If you are entertaining the idea building a new home, finding the right builder is the first and most important step. You want someone that provides the highest level of integrity to the industry, but also brings decades of experience and acute attention to detail to each project. There are many elements that go into choosing a builder, and below are five questions you should ask before you commit to working with someone.
What types of homes do you build?
This may seem obvious, but a lot of times a builder may not have the experience building the house you fantasize about. There are many different types of homes, sizes, style, and neighborhood, which all need to be considered. Ask to see your home builder’s portfolio of recent projects, floor plans, and interior and exterior photos of the project, during construction and after. This will give you an idea of what your builder is capable of and comfortable with.
How long have you been in business?
You probably understand that hiring someone that has only been in business for a few years is not the best decision. Lady Street Builders have been creating some of Columbia’s, and the surrounding area’s, most spectacular homes for over 15 years. In addition to maintaining an excellent reputation throughout the years, having an understanding of the region means that a builder will ensure a deeper understanding of the local permitting and codes, therefore, allowing your project to meet timelines.
What sets your business apart from the competition?
Many builders will say they are experienced and qualified, but they should be able to provide references and photos of their previous projects that back up these claims. Being recognized by leaders in the industry, and receiving awards and honors in the field are also good indicators that you are working with a reputable company.
Are you licensed?
Builders and subcontractors must be licensed and insured in the state you are building in and should provide a written warranty on their work. Ask if their license and insurance covers against injuries, job site accidents, storm damage, or other unforeseen incidents. Make sure these documents are up to date and included in your contract. Also, review what the warranty covers, including product defects or faulty materials. Working with an unlicensed builder or contractor is highly risky and can cost you thousands.
How are subcontractors hired?
A reliable builder will hire their subcontractors with a high level of standards. They are an extension of the business, and therefore need to maintain a commitment to customer satisfaction. You should look at reviews of the builder to see if, beyond customer insight, subcontractors are paid on time. For example, Tony Carnaggio, owner of Lady Street Builders, only hires subcontractors that share his methodical, determined approach that will keep them on the jobsite until the project is completed to the satisfaction of the home buyer.
Maybe you’ve spent hours looking through homes magazines and daydreaming about your custom home, but it is a significant investment of money and time and needs to be managed carefully. Once you find a builder you trust, then an entirely new set of questions come up, like timelines, budget, and features, but the first step is hiring a reputable company to get the job done right.