house plans

Questions To Ask A Potential Builder

What is your experience, how long have you been building homes, and how many homes have you built?

You want a builder that has experience. Things come up during construction and you want to make sure your builder has the experience or knowledge to deal with. Make sure the builder you choose has the ability to build the type of construction you are looking for. Look for a builder that has a proven track record, professional business approach, technical skills and the knowledge.

Do you belong to any Associations?

This will tell of their commitment to their trade. Associations uphold standards that the builders must meet. They usually require their members stay on top of their game by offering educational courses and credits.

Do you use specific sub-contractors on a regular basis? Will you provide a list of these?

The quality of work will depend on the subcontractors. Make sure they are reliable and have good work ethnics, too.

What type of service to offer after the build-out of our home, follow-up?

You want a builder that stands behind his homes and offers service. There may be items that arise after you move in. Ask how to request service; what is the typical response time?

What is the average number of jobs you do at the same time? How many jobs does your company have in progress right now?

Do these numbers seem in line with the amount of support staff? Does it seem like each job has an adequate amount of supervision?

How are jobs managed on a daily basis? Who will be in charge of my job each day? Who checks for quality, mistakes, progress?

Get familiar with your contact person immediately to start building your relationship.

Can we see any of the homes you have built?

Look for quality. If you are visiting a jobsite for a home in progress, make sure the site is reasonably neat.

As the contractor/builder, do you assume the responsibility of and liability for, all your employees and sub contractors involved in the home construction process? Why or why not?
What warranties do you provide?

Most of these come from the products use. Make sure you receive all the information in the event you should need to make a claim.

Will you give references from past clients?

Contact the references to find out how satisfied the clients were with their new home and the experience with this builder.

Here are some questions to ask past clients:
  • Did the builder prepare the homeowner for construction?
    Was there a preconstruction meeting to discuss the daily impact of construction on the home? What was done to make the experience more comfortable?
  • How was the communication between you and the builder?
    Was the builder readily available via phone or pager? Did the builder keep the homeowner updated on the progress of the job through weekly meetings? Did the builder handle their questions and complaints with understanding and resolution?
  • Are you pleased with the quality of construction work?
    Was the construction work done with high quality craftsmanship? Have there been any problems with the construction? Hint: ask about the details!
  • Was the project completed on time and within budget?
    What affected the project costs? Could the builder have foreseen these issues?
  • Was there anything that concerned you about working with this builder?
    If so, how did the builder address those issues?
  • Do you feel the quality of construction justified the project costs?
    Was the quality of work consistent with the cost of the project?
  • Is there anything about this builder we didn't cover?
    Let the client share their own feelings and impressions in their own words.

Here are a few more questions only the builder can answer…
  • What building qualities set you apart from other builders in the area?
  • If, during the construction phase, we want certain changes made, is there a fee for change orders? If so, what is the cost?
  • Have any disputes been filed against your company in the past 5 years, and how was each of those disputes resolved?

Stay clear of “good deals” or a part-time builder! You will not be happy in the end!