You’ve decided you want to build a new home, and you’ve started looking at some of the show homes throughout the area. You’re starting to get a good sense of what you need in a home, but have you given much thought to what you need to find in a builder?
- How long have you been in business? What is your track record?
- What comes standard in your homes?
- What upgrades are available? What upgrades are not available?
- How long will the building process take? What if I need to move sooner?
- Does this community have a Homewoners' Association? Are there additional rules? Additional fees?
- What does the warranty look like?
- When do final decisions need to be made?
- How will you keep me updated on progress?
Choosing a great builder is important. The quality of your home and the service you receive both play a big role in your long-term happiness with the home. You deserve to find a good match, and we think you’ll be off to a good start if you ask each builder the following questions.
How long have you been in business? What is your track record?
You don’t want to take risks with your home. You need a builder who has a long track record of success. The answer to this question should partially have to do with the quality of the homes they build and the level of satisfaction their customers have.
Take a look at a builder's online reviews to get a better picture of the experiences others have had with their home buying and building processes. You'll start to see a pattern and will know right away if they are good to work with.
What comes standard in your homes?
Each builder has made decisions about what types of materials come standard in the home. These are the materials used when calculating the base price. Some builders choose to use more affordable materials in the base models, and their starting prices reflect that. Others might have higher starting prices because they use higher-quality materials that would be considered upgrades with another builder. It’s important to know what you get for your money and what you’ll need to pay a bit extra for.
What upgrades are available? What upgrades are not available?
The Sales Agent should be able to easily tell you what types of things you can upgrade. It’s helpful to do this as you tour a show home because they'll be able to point to specific things that are upgrades or standard materials. If there’s something in particular you’ve been dreaming about, you’ll want to make sure it’s something the builder offers as a choice. Many builders can do what it takes to get your business.
However, not all builders are able to answer all of your requests. For instance, only a few builders will allow you to make significant changes to the floor plan of the home you like. It can also be difficult to get certain design upgrades, such as a patterned floor using different coloured floorboards.
How long will the building process take? What if I need to move sooner?
Naturally, you’ll want to know when you can move into your home. In general, new home builds can take anywhere from 9 to 10 months, depending on the builder. This could sway your decision in one way or another.
If you find that it will take too long to build your home, you can look into the builder’s quick possession offerings. These homes are brand-new, but they’re either move-in ready or will be available in just a few months.
Does this community have a Homeowners’ Association? Are there additional rules? Additional fees?
Homeowners’ associations or community associations are often great. They might arrange exterior maintenance or plan fun activities for residents. Not everyone likes this, though. HOAs sometimes have monthly or annual fees that can add to the cost of the home. And they may create rules that place restrictions on how homeowners can or can’t use their property. These rules are intended to preserve the community’s value, but some people can find them cumbersome. You’ll want to know if the community you like has this sort of thing.
What does the warranty look like?
With a new home, you’ll get a warranty. This sounds great in theory, but it's always a good idea to read the fine print. For instance, some parts of the home are only under warranty for a year, while other parts are covered for 10 years. Sometimes, you’re required to do maintenance on the item, and if you miss an appointment, it voids your warranty, so you have to stay on top of things. Some builders may offer better warranties than others, so it makes sense to compare these before you make your choice.
When do final decisions need to be made?
Part of the fun of building a home is choosing all of the details that go into it. Of course, this is can also an overwhelming process. You may not know what you want and you may want the opportunity to research your options. In general, the builder can start the building process once you’ve decided on the floor plan, but you can make design decisions later on. At a certain point, though, you cannot make changes to the choices you’ve made.
How will you keep me updated on progress?
You want a builder who stays in touch. Ask how often they give you progress updates on where they are in the building process. Ask if you can drive by the house and talk to the trades people about it. These things aren’t always necessary, but they can make you a lot more excited about the process.
Your choice of builder is an important one. Take the time to look at all of your options and select the builder that makes the most sense for your family’s situation.