should include some soul searching. What exactly are you looking for in your new home, and are you looking for a specific style or type of home? How much will you spend?

“To have a good building experience, you need a builder that is in line with your views and understands the end goal. … For instance, if you’re interested in building ‘green,’ you need a builder and architect that share that value. If you’re interested in building a ‘smart home,’ you need a builder knowledgeable in tech,” Julcher adds. Once you decide what you want, then you can begin to hone in on builders who share your building philosophy. If you’re working with a designer, they can be a good resource. Your local chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, local lenders, local Realtors or a simple Internet search are other good places to start.

Narrow the Field

Once you have a few candidates in mind, you’ll want to start asking questions. How long have they been in business? How many homes have they built? What sorts of references can they provide? Pay careful attention to the builder’s personality to determine whether they are someone you can work with. “The fit of the builder to the buyer is extremely important,” says Bruce Ailion, Realtor and attorney at RE/MAX Town and Country. The right builder will wear many hats, and you want to be confident that your pick is up to the challenge. The two of you are about to embark on a huge undertaking together. You’ll want someone who you can trust and with whom you can communicate honestly.

Make Your Pick

Once you’ve identified your top candidate(s), make sure your potential builders are licensed (if required) and insured in your area. “If there is financial information available for a public builder, I will review that,” says Ailion. “Ultimately, how the builder deals with service issues, and how the home performs over time, is one of the main places the rubber meets the road.” Ailion recommends searching public deed records to find people who’ve purchased from your potential builder within the last five years and seeing if they’re happy today with the home and builder’s service.

Once you’ve found a builder who shares your building style, who provides a lasting, quality product, and whom you know you can work with, you’ll know you’ve found the right person to build your new home. Though finding the right builder may be a difficult and time-consuming process, the payoff will come in the form of a new home you’ll enjoy for years to come.
Seve Kale is an award-winning freelance writer for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+

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