Woohoo you’ve decided to build a home! What made you decide to build? Was it Homearama (my favorite home event!) and all the gorgeous, decorated models? Have you been looking for your next home and just haven’t been able to find what you’re looking for? Either way, I’m so excited you’re building a home. Don’t get me wrong, I love renovated homes but there’s just something I’ve always loved about new construction homes. Maybe it was all those weekends I spent with my dad walking through the frame outs of new homes. I got so excited every time I walked through a client’s home with my dad. Laying out the bedrooms in my mind and imagining where the walls would go really made my brain light up.
I still love walking the shells of homes today and helping people build their dream homes. I mean, if you need someone who loves selecting cabinet colors and light fixtures I’m your girl! Before we start browsing the aisles at the granite shops though you’ll need to pick a builder. When you’re trying to decide what builder to use there are a few questions you should ask. I enlisted the help of one of the best builders in Hallsley, Homeplaces, to help define the questions you should be asking each builder you interview.
SLOW YOUR SCROLL! Read this one carefully because this one question can help make A LOT of your decisions. If you’re building in a neighborhood with multiple builders, like Hallsley or Magnolia Green, the builders will have different lots available to them. Before you dive deep into asking questions about customization and timelines it’s important to know what build-able lots are available to you. The lot you select for your home has to be owned by the builder so if you don’t like the lots the builder has then you won’t want to build on them. If you have your own land then you can skip to question two. The second reason the lot is important is because the lot dictates what floor plan you can select. The size of your home is determined by the lot due to lines called setbacks (more about that later.)
You’ll want to have a builder with a Class A contracting license. To get a Class A Contracting license the builder has to pass an exam with DPOR and must have verified work experience and completed a certain level of business to receive that license.
Knowing who will be overseeing and running your project is important to knowing how smoothly and on-time your project will run. It also helps you know if there is any kind of oversight to contractors and know who will be checking the work on a daily and weekly basis to make sure phases are completed when they are supposed to. My dad was a project manager and woke up at 5 am every day to go walk each project. He did this so if something wasn’t complete that was supposed to be, like the electrical work wasn’t done so the next contractor could come in, then he could have them on the phone by 6 am to get them there to finish the work and the team still had a chance of staying on schedule.
Communication is the foundation of a smooth running build. Knowing who you can expect to hear from, how you’ll be notified of changes or timeline updates, and knowing who you can contact if you have questions about your project will help you feel confident in starting your build. Knowing how a company plans to communicate also can tell you a lot about the builder and give you a little insight into what your experience will be like for the next three to nine months.
This may seem like a weird question to ask someone the first time they are meeting you, after all they don’t know you. That’s exactly why you should ask this question though! The builder should have an ideal client in mind and they should be able to describe that client to you. If what they say makes you go “oh yeah, that’s me,” then you’ve found the right builder for you. In my personal experience if they start asking you questions and then forming their answering around your response, they are likely telling you what you want to hear about their capabilities or build style instead of what you need to hear. These are the people you will be working with for three months to a year and you should be their ideal client because that means they will be able to achieve what you are looking for. Being the ideal client is great because it means you are going to better be able to match up your expectations with their product.
Okay this is a two part question. Remember how I said a builder should be describing their ideal client, not telling you what you want to hear? This question (and it’s outcome) can confirm if the builder is right for you. The clients you are able to talk to can tell you a lot about the builder. We all know if people are unhappy you’ll hear about it, but the great the great thing is if people LOVE their homes and the had a great experience you’ll hear about that too. People love to rave and share praise, especially when they are living in a home they love. Beyond that, you should do your own research to find previous clients to chat with and hear about their experience with the builder. See if they can find ones who have just completed their build and ones that have built over a year ago. Ya never know how things have changed.
Okay, part two of this question is equally important. You will also want to see the builder’s homes in different states of construction. This gives you a glimpse of the process, allows you an opportunity to ask questions about what stage they are in and what the timeline is for delivery. If you’ve never built a home it can look like you are so far away from completion when you do a stud or a drywall walk through, but there’s a point when a home starts to come together pretty quickly. Seeing homes in different stages can help set you up for knowing the timeline so as you start to complete your own new construction you feel confident about where you are in the project.
I’m sure your head is still spinning with questions about building a home. Even if you’ve bought a home before building is an entirely different beast and can leave you feeling like there’s no good place to start. These questions will help kick off your research though. I’m familiar with several builders in town so if you need more information, suggestions, or a friend to tag along to some meetings let me know. I’m happy to help guide you through the process of building.
All content for this post was created with the help of Homeplaces Ltd. Sarah Kellam.
Jessica Deleo is a licensed agent in Richmond, Virginia with One South Realty Group. All information provided is of my own opinion and intended for educational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.