9 Questions to Ask a Home Builder Before Hiring Them

by | Nov 27, 2016

But not just any home builder. You need to hire the right team, with the right expertise to create your vision.

Easier said than done. So, to help ensure you find the perfect builder for your project, below we have compiled a list of 9 questions to ask your home builder before the first design decision is made.

1. Can you provide me with references?
Any reputable home builder will be happy to provide you with two to three references. When you get an opportunity to talk to another homeowner, ask them about the quality of the work, the communication process, and their overall satisfaction. Google and Houzz also make great places to read client reviews. You are looking for a builder who provides a very high level of quality work, is transparent in their communication, and will update you on production schedules and budgets on a regular basis.

2. What types of decisions will I need to make?
Throughout the process there will be numerous decisions that require your involvement.

This granite or that marble? This pendant or that chandelier? Chrome or brushed stainless steel? Tile or wood? A high end home builder has expertise working with all levels of finishes and fixtures and can steer you in the right direction so your home is a perfect reflection of the vision in your head.

They can also introduce you to skilled professionals in their network—interior designers, kitchen designers, landscape designers—who can help you bring your vision to life. Building a home takes many steps and a skilled builder won’t leave you hanging.

Finally, make sure they put together a calendar for all critical decisions.

3. Who supervises the property construction?
Who will be on site every day, and who can you rely on to see through the daily stages of building? Make sure there are dedicated supervisors on location every step of the way to ensure the highest quality of work.

Often with big, corporate home builders, there will be multiple supervisors on any given project. Hiring a boutique custom home builder ensures there is one dedicated supervisor for your project who is involved in all of the decisions.

Of course, there will be some days when the supervisor is unable to work at your home, but the right builder will always have someone from the company stand in. This continuity of management is key to a successful project.

4. Do I need an architect and a designer?
You can choose to work with a builder, architect and interior designer to create your dream home, just know you also need all three of them to coordinate together.

An architect may have different ideas for completing a project than the builder, or an interior designer might have a different vision than either the architect or the builder.

Working with a design-build company gives you an in-house team—architect, builder and designer—who all work with the same mindset and goals so there are less conflicting ideas. This can streamline your timeline, make the decision process less stressful, and typically ensures a more cohesive style.

Whichever you choose, make sure communication is transparent at all stages.

5. What is our schedule?
Agreeing on a reasonable schedule is key to success—not only for completing the house on time, but also for keeping everyone on task. While it’s a given that some unforeseen obstacles will arise during production, you and your home builder should come to an agreement on an estimated completion date. Creating a timetable will keep everyone accountable.

6. How will you protect my property during the construction process?
During construction, it’s critical that your home builder respects your property and belongings. Do they provide adequate insurance coverage to protect against accidents and unforeseen weather damage? Be sure to discuss the details of how they set up their job sites.

7. How will you communicate with me?
Your builder will likely be a big part of your life, and communication is key to creating a solid home owner/builder relationship.

With so many ways to connect, it’s important to pinpoint the right kind of communication between you and your home builder. Do they prefer emails or phone calls? Do you prefer text messages or phone calls? Decide on the best method of communication for big stuff and little stuff. You want complete transparency on the building process and the contractor will need to connect with you to make decisions.

8. How will you work with me on budgeting and will you keep me up to date on costs?
Discussing your budget and knowing what you’re willing to spend is the biggest decision you will make when it comes to building or remodeling a home. If you are planning a custom build or remodel, you will be very involved in the selections that go into your home. These selections ultimately drive the final price.

You and your home builder should agree to an itemized budget before construction begins. As selections are made, your builder needs to provide you with an updated budget reflecting the actual price of those selections and how they affect the project total. Make sure you’re aware of all costs as they come in, so you can make any necessary adjustments to your project if needed.

9. What fees do you charge and what do those fees include?
All builders charge a fee, but the range and style of these fees are very different from builder to builder. Be sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you sign an agreement. Make sure you will have access to invoices from subcontractors and venders so there are no hidden charges. Markups are common in this industry, discussing these fees at the beginning will start you and your builder on the right foot.

Whether you are kicking off a new home build or getting ready for an extensive remodel, asking these questions, means you can feel confident that you are hiring the dream team that will bring your vision to life.

Ready to start your new build or remodel? Whether it’s a custom home built from the ground up, or a luxury remodel to your current residence, the TRP team approaches each project with artistry and uncompromising quality. When you work with us, you are family.