Choosing a Home Builder

by Jane VanOsdol on May 17, 2011

If you’re in the market to build a home, finding a reputable builder is your top priority. This can seem like a daunting task, but the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has some suggestions to help you make a wise selection.

First off on their recommend list is to compile a list of possible builders. Look at several sources to find names to add to your list. Remember to check the type of homes that the builder constructs, to be sure the type of home you want to build is on his list, whether it’s a condo, townhouse, subdivision house or a custom house. Here’s some suggestions on compiling your list of names.

  • Contact your local home builders association (http://www.nahb.org/findanhba) for a list of builders who work in your area. You can also peruse http://www.move.com, which is NAHB’s official new homes listing Web site.
  • Study the real estate section of your local newspaper to find current building projects and builders in your area. Often times the newspaper will run features on home building that can help you to make informed decisions. Watch for the builders who are building homes in your price range.
  • Contact local real estate agents who may be able to give you suggestions.
  • Ask your friends and family to recommend builders. If they haven’t built themselves, they probably know someone who has.

Once you have your list compiled, it’s time to check on the work and reputation of the builders. Once again, the NAHB has some great suggestions.

  1. Contact the home builders and ask them for addresses of recently built homes or subdivisions. Some builders may even provide names of homeowners who have agreed to talk with prospective clients.
  2. Drive by the subdivisions or homes at a time when people are likely to be outside, like on Saturday morning. Stop and chat with them about their homes. Ask them if they are happy with the builder and the home, if they’ve had any problems, if the builder easily resolved the problems, whether the home was built in the time the builder said it would be, and anything else important to you. The more people you talk to, the more accurate a representation you’ll receive.
  3. Look at the model homes of the builders and, if you can, their homes under construction. Check out the workmanship and inspect the quality of the cabinets, carpet, flooring, molding and paint. Ask the builder lots of questions and get as much specific information as you can. Take notes so that you don’t forget and collect whatever written information they have.
  4. Check with the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List for any potential problems. Did the home builder resolve the problems?

Taking the time to research your home builder options will allow you to make an informed decision about your new home and hopefully head off any potential—and expensive—problems.

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