Tips for Selecting a Home Builder
The Home Builders Association of West Michigan offers these tips for selecting a builder for your next construction project.
When selecting a builder there are many considerations to bear in mind. Let's begin with the obvious considerations that many forget.
- Is your builder licensed? If so, he will have a card in his wallet to show you.
- Is he fully insured? If not, any damage done or injury suffered during construction may be your cost to pay.
- Is he known in the area? Have you heard of him by word of mouth?
- Is he a member of the Home Builders Association?
- Who is his primary supplier, and what do they say about how he pays his bills?
- Will he give you references from his last three jobs to check out?
- Who does he hire for subcontractors and what are their reputations?
- Can he offer you either pictures of past work or refer you to locations where you can see some of his work?
Remember - never select a builder simply because his bid is the lowest! You get what you pay for and often the cheapest bid becomes the costliest job by the time it's done. The nature of the work to be done should also be considered. Your budget will be a major consideration, but not in the way you may think. You will find that the more professional a builder the lower your total cost will likely be because the work will be done right the first time.
Are you building a new house?
- If so, is it basic construction or more complicated?
- Is it a project that will require the expertise of someone who has been building for many years?
- If not a whole house then is it a renovation or addition?
- Builders often tend to specialize in one type of work, so it is wise to ask questions regarding this. For example, if it is a kitchen remodel, has he done many of these?
- Do you need the work to be done as quickly as possible? - With smaller jobs a builder may have difficulty working only on yours as he may need to wait for a subcontractor to come in and complete his work, so the builder will work elsewhere while waiting. You need to discuss this beforehand to determine how long this may take for your project to be completed. The larger the builder the more he may need to pull off your job if there is this kind of delay.
- How detailed a set of plans will be required? Some builders, and some jobs require a full set of blueprints, does yours?
You will need to match the expertise of the builder to what you need. It makes sense to hire a roofer if you need a roof. The specific type of materials to be used may determine who you should hire. For example, if you want to use an uncommon type of siding you will need to find a builder who has experience with it.
Personal preferences can play a part in selecting a builder.
- Is it important that the builder stay in close contact?
- Can this builder work with my time schedule? With bids, with daily schedule for starting/stopping?
- Is there a good fit between what I ask for and what is offered?
- Will he keep the job site clean enough for your taste?
- Is smoking/chewing an issue?
Take the time to talk with others who have selected a builder to get their input on the matter, but remember every client and every builder are individuals and personal issues need to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, you may love your doctor while others may say he/she is a quack. So make your own decision based upon the best information you can get.