18 Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

Emerald Park Homes 18 questions to ask your home builder

Blog By: Holmes Approved Homes

Choosing a new build home is a great idea for homeowners who want more control over the ultimate look of their home. By building from the ground up, you have much more say in the layout, design, and finishes than you’d get with a pre-built home.

How do you find the right team to build your dream home? In some cases, you may find that the process of finding the right builder takes as long as the build itself. It’s worth the time and effort, to make your search as thorough as possible. Don’t know where to start? Once you’ve found some potential builders, here are the questions you’ll want to ask.

At Emerald Park Homes, we’re happy to answer these questions, and any more you may have about your new build home!

How long have you been building custom homes in the area?

Choose a qualified, licensed, and reputable builder who has been building in your area for at least five years. The experienced builders will know the soil conditions, area landscape, storm drainage, property boundaries, zoning, property values, sewer and water locations, electrical power and natural gas availability, provincial building codes, best practices, required inspections, and the neighbourhood planning.

Do you have superior quality tradesman?

A good custom home builder and his trades will care about the construction of your new home as if it were their own. Using the same trades on a long-term basis provides stability and quality to a new home. Can we meet with the sub-trades? You should be encouraged to communicate with the builder and his sub-trades to ask for their opinions or suggestions, so you can make quality decisions.

What makes you different from all the other builders?

Listen carefully to the builder’s explanation and reaction to this question. Are they comfortable talking about their achievements and commitment to customer service? Allow them to tell you about items that they feel are important about themselves.

Who will oversee my project?

Ask the home builder who will be overseeing the management of the construction site. Will it be the builder directly, or someone else, such as a superintendent? Ask to be introduced and provided contact information for the site manager.

Can I show your construction contract to my lawyer before signing it?

Show your lawyer the contract so that you have the chance to ask for advice prior to signing it.  Ask if it is thorough enough to cover the worst of problem. Does it cover insurance, change order procedures, warranties, construction time, disputes, financing, builder’s liabilities, budgets, specifications of construction, and allowances?

Are you licensed & insured?

Make sure you receive proof of the builders’ insurance before you begin construction.  It’s important to confirm the builder is not only carrying General Liability and Worker’s Compensation coverage but is also providing Builders Risk Insurance in an appropriate amount to protect your investment.

What’s your warranty and how do you handle issues?

Any reputable builder will have a new home warranty program that offers you 1-year warranty coverage, and some will even have a 10-year structural warranty.

How do you ensure quality construction?

A quality builder will be on-site and involved in the process from start to finish. It takes a large team of professionals to make sure that everything behind the walls is built to last. When a builder has a ‘third party inspector’ hired to walk through the home using the latest technology to ensure the construction is going per plan; you know that you are on the right track.

What’s your training and experience and how is it relevant to my home?

Make sure the builder is experienced with the type or style of home you’re planning. Ask for addresses of other homes in the neighbourhood that they have built so you can drive by and see how they have weathered over time.

Do you provide assistance for selecting the home’s finishes and decorating?

Building a new home involves a lot of decisions, especially when it comes to selecting items like cabinets, counters, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and paint colors. For many people it can be overwhelming. An experienced designer can walk you through the process. Don’t do it alone! Make sure the builder has someone to guide you through the selection process.

How do you communicate and provide service during the design, build, and warranty?

A good builder will be easy to contact and will respond to your requests in a timely manner.  Establish the best way to communicate urgent messages as well as messages that can be handled with less urgency. Make sure that there is a paper trail for all change orders with pricing so there are no misunderstandings.

What’s the time frame to build a home and how do we make sure we don’t exceed it?

The builder should be able to provide you with a start date and finish date based on his previous experience with the type and style of the home.

Can you provide detailed new home specifications and costs?

You need clear, detailed specifications with the total cost of the home, applicable tax, lot, and optional items that you may want to add or delete later on.

What’s included and what’s NOT included?

Ask your lender if there are any specific documents they will require like an appraisal or a surveyors’ certificate. Then ask your builder if these documents are included in your price.

How do you make my home will be energy efficient?

Make sure you understand what features will benefit your electric, gas, and water consumption. Key areas to focus on are insulation, windows, doors, and HVAC systems.

Is home building the builder’s only profession?

Hiring a professional builder with solid business skills and a track record of satisfied clients will make your build go much easier. If a “builder” proposes to build your home part-time, you should proceed with caution. If a builder offers you a “better” deal, you need to worry if it is worth it to take a chance.

Can I trust you?

The builder should be able to tell you easily why you can trust their business. Building a custom home is a long-term relationship that continues beyond the home’s warranty period.  Regardless of how great their reputation is in the area, if there is any reason you are uncomfortable, don’t trust them.

Can I speak to past clients?

This goes back to trust and experience. A builder who’s been around awhile, and wants to establish a positive working relationship with you will happily provide you with some previous clients. Give them a call, and if possible, go out and see their home. Find out from the client-side what it’s like to work with the builder first hand.

For more information on what kinds of questions you should be asking your potential home builder as well as some of the benefits of building your home through a professional home builder, check out our blog posts!

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