Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase a new-construction home! But when it comes to selecting a builder, where do you start? It is important to shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Regardless of the size or type of home, you will want to know you are buying a good quality home from a builder with a great reputation. There are many good builders in most markets in the U.S. – here’s some tips on how to proceed as recommended by the National Association of Home Builders:
Make A List of Potential Builders
Once you have thought about the type of house you want, you will need to find a builder.
• Contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area.
• Your local newspaper will have a real estate section where builders will advertise their current projects. Some markets hold “Parade of Homes” events and distribute a directory of all the new home communities. By reading through ads and articles online, you’ll get a good idea of which builders are active in your area, what types of homes they are building, and the various price ranges. Make your own list of the builders who are building the type of home you are looking for in the price range you are comfortable with.
• A great resource is to enlist the services of a local real estate agent (especially if that agent is a Certified New Home Ambassador). He/She can direct you not only to the good builders, but can also help answer your questions and represent you in the sale, looking out for your best interests.
• Ask family and friends who have previously built homes for recommendations of any builders they have worked with who did a good job.
Do Your Homework
Once you have a list of builders, how can you find out about their reputations and the quality of their work? The best way to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners.
• Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built homes and subdivisions. Builders may even be able to provide names of some home owners who would be willing to talk with you.
• Drive by on a Saturday morning when home owners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home. Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
• When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later. Some questions you can ask people include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and completely? Would you buy another home from this builder?
• Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why.
Shop For Quality and Value
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Be sure to take your real estate agent along to share perspectives and to offer you additional new-home advice. Model homes are typically filled with many, many upgrades to help you visualize different types of finishes, textures and fabrics. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes to help you really get a look at the construction quality.
When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trim work and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.
Chief Operating Officer
National Builder Trade In Program