If you plan to attend local home shows in the Treasure Valley or Inland Northwest areas, be prepared with questions to ask prospective builders. In addition to finding the right floor plan and choosing the features that best suit your lifestyle, it’s also important to ensure your builder's experience and expertise in delivering a quality home on time and on budget.
Tough Questions to Ask Builders and Local Home Shows
While meeting potential builders in your area, ask them the same set of questions to ensure an equal comparison. Before you go, make a list that includes any project-specific questions, as well as general ones that will help you gain a better understanding of their qualifications.
How many homes have you built?
More experienced builders will operate more efficiently, which means better value for you. Experienced builders have established relationships with subcontractors and suppliers, know the local regulations, and understand the common pitfalls of building a new custom home.
How many homes do you build each year?
Some builders are one-person operations; others are larger entities with multiple superintendents and a robust infrastructure. It’s not always easy to tell from a builder’s marketing materials, but you can get a good idea of its size based on the number of homes they build each year.
When can you start?
Some builders' backlog of work will prevent them from starting your project on the timeline you desire, so always ask about their availability.
How long do you expect my project to take?
Just because they are available to start doesn’t also mean they have the capacity to dedicate all the resources needed to build your home quickly and efficiently. Make sure the builder isn’t spread too thinly by asking when they expect the project to be completed.
Who will be working on my project?
Don’t assume that you're talking to the specific builder who will be in charge of your project. Many companies have several projects happening at the same time with multiple crews and subcontractors. Find out whether you will have the same team on the job each day, your main point of contact, and who you can reach if you have concerns.
In what area(s) do you work?
Builders attend local home shows from various distances. Don't assume that their presence at a show near you means they operate in your area. Ask how long it will take them to reach the jobsite each day. The closer they are, the better it is for your project.
Do you guarantee your pricing?
If your budget is limited or you just want to get the best value for your money, make sure the builder offers guaranteed pricing to prevent surprises down the line.
What type of warranty do you offer?
After a home is built and the land starts to settle, occasionally structural problems arise. While this isn’t necessarily the builder's fault, you can protect your investment with a home warranty.
Will you provide references I can contact?
Most builders will gladly provide testimonials from happy customers, but not all are willing to let you contact their former clients. This is a red flag, so always ask for a list of references that you can contact; follow through to find out about their experiences with the builder.
Can you provide a certificate of insurance?
It’s not enough to ask whether a builder is insured; find out how they are insured. A certificate of insurance from their provider will tell you thet types of coverage they carry and the insurance limits.
How do you qualify subcontractors?
Ask your builder how they determine a subcontractor's qualification (or lack of qualification) to work on your project. Ideally, they should require proof of licensure and appropriate insurance.
Local home shows are great places to find a builder for your new custom home. In addition to reviewing examples of past work, you can get a feel for each builder’s personality, working style, and qualifications. If you’re interested in learning more about Adair Homes, find us at an upcoming event or contact us today and speak with a Home Ownership Counselor.