If you are considering contracting with a home builder, it is wise to ask questions before making any contract decisions. Here is a helpful list to start with:
1) Do you carry commercial general liability insurance? Consumers will know immediately if this contractor had gained industry stability by carrying general liability insurance. While not mandated to do remodeling, it shows a commitment to protecting client property in case of unintended damages caused by the contractor or his employees.
2) What trade organization do you participate in or are a member of? Building contractors who do so are more apt to be current in their training and knowledgeable about construction codes and materials.
3) If we encounter problems during the project, will it be completed on time? How do you schedule your projects? There are basically two types of home remodeling firms, and should find one that suits your personal style.
4) May I have a list of referrals from past clients?
5) Are your investment dollars and supply purchases going to local businesses or subsidizing a national company and headquarters outside of Minnesota or the United States? Living, working and being involved in the local community generates accountability to our economy, resources, community security, trust, and a sense of pride.
6) Do you guarantee your prices? Many homeowners discover hidden costs well into the project that were are not included in their project estimate. Hiring a contractor purely by price is erroneous. The builder may know in advance he will submit sub-standard blueprints that the city’s building department will absolutely reject, just to gain the contract.
7) Ask if they have experience in building the type of hone you are interested in. If it is to be build with an “European Influence”, for example, is he willing to work with the extra time finding the unique building materials it may take.
8) Is a permit needed, and if so, are you obtaining one? Although many ignore it,, most construction projects, including plumbing and electrical relocation jobs, require a building permit from the city the home is in. Paying more to ensure everything is done properly and having that permit allows consumers to know that construction codes are being adhered to and your home won’t be in danger of electrical fire or numerous other potential problems.
Homeowners can take further precautionary steps and learn more about the home builder choices available, their reputation, and business niche by asking others several key questions.
* Find addresses of completed home builds or remodeling projects and drive by during off-work hours and see if the owners are available to meet. Compile a list of opinions. The more personal references you can gain, the more confident a perspective consumer will be of a builder. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
* Local real estate agents can be a great resource. Being absorbed in the home industry, they are sure to know of homeowners who have been pleased with a home builder. Home sellers often enlist a contractor for home renovations or repairs to increase market value and the ability to sell a home quickly.
* Local home builders’ associations are easy to obtain a list of builders who construct homes per geographic area. The National Association of Home Builders has a list. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource, complete with reviews and ratings.
A little homework goes a long way. With answers in hand to the questions you asked your home builder, you can anticipate a great experience and completed home build on time, on budget, fully complaint, and beautiful done to enjoy for years to come.