Buyers who want to purchase a new construction home may have several options for builders in the area. After thinking about their general expectations for the home, buyers should start searching for a builder that will meet their needs. Builders could have unique skills and experience that make them a good fit for the buyer, but buyers may have to interview several before finding the right one. With these tools, buyers can determine which builders are most likely to suit their needs and complete the project in a way that provides long-term satisfaction.
Know What You Want to Build
To choose a builder, buyers need to determine which type of builder they need.There are three broad categories for builders, although some overlap may exist. The common types are:
- Specification (Spec)
Tract builders typically develop several homes on a larger parcel of land divided into lots. They may have many floor plans that buyers can choose from. This option tends to cost the least because the builder can save money by building a standard design multiple times. In exchange, buyers usually do not get as many options to customize the home.
Buyers looking for more customization may want to look for a builder who builds homes on spec or a custom home builder. With a spec home, the builder could source the lot and start building a home before they plan to sell it. They may also allow buyers to purchase the home before construction begins. For a custom home, buyers can have complete control over the design, including the choice of the lot.
To find a builder, buyers should look online or visit developments with homes they like. In some cases, asking an owner of a new construction home who built their home may make sense. Custom home builders are great options for home buyers with the time, resources, and fleshed-out interior design ideas for a new construction home.
Ask Candidates the Right Questions
If there are several builders in the area, buyers should look for candidates that will be a good fit for the project. Buyers will have a better experience if they choose a candidate with experience in the type of home they are looking for, as well as a communication style that works well for the buyer. Buyers should be prepared to ask detailed questions to get a feel for the builder's history and demeanour, such as:
- Who is the primary point of contact for the project?
- What is the preferred method of communication?
- What is the current timeline for the project?
- How much customization is available?
- Does the builder have experience with this type of home?
- What options and finishes does the builder offer?
For a custom home, buyers who already have a lot in mind should also ask if the builder has requirements for the land.
Buyers should pay attention to how the questions are answered, not just the information provided. A builder happy to answer questions in detail and provide proof of experience is often a better choice than a builder that seems resistant to inquiry.
Review Qualifications & Reviews
Asking questions of a home builder may provide a lot of helpful information, but buyers should follow up on that information. Builders are required to meet stringent qualifications to be able to build a home. Before choosing a builder, buyers should get information about a builder's licensing and insurance and verify that everything is sufficient and current.
Buyers can search for recommendations and reviews if the builder has the right qualifications. In some cases, builders have nearby homes they have recently built that buyers can visit to see the result. This might come in the form of a model home, popular for tract builders, or a reference to a satisfied customer. When looking at the home, buyers should consider the quality of the finished product, particularly things that the buyer would like to have in their own home.
Reading reviews online can be a helpful way to add depth to the builder's experience. Sites like the Better Business Bureau allow customers to leave reviews about their experience with a particular builder. Buyers may want to limit their search to reviews left within the last couple of years to confirm that customers' recent experience with the builder is good.
Make Sure the Contract Is Correct
All important decisions and details should be included in the contract for a purchase of this size. Builders often have a standard contract process that they follow. The contract itself may be highly detailed with lots of information. Buyers should give themselves the time to read the contract thoroughly, taking time to ask questions and request corrections as needed. They may want to avoid working with builders who try to speed up this part of the process, as the review is essential.
A contract for a new construction home will involve several categories.These might include:
- Name and contact information for the builder
- Site of construction
- Names of all buyers
- The builder's preferred method for estimating costs
- Detailed estimates for each component of construction, including labour costs
- Estimated project timeline
- Expectations for payment, including payment method
- Conditions that may stop work on the project
- Escalation clauses if the buyer and the builder reach an impasse
Every detail should be easy to understand and clearly outlined. Buyers should ask for elaboration on anything that seems vague or confusing.
Invest Time Into Your Builder Choice
Choosing a home builder is not something that buyers should plan to do with a day or two of research. Buying a new construction home is a special life event that shouldn't be taken lightly. Finding a builder for a new construction home, particularly a custom home, can take weeks of searching, interviews, and vetting. The right builder will have experience with the buyer's chosen home type and building process, with a working style that meshes well with the buyer. Buyers can be sure they are making the right choice by researching multiple options, requesting consultations, and visiting model homes.