Buying a home is an experience like no other. Knowing that the place is yours to do with as you please. But put yourself into the shoes of a person planning to build a home from the ground up. That is what you are looking at. The sky is the limit when you do your home in this way. You can have it designed the way you want from the start, and you will be able to have hands-on decision-making when a problem comes up.
Unless you are a licensed contractor, doing the actual build may be over your head. You have some options available to you that you should go over. You can hire a contractor for each part of the process and make all the decisions independently.
Or, you can hire a general contractor to oversee everything you do after clarifying what you want and how you want it. But how do you know if you have hired a good contractor? Let’s take a look at the five key qualities to look for in a home builder so you can evaluate your options properly.
1) Research The Local Contractors Thoroughly
The first step after you have a design on a blueprint is to check out all the contractors in the area you plan to build. The easiest way would be to go online and type something like “Home Builders in Melbourne.” That should bring up some good builders, such as Dennis Family Homes. The critical thing to do is get a list of a couple of the contractors and then ask some questions.
- Local Contacts – Get ahold of your local business bureau or contractors association and get a list of contractors. See if any of them match your research from earlier. You will want to put them on the list to check out if they do.
- Online Reviews – Today, most people know the internet and what it can do for their businesses. Check out the reviews of all the home builders you put aside and see if they have any good reviews.
- Friends – Ask your friends and family if they have any recommendations for you. It may seem trivial, but you never know if they have had any social interactions with a good contractor.
Those are the best ways to find a good contractor. Online reviews can be misleading, so read the reviews that fall in the middle. Bad ones will upset people, and the good may be paid reviewers. You are safe going to the middle and reading genuine reviews.
2) Ask Your Home Builder Questions
You should have a list of questions you want to ask the prospective home builder like dennisfamily. If not, you will want to make one. You will find some of the most important below, but you will want to add some that are more specific to your project.
- Are you licensed?
- Are you insured?
- Can you meet the deadlines?
- Can you meet the city inspectors’ regulations?
- How long will the job take you?
- Do you have the resources to get the job done quickly with high quality?
- Do you guarantee your work?
You probably have more than this, so do not be afraid to ask. If the contractor gets annoyed or does not want to answer your direct questions, move to the next prospect on your list.
3) Check Out Their Portfolio
Your prospective builder should have some examples of his work. Maybe in a book or online since it has become so easy to automate through online applications. You can ask if they have a website you can check out, or you can have them show you face to face.
- Look for quality.
- Look for finite details that show their style.
- Look for duplicates (they should show more than one house).
- Look for anything that gives you a good feeling.
If their work looks good and their style matches what you have envisioned, you may want to set up a contract. Good contractors do not have many open spots, so be proactive and ensure that if they match your needs, snatch them up and get them going.
4) Outside Inspections Throughout The Build
One thing that you may have not even thought of is inspections. It is imperative to get the details of each stage checked out by the local city inspector. The reason for this is simple. You do not want to have to remove a wall because the electrical hookups are not up to code. The contractor needs to be in touch with an outside inspector to check at each stage unless you can get the city inspector to come with you regularly.
5) Communication Is Key
Communication is the key to any good partnership, which is what you are getting into when you hire a general contractor to oversee everything. They need to be able to ask you questions if they want to clarify a detail of the plans.
They have tons of experience (you did make sure that they have been in business for a long time), so if they suggest a change, you may want to go with it. The point is that they need to get ahold of you at any time throughout their workday, so make sure you are available if they call or message.
Final Thoughts About Home Builders
Hiring a home builder can be stressful, but you want to go through the steps above to ensure that you two are a good match. For example, if you like square, precise walls but the contractor makes them round, you would not be a match. Every contract will have their own style, and you need to match theirs to yours, or at least as close as you can. They will all say that they can adjust their techniques to fit your needs, but if they do that, walk away.
You need to take the time to pick out the best home builder for you. It may not necessarily match what your siblings say, but you must be you. You need to choose by using the steps above without looking back. Remember, building a house is a long process. Make sure your contractor is a good fit for you and your project. Never settle for anything less than perfect. Perfect for you, anyway.