How many years have you been in business?
Experience tells more than just about any other question that you can ask. It is the foundation for building expertise that should be on display in recent home completions for you to make a judgement on.
How many homes have you built?
This is a direct reflection of how sought after the home builder is or how new they are to the business.
Do you have references I can talk to?
If the answer is no, begin a search for another builder. Your builder should have numerous satisfied customers who are willing to offer a personal endorsement of quality, craftsmanship, service and value.
What are your strengths in building that separate you from other builders?
Hearing a home builder’s business philosophy personally from them can tell you volumes. A short list of things to listen for are: planning stage attentiveness (listening), ability to offer design diversity, quality workmanship, full service, promptness, conscientious work-site habits, customer responsiveness, and delivering on what was promised.
Do you build only from home plans that you supply, or can I provide my own set of plans?
Some builders work only from their own plans. Custom home builders should be adaptive in this area. After all, if you have a plan that you like, it puts the process a step further along for the builder. Conversely, your builder should bring insights that will enhance the provided plan structurally and functionally.
Who will oversee the construction of my home? Who should I contact with questions?
You can have one of several different employees assigned to oversee your home construction. In your best interest, the company owner, or the Construction Manager should assist you through the entire process.
How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during construction?
The answer is multifaceted. Items such as flooring, windows, countertops, cabinets can be changed multiple times during the plan stage. As long as something hasn't been ordered and doesn't require changes to the existing project, changes should be able to be made. Structural components such as foundation, framing, roof and mechanical components are more rigid and require (in most cases) a request prior to construction beginning. Each builder is different. Most will make accommodations within reason.
Do you have a model I can walk through?
The answer should always be “Yes.” Either a finished, decorated home or one that is close to completion and best represents their workmanship.
What are the major energy-saving features of homes you build?
This should be a central item in your builder’s presentation. Implementation of the best and latest technologies can result in substantial savings for you over time. Some builders are much more thorough in this area than others. Ask questions and follow up with your own internet research.
Do you offer environmentally sustainable, or green, building practices. With what program?
Builders who offer a sustainability program did not just sign up and begin utilizing its practices. Accreditations in this area are achieved over time and through developed skills. One such certification is the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. Click here to learn more about it.