To build or not to build, that is the question. If you’re considering building your next home, we’ve put together a series of questions that will help you to evaluate builders.
1. How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
If you’re working with a large, well-known builder, much of this information can be found online. When working with smaller builders or custom home builders, this question is key. You want to feel comfortable both in the quality of construction as well as your experience as a client, and a track record of success can boost your confidence.
2. Are you licensed and insured?
While Texas does not require builders to have general contractor licenses, requirements can vary by city and your builder is required to have a Texas Business License. Reputable builders will carry insurance, but the type and quality of coverage can vary.
3. What are some important benefits of the homes you build compared to other builders?
Every builder does things a bit differently, and you want to know what makes their homes great! Most builders have a well-defined value proposition, so make sure to take note of the differences to allow yourself the opportunity to look back and compare.
4. What type of warranty do you offer?
Most standard builder warranties include 1 year of protection against workmanship defects, 2 years for systems, and 10-year structural warranties. Make sure to ask your builder about their specific warranty details to see how their coverage might differ.
5. Do you have a model I can tour, or can we make an appointment to see another recently built home?
If you have the opportunity to see both, even better! If you’re viewing a model, keep in mind that models are built to showcase the unique features a builder offers and might be reflective of the home you’re considering. Viewing a recently built home in the community is a great way to build context, especially if you can compare it with a model.
6. What energy-saving features do your homes offer?
Energy efficiency can come in a variety of ways, from systems to materials and even how the home is built. Make sure to ask your builder about the specific measures they take to ensure that you are being both environmentally conscious and saving money on your utility bills.
7. Can I make changes to the home plans you provide?
Depending on whether you are building from the ground up or purchasing a spec home, there may or may not be wiggle room to make layout changes or add features to your home. When reviewing various plans, make sure to inquire about flexibility.
8. What features are standard in your homes, and what are some typical options and upgrades I can select?
Upgrades can quickly increase the cost of a new build, so it’s important to understand what’s included, and what a must-have feature will cost if it is an upgrade.
9. When will I select upgrades?
Most builders have a well-defined process that you will go through, including the selection of upgrades, finishes, etc. Make sure to inquire about where upgrades fit into a given builder’s timeline during your consultation.
10. Who is my point of contact during the construction process?
Questions will undoubtedly arise during your building process. Knowing who to contact will help you to get the answer you need quickly.
11. How and when will the final price of my home be determined?
With the variability we’ve had in the past two years in the cost of materials, setting expectations is key. It is also important to review your contract thoroughly to ensure you know your rights and obligations.
12. How long will it take to build my home?
If you need to sell your current home or extend a lease, timing is key, and nobody wants to move twice. Understanding your construction timeline will help you to plan around your move, and know where you might need to be flexible.
13. How often will I have access to my home during the construction process?
Building a new home is exciting, and odds are you’ll want to check in on the progress being made. Whether your builder has set checkpoints when you’ll visit the home or prefers to schedule visits at your request, asking up front will help you set expectations.
14. Are there any financing incentives offered?
Many builders offer incentives to finance through their lenders. Ask about any potential incentives upfront to understand how you might benefit compared to using an outside lender.
15. What can I expect from your inspection process?
Set yourself up for success by understanding the inspection process, both in terms of timeline and what’s involved at various stages. You can also purchase a new construction home inspection, also referred to as a phase inspection, from an outside inspector to give you additional peace of mind.
Building a home, whether in a planned community or through a custom builder, is an involved process that is enhanced by having a Realtor by your side to help navigate through it. If you have any questions or would like to chat with a Realtor about plans to build, simply fill out the form below or give us a call at 214-267-9222.