Picking a custom home builder is a lot like picking a realtor®; you should interview several builders before making a decision. Do not solely rely on a referral from an agent! Do the work yourself and interview several. Here’s a short check list of questions to ask:
1) Ask for current client referrals, 3 should be no problem & follow up with each regarding quality of the home and how well the builder did in regard to warranty work after the sale.
2) Ask if the builder is willing to do a cost plus contract this will save you money if the builder is ethical and doesn’t try to steal.
3) If you are obtaining financing ask about construction perm loans, these are one time closing loans and usually save the customer about 2,000 and may also have a tax benefit for you. It also allows you to see all the bills and control all the money.
4) Talk with the builders bank make sure the builder has the resources to complete the project
5) Do a basic background check on the builder look for items such as liens, bankruptcies, lawsuits different company names they are an officer in that are now insolvent and in the same industry.
6) Check with the local home builders association for a list of builders in the area
7) Energy cost are going up and the trend will continue pick an Energy Star home builder and have the home certified as an energy star home this will save you money over the long term, add quality to your home and help the resale down the road. For an energy star home expect to add 2-3% to the price of the home.
8) Ask to see a written copy of the home builders warranty program.
9) CONTRACTS- usually not a big deal and all 3 types work well the question is getting the best deal for you. The 3 types are: Realtor® provided (these protect the interest of the agents & brokers), builder provided (these protect the interest of the builder and usually provide more detail in regard to dispute resolution) home owner provided (these are drawn up by your attorney and favor you in the event a dispute arises) many times a builder will want to use their contracts, it’s usually fine just make sure your real estate attorney reviews the document before you sign.
10) Have fun!
That’s your top ten list! Good Luck!