Things to Consider When Choosing a Home Builder

custom home builder richmond vaCongratulations on deciding to build a new home! Now comes the hard part: selecting the right home builder for your project. You want everything to go smoothly, so choosing a builder who is experienced in your type of new construction or remodel project is key. From budget and personal preferences to legal considerations and experience, there are many factors that go into the decision to hire a custom home builder.

License

First off, make sure your builder is licensed and certified to perform work in your state. Anyone who can’t provide you with evidence of a license upon request is not being entirely honest with you – not to mention your home may not be built to code. To ensure a reliable contractor, ask to see proof of licensure.

References

While many home builders may provide some references of former clients, many home owners simply skip this step because of its time consuming nature. However, to put your finger on the pulse of a particular home builder, ask clients who have worked with him or her to give their opinion. Ask for a reference list and follow up. Word of mouth is a very valuable part of selecting the perfect home designer. Ask if the contractor was on time, finished the project within budget and was pleasant to work with.

Experience

While length of time in business isn’t always a foolproof measure of a builder’s worth, it’s a pretty good place to start. Look for builders who have been in the business in Richmond, VA, for many years. This shows that he or she is respected in the community and has many repeat customers thanks to word of mouth. A contractor with a bad reputation doesn’t stay in this business for long. Ask to see a portfolio of other homes the contractor has built to ensure your styles match.

Some Questions to Ask

Before hiring your Richmond, Virginia, custom home builder, be sure to have a list of questions at the ready. Here are a few:

  • What is the projected timeline?
  • What homes comprise your specialty?
  • How do you handle any change requests?
  • Can you provide me with an accurate estimate?
  • Do I have any financing options?
  • What fees are extra on top of your estimate?
  • How many years have you been doing this?
  • Do you offer any warranties?
  • Will I be able to come and view the progress of my home regularly?
  • Whom should I contact with any questions that come up during construction?

Finding a Builder

It’s best to come up with a list of a few builders in your area to contact first. Start with recommendations from family and friends, contact the Better Business Bureau, perform an online search or ask other professionals within the industry who they recommend. Narrowing down your search is easy thanks to the tips above, but you may also want to view some houses the contractor has built, research the builder’s background, and meet with a few of them before deciding. Drop by the neighborhood in which the builder has done work. If the neighbors are outside, ask them what they thought of the process and the end result. If you’re lucky, they'll be very honest with you and give you a big-picture look from the perspective of a home owner. You can’t buy that kind of feedback!

Embarking on a journey of a new home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy the process but do your due diligence beforehand to protect yourself and your family.