How to Choose a Home Builder

woman construction worker showing home blueprints

Building a home is an exciting process, but before you start, choosing a trusted home builder is crucial. The builder will be someone you deal with on a day-to-day basis for the duration of the construction. As a result, your builder plays an essential role in the process and will ultimately dictate your entire home-building experience. To alleviate some of the stress, we’ve put together a guide on how to choose a home builder

Things To Look For In A Good Builder

Some of the basic requirements you want to look for when choosing a builder are: 

  • General liability insurance
  • Ability to provide a track record or referral list
  • Outlined safety protocols
  • Member of New Home Warranty Program
  • Systems in place to track operations & financials

In addition to these basic requirements, it is important to gauge a home builder’s interpersonal skills. Communication will be key once construction begins. As you start to contact potential home builders, focus on how they communicate with you and if they are open and accepting of your questions and input. 

How To Compare Home Builders

There are a lot of builders to choose from. The hard part is finding the right one that works for you. A great way to compare home builders is to grab a notebook and start a home builder tally system. Make a list of your top five home builders and keep track of the builder’s style, reviews, quality of past work, price, attention to detail, and communication. Next, list your priorities and determine how each home builder compares. 

Questions To Ask Your Home Builder

Once you’ve narrowed down a few reputable home builders, you can start the interview process to gain insights into how you’ll work together. During this stage, you should try to learn more about their management style, building process, and operations. While you might have specific questions depending on your individual needs, we’ve included some essential questions to get the conversation started. Most importantly, while you’re asking these questions, you’ll want to gauge their responses and see how open and communicative they are.  

  1. What’s the average time your team takes to build a home? What are my options if the home isn’t ready in the quoted time frame?
  2. What are the financial and legal ramifications if I cannot close when the builder is ready to close? Fees or legal action?
  3. What are my design & structural options, and do you charge for those items?
  4. Can we make changes to our home during the building process?
  5. Are landscaping, sod, and sprinklers included in the build cost?
  6. What are my expected well, septic, sewer, municipal water, and utilities options and costs?
  7. What are my options if something is not done right? 
  8. What contractors do you use? Who will be the point of contact throughout the process? Do you have a construction coordinator?

Home Builder Red Flags

Throughout the decision process, there are a few golden rules to follow. If you start noticing something doesn’t feel right, simply walk away. Here are the top five home builder red flags to keep an eye out for.

  1. The builder doesn’t have a transparent and concise contract or pressures you into signing. The number one rule: do not sign anything until you have read it thoroughly or had a trusted realtor or consultant read it through.
  2. The builder has a slew of bad reviews. Do your research before meeting with a potential builder. Look for examples of past projects, and read reviews of previous clients. If their reviews are mainly negative, take note and focus your attention elsewhere. 
  3. The builder is unorganized, confused, or takes a long time to return your calls and emails. Building a home has many moving parts, requiring a qualified and dedicated individual to manage the project. 
  4. The builder asks for a substantial amount of money upfront. While home builders do typically require a downpayment for the project, anything over 15% is unusual. 
  5. The builder does not offer subcontractors, proof of insurance, or the ability to acquire the needed permits. The home builders should do the leg work for the project and should provide all necessary paperwork and help along the way. 

Lakeside Home Builders

If you’re ready to find a qualified and trustworthy home builder, then contact Lakeside at Tessera. Highland Homes and Coventry Homes are two of the best home builders in Austin and can help you construct the home of your dreams in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. 

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