How to Find a Home Builder: 4 Things to Look For [2024]

When you're ready to design your new home, it's important to research before selecting a home builder. Here are tips on how to pick the best new construction builder for you.

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How to Find a Home Builder: 4 Things to Look For [2024]

Posted by Gary Ashton on Tuesday, December 20th, 2022 at 7:12am.

Tips to Choosing a New Home Builder

New construction homes are appealing, and what buyer wouldn't appreciate the privilege of being the first to lay down and fall into dreamland in their new construction abode? Those wanting to have a home that's all their own with custom features will need to decide whether they need a full custom builder, a production builder, or a semi-custom builder.

However, making that determination and then choosing which top new construction home builder near you to contract with may require further investigation. When choosing a new construction home builder, there are many things to consider, so keep reading to learn more about some of the most important factors.

Is the Builder Knowledgeable and Transparent?

Buying a new construction home is a very different process than buying a resale home. Buyers starting from the ground up with a custom build or a partially customized home are sure to have a number of essential questions.

Clearly, getting this information should be fairly straightforward when dealing with reputable builders. Top builders should be exceptionally knowledgeable and transparent before, during, and after completing a new home construction project.

The first several meetings in the home building process typically occur with the builder's sales representative, and this is the time to have a list of questions ready that can make or break the deal. In addition to costs, inclusions, secondary contractors, and design and customization options, buyers should ask these key questions as a priority.

  • Are there financial incentives for using the builder's preferred lender?
  • Is the cost of the lot included?
  • Is landscaping included?
  • How long will the construction process take?
  • What are the standard finishes and options?
  • Can you purchase your own appliances or materials and get credits?
  • Does the contract include a cost escalation clause?

There will be additional inquiries along the way, but these are enough to get most buyers on the same page with potential builders and start determining which team might be a good fit.

Do Previous Customers Have Good Things to Say?

Contact Previous Customers for Research

Reliable sources for online reviews can give buyers an idea of how previous clients feel about their work, but some online comments may be lacking in important context. Therefore, talking directly with prior customers and current occupants of homes in the community from the same builder is an excellent way to follow up.

Another way to utilize online searches is to look for lists of top builders in the area and then check out companies' ratings with the Better Business Bureau that may disclose any red flags. Public records searches can also guide buyers to information about any judgments against the company, whether they've made recent name changes, or if they have an excess of consumer complaints.

Next, contact a few vendors that the builder works with to inquire whether their accounts are in good standing. This information can be rather important, as builders with poor credit with local suppliers may not be able to get the necessary materials for projects in a timely manner.

After narrowing down the prospects, reach out to the local building inspection department. Ask their opinion about specific builders that are under consideration. In smaller communities and municipalities, the inspection office will likely be familiar with most of the builders in the region and have probably inspected several of their previous projects.

Is the Builder's Paperwork All In Order?

Out of all the paperwork involved, a clear and understandable written contract with specific details is the most important. Part of these contracts should involve the builder agreeing to comply with any and all insurance, licensing, and building permit requirements in the city and state they are working in.

At a minimum, new home builders must have up-to-date employers' liability insurance and worker's compensation. They should be willing to show potential clients any related documents to confirm this coverage. Public liability insurance covers both the buyer and the contractor should property damage occur or a worker gets injured on the job site.

Ask about any insurance-backed warranties or guarantees and whether they are included in the cost of the work or if they require an additional charge. Check closely about what is covered under these policies before investing in buying one not already built into the contract. In general, these should cover any costs associated with finishing work or making repairs should the builder go out of business or provide poor workmanship.

Does The Builder Focus On Quality Over Quantity?

Some home builders want to boost profits and are willing to take on more jobs than they can realistically handle with top-quality results. Find out how many homes the builder completes annually compared to the size of their contracting teams. Builders who complete fewer homes tend to focus on the highest quality results.

It is also recommended to take time to personally look at and tour homes the builder has been involved with. Many builders will have model homes with all the bells and whistles, but some of these upgrades will be optional and incur additional costs, which poses more questions before hiring a builder.

Another great way to explore the quality of a builder's work is to vet them with current owners. Some occupants may be willing to give additional details about their experience working with the home builder and their opinion on the results. The more answers the buyer gets, the more accurate their impression of a new home contractor will be.

Do The Research to Ensure a Home to Be Proud Of

Following these time-tested approaches and techniques when searching for a custom home builder boosts the likelihood that whoever builds your custom home will exceed expectations. Reputable new construction home builders tend to take more time with projects and take a greater sense of pride in their work. This ensures that buyers will have a home they can enjoy for years to come while avoiding a slew of headaches throughout the building process and after moving in.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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