When it comes to constructing a new home, I have seen people get carried away with the house floor plan and exterior elevation designs and views. They spend hours with an architect to get the house floor plan and elevation designs right. However, there is one more important aspect of building a beautiful home i.e. to find the right home builder and contractor to build your dream home.
While there is no shortage of small home builders and contractors, you can’t really work with a home builder you find randomly. Because, hiring such a contractor could turn out to be a fatal mistake in your home construction journey. It’s highly recommended to follow a strategic approach to assess the credibility and capability of the builder before hiring. And therefore, the first task at hand is to make a list of a few probable builders and then narrow the list down by asking the right questions to the builders before hiring.
How do you think you can do that?
By asking the right set of questions, and that’s what this post is all about.
If you are planning to hire the best home builder and you are wondering about what questions to ask a home builder contractor before hiring, then here’s the post worth checking.
Finalize your requirement and the scope of work
Once you have finalized and selected a house plan design, the next step is to finalize the scope of work. Building a home is a time taking process as it involves civil contractors, interior contractors, plumbers, electricians, flooring and waterproofing technicians, landscaping contractors etc.
There are home builders that offer end to end construction and interior decorating services. However, every building contractor may not suit your needs because they might have different specialization or might have some budget preference.
Similarly, not every home builder will have the experience of building homes like what you want. Some of them may have specialization in building high end luxurious homes, and others may have specialization in building small Indian style homes.
It is important to finalize the scope of work and tentative budget. Once you have a budget in mind and you have narrowed down your construction requirements, you will be able to find the most suitable home builder contractor for your new home.
Approach home builders
Now that you have the scope of work and you know what style and size of house you want to build and under what kind of tentative budget, you should find a few reliable and suitable building contractors available near you.
The best way to find a reliable home builder and contractor is to check with your colleagues, friends and family. However, if that does not fetch any encouraging result, then you can always search for a builder online using your favorite search engine.
The idea is to make a list of top three companies and then narrow down the list to the most suitable, rightly placed and a credible home builder for your new home.
Top question to ask your new home builders
Now that you have the list of probable builders for your new home, you have to ask them the right set of questions to assess them better.
You can ask these questions to your new home builder before hiring.
Since how long you have been in this business?
This is the first question worth asking a builder to build your new home because you want to ensure that the builder you are hiring to build your home has been in the business for a few years and has the experience to pull it off successfully.
Do you have any industry certification or membership?
Since the construction business does not require specific licenses in many states, it’s important to know if the builder you are considering has other certification like ISO certification or is a member of another national or local trade body. In fact, you can also ask about other business licenses and insurance etc.
What’s your specialization?
Every builder has some specialization and they are known for building certain types of building. Some home builders may have expertise in building high end luxury villas and bungalows and others may specialize in building tiny houses and small homes.
When you ask about the specialization of the builder, it helps you assess if the contractor will be the right fit as per your home style and size?
What sort of warranty do you offer for new homes you build?
This is an important question to ask your new home builder because issues may arise after construction and it’s better to work with a builder that offers some post construction warranty, at least for initial few months of moving in.
Can I give you my own house plan to build upon?
There are specific architectural firms available who offer best ready to build house plans and hoe designs at extremely affordable rates. And if you decide to use such house plans, then it’s important to ascertain that the home builder you are considering to work with will be able to build on your house plan.
Would you collaborate with my architect if required?
If you are giving your own house plan, then the builder should be able to collaborate and communicate with your architect independently and hence this question is an important question worth asking a home builder contractor.
Do you assign a dedicated project manager to manage the construction work?
It is important to have a dedicated project manager who can become the single point of contact for you to ask any question and get any update. It’s easier to communicate with one person than different people for different needs. Therefore, a dedicated project manager is important.
How do you ensure that the house is being built as per plan without any deviation?
You have spent a lot of time planning and finalizing a house floor plan and exterior elevation designs for your dream home and therefore it is important to ensure that the building is being built as per the specification of the house plan. And asking this question will help you understand how the builder will ensure that the building will be elevated as per the plan.
How often do you update your client about status and construction progress?
It may take months to build a new home from the plan level. It’s a time consuming project and as a project owner you should get frequent updates about the status of construction and progress reports. Builders are supposed to share progress reports weekly or fortnightly and hence it’s important to ask this question to your new home builder.
Do you share a detailed bill of quantities in your estimates?
Usually, the builders prepare a bill of quantities to build a new home and based on this they prepare a detailed estimate and quotation for their client. Often, they do not share the bill of quantity, which is a vital document to understand the quotations and estimates. Ideally, you should opt for builders willing to share the bill of quantity with you.
How long is it going to take to build my home?
Time to completion is an important factor, especially when you are staying in a rented apartment. So asking this question will help you know when you can expect the construction work to get completed and by when you can actually move into your new dream home.
What kind of budget deviation do you notice in your projects?
No matter how deep you dig, but there may be some deviation in the overall construction cost. Sometimes it happens due to price hike in materials and at other times it may be due to change in specifications or construction plan. But, such deviation should not be more than 10% of the initial construction budget and therefore this question is worth asking your new home builder.
Can you schedule a live site visit for me?
When you visit a live site, you get to know a lot of things and I suggest you to see if you can visit an under construction project which is currently being built by the builder you are considering to hire. Not only it helps you get the idea of how they work on a project, you get to see and understand much more.
Can you connect me to a few of your past customers?
If you can get a few referrals of the past customers, you can talk to them and assess the overall build quality, about warranty and gauge the overall performance of the builder based on real testimony from a real client.
Over to you
Building a dream home of your own is a resource intensive and time consuming task. But it becomes much easier when you have a reliable and credible home builder contractor on your side. But choosing a builder is not easy, especially when there are so many builder contractors available near you.
However, the best way to find a reliable and efficient home builder is to ask them some important questions and then assess them based on their replies. Observe their replies carefully and see to it that they are responding openly and answering transparently.
And most importantly, trust your instinct. Value the positive or negative vibes you receive while interacting and asking these questions. And then take the final call on hiring the right home builder for your new dream home.
What other question do you think one should ask a new home builder?
Share your favorite questions by commenting below!
Happy home construction!