How to Select a Reputable Builder

Along with setting a budget and having a firm grasp of the design you’re after, selecting the right builder is a critical step in any home construction or renovation. In fact, selecting the wrong builder typically results in delays and miscommunication, which can not only wreak havoc on your budget but cause you to wind up with a finished product that does not meet your expectations.

In this post, we’ll give you some guidelines for finding a reputable builder who’ll deliver your preferred design on time and on budget.

Understand the different builder types

Since there are many different types of property, there are different types of builders too. If you’re looking to perform a custom home project, then you need a custom home builder who will deliver on what’s important to you. For example, do you want a craftsman who is detail-oriented and puts in the time to produce quality, artistic work? Or, do you need someone who can do the build quickly and efficiently, while effectively managing any issues that arise?

Get recommendations

Friends, family, co-workers- all are resources to plumb for names in your builder search. Getting business through satisfied clients is a main way that builders remain employed, and is a way for you to feel comfortable with your choice of builder.

Another great resource is your neighbors. If someone in your neighborhood recently had work done and you like the result, take a few moments to chat with your neighbor and find out both the builder and the builder’s work style. Most people who have gone through a home project is more than happy to discuss the experience, especially if you are happy with how the project turned out.

Talk to the home builder association

Ask prospective candidates if they belong to Master Builders Australia or a similar home builder’s association. Most builders who are members will be happy to share their qualifications  and industry affiliations with you. Also ring the home builder’s association where the builder is a member to find out if they have received any complaints about the builder.

Builders should also be willing to provide a couple of previous clients as references. Make sure to contact the references to inquire about the builder. Learning whether the builder was respectful of the set budget, stayed on schedule, knew building codes, resolved issues expeditiously and provided helpful suggestions gives you an idea of how the builder would treat your project.

Talk to trades and home inspectors

Finally, ask the builder if you can speak to a few of their trades people. See how well they enjoy working with the builder and otherwise gauge the builder’s work style.

Another resource is your local authority building inspectors. Because inspectors are responsible to hold new construction to the highest standard, they are well-suited to give informal guidance and advice on your custom home design and potential builder.

Get everything in writing

It’s natural to trust people to do as they say. However, when it comes to custom home builders, getting everything in writing helps communication and avoids delays. The first document you should receive is a detailed estimate, which itemises each task and material included in the quoted price. Make sure the estimate includes model numbers for materials, so that you can research them and determine both their quality and durability. Also ensure that the estimate includes allowances for items like fixtures, cabinets and flooring. Finally, any estimate you receive should include the number of days for each task.

By getting all the details in writing, you can then review the estimate and determine if it aligns with your expectations. Once you’ve reviewed the estimate and decided to go with a given builder, the next document you will need is a contract. Make sure that you review the contract before signing, preferably with the help of a real estate lawyer.  That way, you can guarantee that the contract benefits and protects both you and the builder, as opposed to just the builder. Pay particular attention to the builder’s warranty, so that you understand what the warranty does and does not cover. Have the lawyer sign off on the contract for additional peace of mind.

Choosing a reputable builder takes a bit of time and effort. But the payoff is a custom home design project that gets the results you want while remaining on time and within budget.