Though builders might generally use similar tools and materials when building homes, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant homebuilding experience.
The builder will ask you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to discuss the home you envision. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it is going to be a positive partnership.
Consider asking the builder about the following:
You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building homes similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they have completed to ensure his or her company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have, or are working toward, any professional designations which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Graduate Master Builder (GMB) and Certified Green Professional (CGP).
Timeline, Specifications and Total Costs
Most builders go to great lengths to ensure they deliver your home on time, and on budget. Nevertheless, it would be prudent to ask your builder to provide you with an outlined, step-by-step guide for completion of each phase of the building process. Equally as important, is to get a set of detailed plans along with a specification sheet so that both you and your builder are on the same page about exactly what is expected.
And because timelines and total costs often go hand-in-hand, you should ask for a detailed accounting of optional features (such as adding an additional bathroom, or finishing the lower level), and potential costs (i.e. if the construction process is significantly delayed due to the availability of certain products and/or materials) through completion.
Most builders offer both structural and workmanship warranties once the home is completed. These warranties should explicitly state what is and is not covered should a problem arise, and any limitations on damages should you have to file a claim. You should also be sure to receive manufacturer warranties for appliances such as the dishwasher, oven/stove, and washer and dryer, and for the home systems like the HVAC system, hot water heater, etc.
Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they cannot, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask how well the builder followed through on the initial plans and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Do not forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?
Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it is always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.
This year’s Spring Parade, which runs through May 7, is an excellent opportunity to put these questions to the test! Prospective buyers will be able to tour beautiful homes to get a hands-on feel for a particular builder’s work, as well as learn about the types of homes they build, their processes, price ranges and more.
2017 Spring Parade of Homes
- When: April 22 through May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
- Where: 381 homes throughout the metro. Free Parade Guides listing addresses and information for every home on the Parade are available at the HBA office at 600 E. 103rd St., near Interstate 435 and Holmes Road, and at all Parade homes. Help stock the Harvesters food pantry by dropping off a donation when you pick up a Parade guide at the HBA or click the Donate button when you plan your tour on KCParadeofHomes.com.
- Home prices range from $165,000 to $1.6 million.
- More Information: Event information and a digital Parade of Homes Guide can be found at KCParadeofHomes.com using an online Home Search tool for locating homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities, plus a Mobile Search and Maps tool for searching from your smart phone or tablet.