How to Choose a Home Builder
Building your own home is an exciting process. However, it’s also incredibly complex and can be seriously stressful. A few bad choices can quickly blow out the budget and the timeline. One of the best ways to ensure your home building experience goes smoothly is to make sure you get the right home builder from the beginning of the project. Easier said than done though, right? There are plenty of new home builders out there and it can be difficult finding the one that’s right for your project.
We have a few tips to help you find the right home builder.
- Decide what you want
You can’t pick a builder until you know what you want them to build. But that doesn’t mean you need a detailed plan from the beginning. However, it does help to have a clear idea about what you’d like in your new home. It’s a good idea to have a selection of photos that give an indication of the direction you’d like to head in with you home.
Other important factors to present to potential builders include your budget, the size of the home, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms and any other “must-haves.”
A good home builder will be able to take these ideas and turn them into something tangible. They can help put together a plan with a home designer or architect, meeting your needs and budget. An experienced new home builder will also be able to help you avoid common home design mistakes.
Different types of builders also specialise in different types of building, so if you’re looking for an ultra-modern home or an eco-friendly home, then you might want to look for home builders that specialise in these types of construction.
- Get recommendations
If you know anyone who has recently had building work completed, ask them about their experiences. Would they recommend the building service they used? Would they do things differently? Do they have suggestions about choosing the right builder?
Any friends or family that have recently built a home may also have good contacts besides builders that might be useful for you to talk to. Other tradies or contractors in the construction sector should be able to recommend experienced builders with good reputations.
- Research local builders
Ideally, you want to contract local home builders to ensure that they know the area and can appropriately design and build your home. Therefore, it’s important to localise your search.
One way to do this is to visit any local display villages. Look at the homes there and see what you think. Do you think the same builders would be appropriate for you? Are the homes well built or similar to what you have in mind?
If you’re looking for a custom home builder, start by searching online. Some local Google searches are helpful, or you can search for builders on the Master Builders Victoria website.
A good custom builder should have a detailed gallery on their website showcasing their work. This will give you a sense of the kind of work they do and the areas they service.
- Work through your list of builders
From the research phase, you should have a list of potential new home builders whose work you’re interested in. At this point it’s worth vetting these builders before you start discussing any projects.
Start by checking that there have been no disciplinary sanctions brought against the builder. You can do this by checking your state building authority’s disciplinary register.
You should also contact the builders directly to get information about licensing, insurance and warranty information. All reputable builders should be licensed and insured, but there are plenty of disreputable operators out there who will not be covered.
Regarding warranties, defects often won’t show up until several months after construction. A good warranty or work guarantee can be invaluable and can save you serious money in repairs down the road.
As you start to narrow down your list, speak to the builders and ask for references and examples of past work. Look at the quality and complexity of the work and see if it is similar to what you want. Will they be able to build your home or is it vastly different from their past work?
If you are able to contact these references directly, make sure you’re armed with detailed questions about the design and building process, the builder’s ability to meet deadlines, their communication, the accuracy of their quotes and the quality of their work.
Next, check that the builder can meet your schedule. They may not be able to fit the project around other work, or you may need to adjust your own schedule to work with a later starting date.
Finally, ask for building quotes. Remember that although these quotes will be rough estimates at this point, they still give you a good indication about the new home builders. See how they compare with the end prices of past works, for instance. Trust quotes that are detailed, thoroughly itemised and include a timeline with clear milestones.
Be wary of any quotes that seem significantly cheaper than the other quotes you have. It may be cheap because they are cutting corners, using subpar materials or underquoting to attract your business. A home is a massive investment and it’s usually worth putting in a bit more money up front to avoid major hassles down the road.
Finding the right new home builder isn’t an easy process. However, putting in the time and effort now means that you will get the home you want without any nasty surprises.