Find a Builder: Where to Start Your Search
Find a Builder Working Locally
Finding a builder locally can have huge benefits when it comes to your build. Time on site, their knowledge of local planning, builders’ merchants and other local trades are all invaluable nuggets of knowledge that you’ll welcome on site.
Find a Builder Other Tradesmen Recommend
If you’ve used an electrician before or a local plumber and liked their work, why not contact them and ask if they know of any good builders they’d recommend. Most tradesmen get used to seeing the same familiar names around the sites they are working on and often have preferences for who they like to work with — and who they see as a good source of work.
Find a Local Builder Through a Friend
It’s a cliche we hear mentioned whenever we’re on the look out for a trades person but asking friends and family if they’d recommend anyone is always a good place to start. A lot of trades rely on word of mouth and if you can find a builder through someone you trust and whose work you can go and visit, then you can make a decision about whether they’ll do a good job.
Always Talk to Previous Customers
Once you’ve found a builder you like, don’t be afraid to ask them for a list of previous customers; they should be happy to provide details if they’re confident they’ve done a successful job. This will give you an ideal opportunity to really find out what they’re like and see examples of their work first-hand.
Find a Builder Online
A good place to starting looking online to find a builder is on sites like the Federation of Master Builders. They have a search tool where you can find specific trades in your area and look at their references. All FMB members are vetted and independently inspected, and are checked to ensure that they have the correct insurances in place.
How to Find a Good Builder for Your House
Start in the Right Place
The National Association of Home Builders recommends that consumers contact the local association of home builders association to obtain a list of member builders. The association offers a list of local home builders groups on their website, or you can check the Parade of Homes website to search for a builder. If you are in contact with a local real estate agent, ask her for a list of reputable dealers. Finally, ask neighbors whose homes have been built in the last four or five years about their builder and if they are happy with the job he did.
Although it is important to hire a builder who is qualified, the last thing you want to do is pay more than is necessary. Gather quotes from the list of builders you’ve collected. Make sure you understand what is included in each quote. Does the builder include cleanup of the job site and finish work, such as landscaping in the overall cost? Also, similar materials should be listed for both quotes, including any included appliances, kitchen cabinets, flooring and windows.
Consider the Builder’s Specialty
You wouldn’t hire a heating and cooling specialist to install your plumbing or a plumber to replace your roof, so don’t hire a commercial builder to create a 1400-square-foot ranch home. Ask the builder about other projects he’s worked on that are similar to yours. Find out if he has pictures and if you can speak to those homeowners about his work.
Research Your Top Three Builders
Narrow down the choices to three builders you might like to use. Do your homework on these builders. The National Association of Home Builders suggests contacting other people the builder has completed homes for and asking questions like if the project was completed on time and on budget and if there were any major issues. Also, visit the Better Business Bureau website to see if any complaints have been filed against the builder and if they were resolved.
If a builder has completed 30 houses similar to yours, he is more likely to anticipate and resolve the common issues that arise with building a new home than a builder who has only one other home under his belt. Find out how many houses your builder has completed and the sizes of those projects.
How to Find a Good Home Builder
Home Builders for Hire
Home builders provide turnkey services. An in-house crew of professionals works with the client on every aspect of the project, from design and development to construction and installation. The only exceptions are jobs like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work. In these instances, a builder will sub-contract a licensed pro.
Hiring a General Contractor
General contractors (GCs) hire and manage the pros who construct your home. They are also in charge of acquiring permits and materials. Most clients use their own architect to design a floor plan and hire a GC to implement it. Clients typically sign a contract that includes a fee of up to 20% of the project cost in exchange for the contractor’s services.
Project Managers or Construction Management Companies
Project managers and construction management companies charge a fee to oversee the construction process. Independent project managers are typically local and can provide on-site services. However, management companies may be national corporations with limited personnel in your area.
Architects, Draftsman, & Structural Engineers
Architects, draftsman, and structural engineers turn a client’s ideas into an actual blueprint. While the work they do is similar, each of these professionals play a separate role in the construction design process
Custom Home Builders
Custom home builders typically construct a one-of-a-kind house to a client’s specifications on his or her own land. They handle every aspect of the process, from site preparation and land development to building and landscaping
How to find a reliable builder
Ask around for builder recommendations
Personal recommendation is always the best way of finding a builder. It’s a major undertaking, and you want to make sure you have complete peace of mind from the start that the right builders are doing the job for you.
Look at boards at building sites
Keep an eye out for boards on building sites in your area, but always do your own research too. Check online for reviews and get feedback from people who have used the builders before.
Search online for highly-rated builders
These websites hold the details of thousands of builders and building companies. Builders’ ratings on these sites are based on the feedback from clients, so the better the job done by the builder, the higher the rating.
Choose a reliable builder from trading associations
If a builder is a member of a recognised trading association, this is another way of sifting out the good guys from the cowboys. It’s not obligatory for builders to join a trading body, such as the Federation of Master Builders, the National Federation of Builders, or the Guild of Builders and Contractors. But you’ll be giving yourself a level of consumer protection by choosing builders and building firms who are members, plus those who meet Government-endorsed trading standards with the ‘TrustMark’ seal of approval.
And one final big no-no to remember when choosing a reliable builder
If anyone knocks on your door and claims to have spotted structural defects on such as your roof or guttering that may need repairing – just never take their word for it. Always seek professional advice from a reliable builder before giving any work the go-ahead.
Tips for Finding a Home Builder You Can Trust
Do they ask about your family’s needs? Not every builder is willing to customize and modify floor plans to meet your specific needs. Frequently, you may be expected to fit into a “cookie-cutter” mold of a buyer and not all buyers have the same needs. If you have specific desires, you need to be clear what you are looking for and see if they builder will be able to cater to your needs.
Do they offer references? Depending on the type of project you are looking to start, you may want to ask for references from customers that the builder has done similar work for. If the builder cannot provide references, you will want to reconsider this builder.
Do they have a good reputation? This can be determined not only by speaking with references as mentioned above, but all ensuring their licensing is in good standing with the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors and potentially even the Better Business Bureau. You can also ask around the area and speak with your realtor regarding the reputation of the builder you are considering.
Do they provide details in writing and review them with you? One of the most essential parts of a build for a buyer should be to get all details in writing up front. You need to know specifically what you are getting and what features are included in your home. They should be clear on the process of the build with you as well. It is best prior to starting any construction that you have a face to face meeting with the builder and ensure you are on the same page with everything. Even in writing, things can get lost in translation. There is no substitute for a face to face meeting when starting your new home.
Do they listen to your concerns? It is essential that your builder take the time to listen to questions and concerns you may have. If your builder is too busy to communicate with you, be it via email or some other way, regarding your concerns initially, you can be sure they will be too busy to communicate with you along the way. That is not the type of build you want. Be sure your builder listens to you.