Hiring a Builder

Choosing Your Home Builder or Remodeler

Contact your local builders association to obtain a list of builders who construct or remodel homes in your area.  Another good resource is the real estate section of your local newspaper. Leafing through ads and reading articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay. Make a list of builders who build the type of home you're looking for in your price range.

Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder. 

Research and Ask Questions

Once you have a preliminary list of builders, how can you find out about their reputations and the quality of their work? The best ways to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners and to visit homes that are currently under construction.

Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built or remodeled homes; they may even be able to provide names of some homeowners who would be willing to talk with you. Drive by on a Saturday morning when homeowners may be outside, introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home.

In most cases, a builder's previous customers will be open with you. Ask questions like: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder? Usually, people will tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And whether they are or not, they'll probably want to tell you why. Take notes so you can make comparisons later.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork and paint and never hesitate to ask the builder or the builder's representative your questions. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.

Remember that cost is not a direct measure of quality. High quality combines good design and fine products and materials with superior workmanship and proper installation. Just because one home is less expensive than another does not mean it is a better value. Likewise, a more expensive home may not mean better craftsmanship.

When buying a new home or remodeling, you are not simply buying just a structure or renovating your home. Along with the contract comes a package of services, and the quality of those services will have an important effect on your enjoyment of your home. 

For instance, most homes come with a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials. Since virtually every home is going to need at least minor adjustments and repairs of warranty items during the first year, you should look for a builder who will provide quality service after the sale.
Some other questions you might ask builders are:
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Whom do you contact for customer service after the sale? Should requests be in writing?
  • Who will be responsible for correcting problems with major appliances?
  • Does the builder belong to the local builders association (affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders)?
  • Does the builder use state-of-the-art energy features? Equipment, insulation, design and landscaping can all affect a home's energy efficiency.

A home is one of the largest and most important purchases you can make. If you do your homework, ask questions and come prepared, you will develop knowledge and a sense of confidence that will help you to make the right decision. If you have any questions about selecting a builder or remodeler in this area, contact the Home Builders Association of Midland.