So you want to build a custom home. You have the location and whether you have the home you want in mind or you need help with ideas, finding the right contractor will be one of the most important decisions you make. But where do you start?
A good starting point is your local or regional homebuilders’ association. They have lists of members that are in good standings as builders. Family, friends and business associates can also be great sources of recommendations. Social media can be a helpful place to find excellent builders in your area. Gather all the information you can and ask plenty of questions. Read reviews online, and save the beneficial information.
Learn about the companies that interest you. How long have they been in business? What projects have they worked on and how did they turn out? Are they financially stable? Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints and the reputation of the contractors. Look for ratings no lower than a B. The contractors should have been in business at least five years or more and should have a local permanent office where you can reach the company for warranty service and any questions you may have.
Talk to the prospective builders. After sorting through all your possibilities, do an interview with the custom home contractors that more closely fit your needs to find out more about them. Always ask about workers’ compensation, OSHA compliance and general liability insurance. Respectable builders protect their workers but also protect you from liability. Ask about previous work, references and current construction jobs. A quality custom homebuilder will have no hesitation answering all of your questions. You will be working with these people for many months so keep in mind how well or not you communicate. Do a site visit of their past or current work. Take notice of the quality of the workmanship.
Read bids and contracts carefully. You don’t want a contractor that takes short cuts with construction or materials or lacks sufficient insurance so be wary of unusual low bids. Check to make sure the contractor has the proper licenses required, depending on your state, for builders and general contractors. Ask if there have been issues obtaining permits, and delays in construction. New homes should come with a full home warranty and a custom homeowner’s manual to make sure to set aside time to read everything carefully. You might want to have a lawyer read over the bids and contracts with you to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between you and the contractor.
After doing your research and getting the needful feedback, there will come a point where you realize one builder is heads above the others for your project, and listening to your instincts is absolute.