What You Need To Know About Selecting A General Contractor To Build Your New Home

Don't be afraid to ask! Your making one of the most important decisions of your life and you deserve answers to your questions. Whomever you decide to build your new home you should be informed about your builder.

1. Experience Questions:

How long has the builder been building homes? How did he/she learn the business, who did he/she work with or for? How many homes does he/she build a year, on average? How long has he/she been building in the area you've selected?

2. Client References:

Ask for permission to contact two or three previous buyers; a spec buyer and a presale buyer may give you two different viewpoints. Also ask for a list of addresses of several more homes he/she has built -- a new home, one at least two years old, and one five years old if possible, to allow you to view the exterior of these homes.

3. Expertise Questions:

How long does he/she take to build a home, on average? Which jobs does he/she subcontract, which does he/she perform himself? Are there jobs he/she is qualified to do, but elects to subcontract? How does he/she select, supervise, and compensate his subcontractors? What is his/her average inspection performance (passes 25% on first inspection? 50%?)

4. Professionalism Questions:

What is his/her general contractors’ license number and what level of license does he/she hold? Is he/she a member of the local Home Builders Association, the Board of Realtors or any other local professional trade organization? Does he/she belong to any local business or civic organizations?

5. Financial Questions:

How is his/her credit rating? Ask for specific references. Which lending institution provides his construction loans? Does he/she have accounts with the local building supply stores? Which stores? If he/she does not have an account there might be a financial reason why that person was unable to obtain an account.

6. Process Questions:

How often will you meet with the builder during the construction stage? What decisions will he/she make, which will be referred to you? How does he/she prefer to communicate with you -- phone calls, on-site visits, email? Who else in his/her organization can give you information about progress? Can you reach him/her during the day, and are you willing to accept calls at work from him/her?

7. Service Questions:

When will the walk-through be scheduled, who will attend, and what information will be covered? How many items were on the punch list of the last home he/she finished? How long did it take to complete those items? Who will have access to your home to make punch list repairs after you move in, how much notice is given?

8. Warranty Questions:

Does he/she participate in a group warranty program or offer his own? Have there ever been any warranty claims filed on a home he/she built?