The average American moves more than 11 times in their life. Though some of those moves are the result of changes in work, school, or family needs, others are just because the house wasn’t the perfect fit.
Finding an existing structure that fits your definition of “dream home” can feel almost impossible. Luckily, there’s a simple way to avoid the frustration and expense of turning a standard house into something that fits you better: building a custom home from the beginning.
Before you can start working on your dream home, you need to find a home builder to oversee the project. Here are a few key tips to help you find a builder that you can trust to bring your dreams to life.
1. Talk to the People You Know
The best way to find a home builder that you can trust is to speak with the people you know. Ask your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances for recommendations.
If they don’t know of a builder personally, they probably know someone who does.
You can also talk to your main service providers and ask them for recommendations. If you have a plumber, electrician, or any other home improvement contractor that you work with, ask them for advice. They’ll likely know which house builders in the area are worth working with and which ones you should avoid.
Remember, they see the results of the builders’ work every time they make a repair at a house. Use this to your advantage.
2. Think About What You Want to Build
Before you can start looking for a local house builder, think about the type of home you want to build. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for exactly, think about the types of features you want. This can be anything from a house with an attached garage, a backyard accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or even something as simple as a floorplan with vaulted ceilings.
Make a list of the must-haves and drive around town to see which types of architectural styles you like. Take pictures of the homes that fit your aesthetic and use these to show the house construction companies you speak with what you’re thinking of.
Remember, you don’t have to have every detail ironed out. Just get a general idea of the type of house, size, and style you want your builder to create.
3. Schedule Consultations With Each Builder
Once you have a few local house building companies in mind, schedule consultations with each company you’re interested in. Find out what types of work they’ve done in the past and how much experience their crew has building homes in the area.
During those consultations, find out which subcontractors they work with (if any) and what types of guarantees they provide for their work. Reputable builders will happily provide you with the information you need.
You should also pay attention to the way they respond to your questions. Ideally, the builder should ask just as many questions as you do. They need to understand what you’re looking for before they can tell you if your project is possible for them to handle.
If a builder doesn’t take the time to get to know you and understand your vision, keep looking.
4. Review Their Portfolios Closely
Every established home builder will have a detailed portfolio of completed projects. Most professionals post these online, but you may need to request portfolios from some builders.
Regardless, take the time to review their portfolios in detail. Look at the types of homes they’ve built in the past. Pay attention to the way the work looks in the photos and, if possible, drive by those homes in person.
If you like what you see and you feel that the quality of their workmanship is up to your needs, put the contractor on the shortlist.
5. Follow up With References for Each Builder
Once you have a list of contractors you feel confident in working with, ask them for references. Reputable companies have extensive lists of previous clients that are willing to speak to the quality of their work.
When you get those references, follow up with them. Ask their clients if they’re happy with their homes and find out if there are any issues they wish they’d been able to avoid with the builder.
If most of the references are positive, you’ll have a similar experience. However, if several references mention similar problems, you may be better of working with a different builder.
6. Ask for Proof of License and Insurance
When you’re working with any contractor, whether they’re building your house or making repairs, you need to make sure they’re licensed and insured. Trustworthy builders will have a valid license number registered with the state. This shows that they’re qualified and legally allowed to work in your area.
They should also be willing to provide you with proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. These insurance policies protect you from having to pay for the cost of repairs or any injuries their team suffers while working on your home.
If a contractor refuses to provide you with either, keep looking. Otherwise, you risk having to pay for damages out of pocket if anything happens while they’re working on your property.
Now You’re Ready to Find a Home Builder
Building your dream home is possible. You just need to find a home builder you can trust to help you bring your vision into reality.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to find a builder you can trust in no time.
Just be willing to take your time in the search. It’s always best to be picky and choose a contractor after careful review than it is to rush the process and go with the first professional you find.
Once you build your home, you’ll need to find ways to showcase your personality. Check out our latest posts for more design tips and advice to help you make your home stand out.