The Northern Wasatch HBA receives many calls from potential home buyers asking for recommendations and advice on how to select a builder. Building a new home is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. Doing your homework before hiring a contractor will increase the overall success in building your home.
The NWHBA offers a free Building & Remodeling Resource guide containing valuable advice on building a new home. The guide also contains a membership directory, listing all contractors, subcontractors, and associates who have joined the association and by doing so have agreed to conduct business under a code of ethics policy issued by the Northern Wasatch HBA.
If you take the following steps, you will likely maintain a good working relationship with your contractor for the duration of the building or remodeling process. Investigate the list of builders in our directory and compile a list of potential builders. Obtain bids from three or four builders, but remember the lowest bid isn't necessarily the best. Let the builder know you are not only interested in the lowest bid, but quality. An important thing to remember is that dissatisfaction with poor quality far outlasts any pleasure you may get from a low price. There are those who earn their living repairing low bids.
If you compare all builders' bids, be sure each one is based on the same set of plans and specifications, quality of materials, etc. If a builder suggests deviations, ask him to present those ideas as options.
Call the Better Business Bureau at 1-800-456-3907 for further references on the builder you have selected. We encourage you to use members of a homebuilder association because they subscribe to a high code of ethics as mentioned above. Know what each bid includes and make sure to have it in writing.
Before you start, ask these questions from past clients of builders you are considering:
- Did the builder communicate well with you and were there any misunderstandings?
- How pleased were you with the quality of work as it was completed?
- Was the builder ethical and were you satisfied with the builder's business practices?
- Would you as a homeowner buy another home from this builder?
- Were there cost overruns and how were they handled?
- Did the builder fulfill the contract on time?
- Did the builder follow through in a timely manner after the close of the loan to finalize any remaining details?
Ask your contractor for a tentative job schedule. Talk about change orders. Find out the procedure they use for placing change orders. Always get change orders approved and signed for.
An important area in selecting a builder is if a warranty is provided on the home. Most reputable builders provide a warranty on their materials and workmanship typically for one year. Having the warranty expectations and your builders promises in writing will prevent any misunderstanding.
Once your home is completed, have a final walk-through with the builder or his representative. Make sure you and the builder write down the items that need to be corrected. Don't be alarmed if you find a few things not up to your standard. A completed home is the sum of many individual mechanical operations and materials. It isn't unusual for small things to be missed. The builder should then give you a projected date of completion for corrections.
Last but not least, move in and enjoy your beautiful new home!
Find a Contractor
Building a new home? Need new windows or a new furnace? The NWHBA can help you find the right contractor for the job. Submit the details of your construction project to us and we(ll do the rest. Your request will be forwared to member contractors who specialize in the type of work you require. The contractors will then contact you directly to arrange an estimate.