How Do I Choose a Good Home Builder Among the Home Builders Available? Part 2



So when you have to choose from several home builders, how can you make the wisest choice?

It is really not as difficult as it seems. Yes, listen to word of mouth. Talk to many home owners in the subdivision you are considering. Talk to home owners in other subdivisions the builder has developed. Keep in mind to listen to them with a grain of salt. There are people who will blame the builder for maintenance issues they are responsible for.

Go beyond word of mouth:

- Talk to lenders to see if they have worked with the builder you are considering;

- Talk to title companies in the area to see if they have worked with the builder, and ask how long houses usually take to completion. (Keep in mind that time frames can be skewed by weather, material shortages, construction difficulty, etc.);

- Ask your lender for the names of construction insurers they recommend. This has always been a key resource for me. When talking to potential insurers, simply call and ask about their new construction insurance plan. During the conversation, mention the builder you are using. The insurer will usually respond enthusiastically, “Oh, yes, we insure for that builder’s projects all the time;” or you’ll get a pensive response. Beware of the pensive response.

- Talk to local lumber suppliers in person. They may or may not give a recommendation, but if you have a builder in mind, they will usually have some comment. I like to talk to vendors in person to see what their reaction is when I mention a builder’s name. We can all read nonverbal communication and get a real feel about the response.

- Talk to various trade subcontractors. Do not judge the quality of the subcontractor by the size of the company. Talk to several in each specialty, and you will get a feel for your builder’s reputation.

- Talk to all building code inspectors responsible in your area. In some communities, there are still no inspections. It is still wise to talk to inspectors in adjacent communities since new home builders may also build in a rather large area.

- Lastly, take a look at the Better Business Bureau and websites such as Angie’s List. When reviewing these sites, keep in mind that some negative reviews may be made by disreputable and disgruntled customers or competitive home builders.

If you see a pattern of negative comments and criticisms developing, you have a red flag moment. Carefully analyze all of the information you have collected. Is there a pattern, negative or positive, developing with the home builders in question? Review this information carefully.

What may appear negative at first blush may, in reality, be a positive aspect of the new home builders for you and your circumstances.

A week or two devoted to learning about your prospective builder is time well spent, and can ensure that the building of your home will be what it should be-a fun time for a fun project.

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