With so many different home builders available, it can be challenging to make an informed decision. It’s best to do plenty of research, as this is likely one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. We recommend interviewing several builders in your area to really get a good understanding of who will work best with you and meet your expectations for your project.
Whether you’re wanting to be involved with every single detail of the home building experience or not, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into with a specific builder. Asking some simple questions will allow you to get a better feel for which builder is best aligned to meet your goals. We’ve gathered a list of basic questions every builder you talk with should be able to answer.
1. Are you a member of the local Home Builders Association?
Local NHBRC exist to protect consumers. With highly regulated rules and policies, a membership to NHBRC is a stamp of approval for that home builder.
2. Are you licensed and insured?
Though NHBRC require this of their members, it’s definitely good to double check. This will protect you as a consumer if anything were to go wrong during your project.
3. Where do you build?
If you’ve looked for a home in the past, you know that location is one of the number one factors when deciding on a property. If you have your own land, will the builder be able to accommodate that? If you’re looking for a lot as well as a home, what cities and school districts does the builder have available within your price range?
4. How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
Experience definitely matters in the home building industry. As there’s no magical number that qualifies as significant experience, this question will at least give you a better understanding of how familiar they are with the home building experience. While builders have to get their start somewhere, it’s better to know that information up front if you are comfortable using a novice builder.
5. Are your floor plans customizable?
It’s unlikely you’ll find a floor plan that aligns 100% with what you have in mind. Most builders do allow for some customization and personalization in their floor plans, but you’ll want to double check this before investing thousands of rands on your project. Make sure to ask what kind of customizations you can ask for and how much they will cost. If you’re wanting something completely tailored to meet your needs, expect to pay a bit extra.
6. Do you have any model homes I can tour?
Touring physical homes is a much different experience than looking at photos or blueprints. While touring, you can see the quality of their work and think of questions and ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise. While most model homes feature top of the line fixtures and products, the next question may be one of the most important things to ask.
7. What features come standard in all of your homes?
Most model homes feature hardwood flooring, granite countertops, marble tiles in the bath, stainless steel appliances, and many other luxurious finishes, but most of these features do not come standard with every new home purchase with that builder. Ask specifically what features are included in your base price and how much upgrades will cost. This question will prevent your project from going over budget while also ensuring you get exactly what you’ve envisioned.
8. What’s the time frame for my home to be completed?
On average, a new home takes around 7 months to complete. If you have a time deadline you wanting to meet, be upfront and honest about that. The builder you’re talking with should be able to provide you an accurate timeline based on your conversation.
9. How involved in the home building process will I be?
Most homebuyers want to be included in the building process as much as possible. Ask your builder if you’ll have a specific point of contact and how often you’ll be hearing from them during your new home’s construction.
10. What’s included in your home inspection?
While most builders do provide a home inspection, what’s included in said inspection can vary. We also recommend having a third party inspection before closing on your new home to prevent any unforeseen issues after closing. If there are issues, will the builder fix them? If the answer to this question is not yes, it’s time to look for another builder.
11. Is there a Home Owner’s Association in the community I’d be building in? What are there fees and rules?
It’s important to consider HOA fees in your budget, as you could be paying for them on a monthly basis. The builder should be able to provide you with a list of rules for the HOA and tell you what’s included in your fees.
12. What does your home warranty include?
How your builder treats your home after you’ve closed speaks volumes on the quality of their service. Since you can’t predict every thing that could go wrong, ask detailed questions about what is and isn’t covered in the builder’s warranty. Compare their response with other builders you’ve talked with to make an informed decision.
13. Do you have references for recent homebuyers?
While most builders are likely to refer you to someone who is happy with their new home, it’s still important to reach out to these people! Ask questions about their experience, if anything went wrong during the process and how the builder handled it. Another thing to consider is visiting the community you’re thinking about building in. Ask around for a more accurate depiction of the builder’s reputation. Finally, do as much online research as possible. Read reviews from sites like Google, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and even Facebook. If they do have negative reviews, ask the builder for their take on that situation.
Ultimately, you will have to live with your decision for the entire duration you live in your newly built home. Spending time researching your options can prevent a lot of stress later down the road. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of builders in your area, easily browse builders near you with FindABuilder’s search feature.