What qualities should you look for in a “GOOD BUILDER?” The most obvious skills involve “BUSINESS ABILITIES” – You want someone who is experienced at managing a team of craftsmen skilled at constructing a quality house. But there are other characteristics that are more difficult to evaluate: the ability to listen, to be a partner with you in solving problems along the way, and above all, to be honest and fair. Here are some paths to follow to help you select the builder that is right for you.
- Ask for references and check them out. Most experts suggest that you thoroughly investigate at least 3-4 references for each builder you are considering. The references should be people for whom the builder has completed construction of a house.
- Phoning and asking a few questions is not enough. Arrange to visit the homes, so you can check for the signs of good construction.
- Talk to the references about the builder’s honesty, ability to listen and problem-solving ability. Do this when the builder is not there, as his presence may inhibit the homeowners from giving you the frank and candid answers you need.
What To Ask References
- Is this manufacturer a “Good Company?”
- Select a builder that has been in business for a number of years. There’s nothing wrong with new builders in the field, but this may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to build your own home. Choose someone with proven experience.
- Does the company belong to a trade association?
- Have you checked its reputation with the Better Business Bureau?
- Have you checked its reputation with the State Attorney General’s office?
- Have you talked with at least six of the company’s top builders?
- Does the company offer warranties on its structures and is it an in-house or a third party warranty?
- To what specifications does the manufacturer build its structures?
- What name-brand suppliers and what quality of lumber does it use?
- Did the project run smoothly? If not, what went wrong?
- Did the job finish on schedule? If not, what held it up
- Were the cost estimates accurate? If they went over, where and why?
- Was the builder helpful in solving budget or layout problems? Did he bring up ideas you had not thought of? Were his explanations clear?
- Have you had major problems with the house during the time you’ve been living in it? If there has been a problem, was the builder efficient in answering your calls and following up with you?
- Check credentials.
- Seek out a builder who has built homes in the style and price range you desire.
- Ask the builder how often he is going to be on the job site. You deserve and are paying for the builder’s time and attention. Ideally, he should be on your job site everyday. In some cases, his presence two or three times a week is acceptable.
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