5 questions to ask when choosing a home builder

Posted by Staff Reporter on Feb 19, 2018 04:43 PM EST
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When facing an increasingly competitive real estate market, many home owners consider either remodeling their existing property or opting for a new home build as a more affordable way to attain the home they want.
But how do you know you're choosing a good building contractor? Here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.

How much experience do you have?

As a rule of thumb, the more experienced your builder is, the more likely they're going to be able to deliver on their promises.

More experienced builders will typically employ a set of tried-and-tested processes and methodologies that help them stick to the schedule as planned, as well as having well-established relationships with suppliers that can help them negotiate better prices for building materials to keep costs down.

But don't just take their word for it-make sure you also do some independent research by reading through some online forums to hear what other home owners that have built with them in the past have to say. You may be very surprised with some of the comments!

Are you licenced and insured?

It is integral you check your builder is licensed to carry out the construction works on your home and also holds an appropriate level of insurance.

Contractor license and insurance requirements will vary according to the state you are building in, so it's important you find out the relevant requirements in your location. Once you know what licenses they should hold, there are a number of websites you can use to check your builder is appropriately licensed.

What is included and how much will it cost?

While it may seem like an obvious question to ask, it's something that deserves some close attention.
Builders generally incorporate a set of standard inclusions into the price they quote you for the build, however if you don't read the fine print you may find that some basic things you assumed would be included like fencing or a driveway may not be and you could find yourself experiencing some buyer's remorse.

It's also important to ask your builder if the price they've quoted is a fixed-price quote (meaning the price they quote is what you'll pay), or you could potentially be liable for additional costs in the case they come across any unexpected issues during construction. If you do choose a builder that doesn't provide fixed-price quotes, just ensure you have some contingency money up your sleeve in the case something unexpected does happen.

Can I make changes to the home design?

If you're not going down the route of an independently designed home, you may be looking for a builder that also offers a range of stock home designs to choose from.

If you select a home builder with an extensive range of home designs to choose from like this home builder in Melbourne, you'll ideally be able to find a home design that suits your requirements perfectly. However, in the case your preferred home builder doesn't offer a design that ticks all your boxes, you'll need to find out how difficult it is to make alterations to their designs and what the likely cost implications will be.

How long will construction take?

Your builder should provide you with a schedule for the build of your new home which you can use to manage your budget, which is especially important if you're still going to need to pay mortgage repayments or rent on another property while construction is being completed.

It's also important to find out how any delays to the construction schedule will be handled, including any penalties the builder will be liable for if there are significant delays.

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