As we head into 2018, homeowners across the country are weighing their housing options for the coming year. Should you sell, buy, stay put?
Luckily, recent analysis indicates that while the U.S. economy is steadily expanding, we don’t seem to be headed for another housing bubble. That’s great news for homebuyers across the country—including those in Idaho, where the housing market is strong and growing.
If you’re considering building a new home, 2018 will be a great year to do it. Now is the time to start the process, before interest rates go up again and while many areas in the state still have open land from which to choose.
One of your first steps should be identifying the ideal builder. Here, we explore the top ways to find the best homebuilders in Idaho.
Ask the experts.
Many customers start their search by contacting local building groups in order to get a list of area builders. For example, you can check to see if your area has a local homebuilders association. Idaho has several located throughout the state, and they can be a great resource for finding builders that construct homes in your area. You can find the group closest to you on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) website.
You can also get recommendations from a trusted lender or realtor in your area, since they probably will have worked with multiple homebuilders in the past.
Social media sites like Houzz, Yelp, Pinterest, Facebook and even LinkedIn can also be great resources for finding builders, reading reviews, and seeing examples of their work. However, avoid choosing a builder solely based on online reviews. After all, a small percentage frustrated customers does not mean that a particular builder is bad, and a few positive reviews may not equal a great company. It’s best to use online reviews as a guidepost, and then do additional research on sites like Consumer Reports to learn more.
You can also reach out to friends, colleagues, family members, and acquaintances who have worked with local homebuilders, and ask them about their experiences. Did the builder listen to their needs and wants? Did they stick to the timeline and budget, while communicating any potential problems or changes? You might even ask to see the completed home in person, just to get a sense of the quality and style of that particular builder.
Identify your priorities.
Take some time to consider what is most important to you in a homebuilder. Of course, every buyer needs to know that their home will be within their budget and fit their style, but you might also want to know more about the builder’s design and customization process, how they handle weather delays, and which brands they offer for important features like appliances, flooring, and exterior siding.
The key is finding a builder that is highly experienced in building the type of home you want. Do you think you’ll opt for a customizable floor plan or go fully custom? Are you looking for a multigenerational home to accommodate adult children or aging parents? Are you hoping to downsize as you get closer to retirement? Or maybe this is your opportunity to build your dream home, complete with all the features and upgrades you’ve always wanted. Whatever your path, it’s important to ensure your builder specializes in the specific type of home you’re seeking.
Ask lots of questions.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a handful of builders, it’s time for interviews. Schedule a phone call, or ideally, an in-person meeting with one of their sales counselors to ask key questions, such as these, suggested by the NAHB:
- Can the builder supply a list of recent buyers for reference?
- How much customizing can be done on a floor plan?
- Are there any additional fees that may emerge during the building or design process?
- How does the builder’s warranty program work?
In addition, ask some key questions about the company itself, as we explored in our recent blog post, “Red Flags to Watch for when Working with Homebuilders.” These might include:
- How long has the company been in business? Longevity and experience are a good sign. You don’t want to end up with a builder that might be out of business before your home is even completed.
- How many people work for the company? Very small homebuilders can sometimes be a red flag for customers. That’s because smaller builders can struggle to secure financing from banks, especially since the 2008 recession. Plus, fewer employees means their people are forced to become “jacks of all trades,” rather than specializing in one or two areas of homebuilding. This can sometimes cause quality to suffer.
Tour floor plans you love.
Most well-established builders in Idaho hold regular open houses and educational seminars to enable potential customers to ask questions, learn more about the process, and see their floor plans, materials, and features in person. These are great opportunities to get a better sense of the builder’s style and level of quality—and to get an idea of how a particular floor plan might work for you. This is also a good time to ask any questions you have about the building process, design selections, timelines, and more.
Although building a custom home can at times feel like a daunting undertaking, partnering with the right builder can make all the difference. The key is to identify a homebuilder that has significant experience building the type of home you want and who listens to customers’ ideas and concerns. Your builder should feel like a true partner in this process so that, in the end, you wind up with exactly the home you always wanted.