New construction is the right choice for many people who are looking to build a home that is completely customized to suit their unique wants and needs. However, quite a bit goes into constructing a new home, and the first step is finding a reliable, experienced builder to help walk you through the process from beginning to end.
Below are the top five things to keep in mind when evaluating builders so that you can have total peace of mind as you move forward with the exciting process of home construction and ownership.
1) Outside References
Obtaining outside reference for any builder you’re considering should be your first step in the process. And remember, the builder-supplied references will likely be for jobs that went well and had positive outcomes. While this information is great to know, you also need to do your research about the builder and find as many online reviews as possible. Consumer rating sites like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are outstanding resources. And if you do find one or two negative reviews about any builder you are considering, there’s nothing wrong with asking the builder directly about those particular projects and why they feel the customer wasn’t satisfied with the work.
2) Professional Credentials
Confirm that any builders you are evaluating are licensed, bonded, and insured. Choosing a builder with professional credentials is essential because it protects you, the homeowner, from risk during the project. Construction workers accidentally falling from roofs, angry unpaid contractors, and fines from building code violations are just a few of the many things that you do not want to be held responsible for. States and counties have different requirements for these credentials, so make sure you research the rules and regulations in your particular area.
3) Past Work
Don’t discount a builder just because they don’t have model homes available for touring, but for those who do, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only will you be able to evaluate the craftsmanship as you tour the home, but you can also compare the home to the vision you have in mind for your home. If you get the feeling your vision is something they may not have much experience in, be sure to ask how many homes they have constructed with the specific layout you have in mind.
Most builders offer structural warranties that can range from five to 10 years though you should examine the limitations of the warranties should you decide to sell the home before the warranty expires. Also, be aware of exclusions in the warranty by reading the fine print. Materials, plumbing, and electrical systems are usually covered, though small repairs or appliance malfunctions may not be. Also, be clear about the repair claims process before signing any contract with the builder. All too often, homeowners assume repairs under warranty will be made by the builder in a timely fashion, but many builders subcontract warranty repairs on a timeline that may not suit your needs.
5) Personal Attention
Before evaluating builders, you have most likely put a lot of time and effort into determining all the aspects of a home that are important to you (three-car garage, open floor plan, mother-in-law suite, etc.) So, when you go to a builder with the wish list you have created, make sure the builder is attentive and truly listens to make sure they understand what you want. Make sure you hire a builder you have the utmost confidence in to execute the project as you see it in your mind. You also want a builder who is honest with and offers sound opinions on whether your goals are realistic given your budget, space, and timeframe.
These five tips will give you an outstanding start on picking a builder for a new construction home who will better provide a stress-free experience and produce the home of your dreams. The Northrop Team can help put you in contact with a great home builder in the Maryland area. Contact our expert real estate agents today to learn more!