Interested in building or renovating a home, but don’t know where to start? Teammate, Gina Barton, provides a list of considerations before choosing your builder and/or contractor!
Here are some things to consider as you begin the process of building!
First, you want to identify what type of builder best suits your needs and desires. They usually fall into one these categories.
Fully Custom Home Builders: These builders work with buyers to create a unique blueprint from scratch.
Semi-Custom Home Builders: These builders typically have a portfolio of blueprints that they can adjust based upon individual needs.
Production Home Builders: These builders are typically national brands that build out entire neighborhoods. They have pre-established options that buyers may be able to choose from and may do limited customization.
Finding a builder that is reputable, has good communication and that you trust is the next key step. Usually, the service you receive from the initial point of contact will be a good indicator of the level of service you will receive throughout. A good starting point is asking around for recommendations through friends, relatives, or local real estate agents. You can also look at Better Business Bureau ratings online and search for online reviews. Often, real estate agents have had experience working with various local builders and can help you explore your options. Additionally, they can be an advocate and resource for you through the entire process with a builder.
Once you find a list of potential builders, it’s important to do your homework and interview your top 2-3. Request references and ask lots of questions! Be as informed as possible. The National Association of Home Builders have suggested list of questions to ask builders. Additionally, don’t forget about talking with current homeowners. Drive through a builder’s recently built homes and neighborhoods, observe the homes and see if you can find anyone outside. Ask them if they are happy with how their home turned out, their experience with the builder and anything else that is important to you.
Go to open houses and schedule a tour through model homes where you can look at things such as cabinetry, appliances, finishes and flooring closely. You should also ask specific questions about the tradespeople the builder will hire and the quality of their work, such as electricians, plumbers and additional contractors.
Once you choose a builder, set expectations for communication and timelines. All agreements should be put in writing and you should receive a contract identifying the specifics of the work to be completed, the timeline, and of course the finances. Also, ask them if they will allow a third party inspector for pre-drywall and final inspections. If a builder agrees, this shows that they are invested in a quality outcome. There is a lot of legwork that goes into making a choice that’s right for you, but well worth it in the end to get a product you love and a place to call home!
If you are looking to update or remodel your home, there are several important steps to consider when choosing a contractor that will be the right fit for you.
Narrow down your specific goals: As you are considering a project, know what you want before you engage with contractors. Have a working idea of your goals, the amenities that you are looking for, etc. This also includes your budget.
Get referrals and recommendations: Just as you would when building a custom home from scratch, you want to start by getting recommendations. Ask around to friends, search online for reviews and use social media to ask for local referrals.
Know their specializations: As you narrow down your list of contractors, make sure they specialize in the type of job you need. For example, someone who remodeled your friend’s kitchen may not be the right person to remodel your bathroom. Keep in mind that some contractors will offer their advice and creative opinions, while others may not want to be involved in the design portion of your remodel. If not, consider hiring an interior designer to help work side by side with you and your contractor to help make your vision become a reality.
Request to see their portfolios: Ask contractors to see their portfolio which should include before and after pictures and pictures during the process. Portfolios can sometimes be found online or they may have physical images to show you. Request recent projects to view and consider how many projects they have to show you, as well as the quality of their images. Ask them to share contact information from past clients that are willing to provide references.
Check licenses and insurance: Ensure that the contractors you are considering are licensed and certified to complete your job. They should be able to provide you this information on request. As an added measure, you can call the licensing division for your local area to ensure that the contractor is qualified base upon regulations. Also, ensure that their insurance policies are up to date.
Get 2-3 bids: Once you’ve narrowed down your top 3, request a bid from each contractor. Each contractor should come out to view your project in person, take measurements, photos, etc. The bid should have a breakdown of costs. A good contractor will offer an itemized bid consisting of a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of all the various aspects of the project. This includes the cost of labor, materials, profit margins, and other expenses. Don’t automatically accept the lowest bid, review the bids in detail and determine price differentiation.
Proposal and pre time:
Once you accept a bid, the contractor should create an official proposal and timeline and you will be ready to begin your project!
Stay with us for more regarding the real estate market, interior decorating, and more! Make sure to reach out with any questions! We would love to help you out with your next buying or listing process!