Your home is your kingdom. It’s where memories are made and happiness is shared. Your home is your little piece of heaven and escape from the craziness of work and life. Shouldn’t it be everything you want it to be?
Building your dream home can be one of the most exhilarating and life changing experiences ever, or it can be a total nightmare if the builder you choose ends up being far from what you had expected.
When deciding on which home builder and designer to use, there are a number of tips and questions you should ask your potential pick to ensure that they are the best option. Remember, you are paying for their services, and you deserve to be treated fairly and with respect while having all reasonable requests met.
If you’re looking to have a new home built, add some additional rooms, or remodel, please consider the following information.
6 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Home Builder
Do some investigation.
This is one of the most critical but easiest steps to take when choosing a home builder. While you might feel a bit overwhelmed initially, there are plenty of tools – thanks to technology – at your disposal.
The Internet is a great resource for finding the right home builder. Doing a quick Google search for home builders in your area can provide you some initial information. Searching through a potential builder’s website, social media profiles, and online reviews can help you develop a solid baseline about their services and give you insight from previous clients. Most websites should include a portfolio of work done as well as some floor plan options.
Another great option is doing research through the Better Business Bureau. This non-profit organization uses an Accredited Businesses system to assign rankings to businesses and can give you some good insight into a home builder’s past dealings.
Last – but certainly not least – talk to friends, family, and even coworkers. These people in your life may have some valuable advice and can help guide you in the right direction.
You don’t want to approach a builder without defining your needs and expectations. This should include specific details about the home like number of rooms, quality/types of materials to be used, the layout of the home, preferred square footage, style, and other important features of that nature.
Doing this serves a number of purposes. For one, builders can differ greatly in their ability and what they are willing to do. Not every builder will be able to service both the first-time buyer and the individual looking for a multi-million dollar home. They often specialize in a specific style, price range, and type.
Perhaps even more importantly, having a solid plan will allow you to get a more accurate estimate on the cost of the project. If you approach a builder with just a vague notion of what you want, you might get a quote that is substantially lower – and that isn’t a good thing for planning ahead.
Quality and value should be your top priority.
Chances are, if you’re building a custom house, then this is going to be your home for quite some time (or possibly even permanently). You and your family need – and deserve – to have a house built with quality products and skill. Issues to critical structural points (e.g. the foundation) can lead to major issues and heavy costs down the road, so making sure everything is done correctly should be an absolute priority.
Some builders may have home shows or model homes where you can get a solid idea of the company’s work. Pay close attention to the quality of the cabinetry, trimwork, paint job, carpeting, and even the brands of appliances (if this is to be included in the project as well).
If there’s a company representative at the model home, don’t be afraid to ask about the types of materials used in reference to customization versus standard features, restrictions, or estimated taxes on the property. The National Association of Home Builders has a wonderful list of questions to ask your home builder. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s the only way you’ll get some real answers.
Quality from the ground means you and your children will be able to live comfortably for years to come.
Familiarize yourself with the company’s policy about options and allowances.
This can be a major source of headaches if you don’t have everything squared away properly. In construction contracts, an allowance is the specific amount of money available to be spent on items like cabinetry, flooring, countertops, appliances, and the like.
Allowances are designed to keep construction costs within your project budget. But when used improperly, you can end up with poor quality items or a completely different look than you anticipated because the allowances did cover the actual costs of items you wanted.
Some builders may allow you to go over your allowances but then will charge you the additional costs, which can greatly affect your budget. Others may require you make all selections prior to entering into a contract. While this is a great idea to give you a clear understanding of the final costs, it can be a horrible experience trying to choose every single item as it doesn’t allow you any opportunity to make changes.
Transparency is the key in this situation. The potential builder should be willing to inform you about your choices for materials, allowances, upgrade options and costs associated with them.
What about warranties?
Warranty on services and products is absolutely essential. You’ll want to ask about the warranties the builder offers, what the terms are, what is covered, the duration of the warranties, and their typical response times when dealing with any issues that may arise.
The warranty should give you peace of mind from knowing that any major repairs will be handled effectively and quickly. If you aren’t comfortable with the potential builder’s warranty then it may do you well to search for another agency.
Open communication can do wonders.
You want to work with a builder and design team that is going to listen closely to your vision and work diligently to make that dream a reality. That’s why communication is so essential throughout the entire process.
Working with a builder that lacks the ability to communicate quickly with you means you’ll likely end up frustrated and have a rougher experience in general. A lag in communication may also mean certain last minute changes don’t fall through because the building team isn’t making the proper adjustments.
Connecting with your builder and design team when you need them ensures the entire process will go much smoother.
When you are looking for the right partner who can build your vision, look no further than the duo of Michael Harms Construction and Bonnie Harms Designs. We’ve built our reputation as one of McAllen’s best construction and interior design service providers through our dedication to unparalleled services.
Contact us today at (956) 624-6365 to start building your tomorrow.