When it comes to building or renovating your home, finding an experienced and trustworthy builder is the first (and arguably, most important) part of the process. In the end, you want a home that is perfectly crafted to fit your needs. And ultimately, the builder is responsible for the outcome. The good news is, we're here to help you make the right choice. Start by asking yourself these five questions.
1. Are you impressed by their portfolio and reputation?
If you don't have potential builders in mind, check out Houzz to find reputable professionals in your area, or ask your network of acquaintances for recommendations. Once you have a short list of builders to consider, it's time to begin researching them, starting with Google reviews. As you read through these reviews, take both praise and complaints into consideration. If you spot a concerning review, look for a response from the builder addressing it.
In addition, good builders should have a portfolio on their website that highlights their recent work. Looking at previously completed homes can reveal a lot about the builder's style and what they specialize in. You may also find it useful to research how long they have been building in your community and how many houses they have built to date. Some builders may be able to provide you with contact information for a couple of their previous customers, so you can ask questions and learn more about their experience working with that builder.
2. What are your building needs?
In most cases, you will find that a general builder is suitable for most of your home building and renovation needs. General builders are skilled professionals that are trained in the fundamentals of construction, including foundation, framing, roofing, and renovation. In fact, general builders can sometimes act as general contractors, too.
As you discuss your project with one or more builders, share as much as you can about your preferences and expectations. That way, the builder will understand the scope of the project and provide you with an accurate cost estimate. Watch out for companies that offer "low prices per square foot." This could indicate hidden costs further down the line. Make sure you are getting the best deal by requesting second-opinion estimates from several builders in the area. Ultimately, you are looking for a builder who will do exceptional work for the right price.
3. Are your communication styles in sync?
Establishing a clear line of communication between you and your builder will prevent confusion and headaches later in the process. The builder you choose should take the time to listen to needs, understand your vision, and offer strong recommendations about the best way to bring your dream home to life. Before, during, and after your home is built, you are going to have questions and concerns. Your project manager should be readily available to field those questions and concerns. If the builder doesn't give you a direct point of contact at their company, and can't tell you how often to expect updates during the building process, they may not be the best choice for this project.
4. Is the builder willing to work with you on your vision?
Start by providing a set of drawings, Pinterest images, and even structural requests or visions. Throughout the entire process, as the homeowner, it is important to make clear exactly what the builder is being asked to include in the price. Ask questions like; who is supplying the hardware, tile, light fixtures? If you want to supply these yourself, communicating this up front with the builder can elevate stress later in the process. With a clear design, a professional builder will be able to collaborate with the right people to achieve your desired results.
5. Will the builder stay engaged throughout the process?
Look for a builder who is able to provide you with an outline of the building process up front. The builder is responsible for actively managing the project, the timeline, and the construction site. Thus, they are also responsible for meeting key deadlines and ensuring your project stays within budget. If they are unable to outline their process and projected timeline for you, that's a red flag. In general, builders that assign a team of experts to your project are more likely to be engaged throughout the entire process.
No one should have to navigate the home building process alone. Finding a builder you trust can feel like an added responsibility, but they will be your partner and strongest advocate for the next several months. Think Red Door might be a good fit for you? Start by checking out our fully-customizable floor plans, and schedule a visit to our showroom.