Have you been considering building a new home or remodeling your current home to fit your future needs? Either way, the process can be exciting or stressful — sometimes a bit of both — and the quality of your experience often depends on who you hire as your builder.
We strive to make the building process as fun and stress-free for our clients as possible; we want to help you have a similar experience by picking the right builder for your project! So, here are some questions to ask your builder before signing a contract.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
This should be your very first question! The answer will most likely be yes, however, if your prospective builder’s answer is no, it’s time to cut and run. Working with an unlicensed and uninsured builder means that if any accidents happen during the duration of your build, the liability will most likely fall on you. Additionally, working with an unlicensed and uninsured builder means your project could be shut down if something goes wrong. That’s a risk you shouldn’t have to take! Especially when there are plenty of licensed and insured builders, like us, on the market.
2. What type of warranty do you offer?
While you’re covering your bases, ask about a warranty. Builder warranties apply to new construction or a remodel and cover permanent home fixtures like plumbing, electrical work, heating, air conditioning, windows, and concrete flooring.
The length of your warranty varies depending on what it covers. Coverage on paint or siding might only last a year, while coverage for a roof could last a decade or more. Understanding your warranty means you know your options should you find a defect in your new home.
3. Can I see examples of your previous projects?
Seeing some past projects will help you suss out whether a builder is compatible with your style and capable of doing the work needed for your dream home to be realized.
Ask your builder to show you pictures of finished projects that are similar to your home style and have some of the same elements you want to include in your remodel or build. They may even have a model home available for you to tour.
You can also ask for client references or inquire about touring an under-construction home. This could give you a more concrete example of what your project will look like.
4. How much will this project cost?
This one should be obvious, but it’s important nonetheless if you’re going to get your dream home without breaking the bank. Before you inquire about the cost you should identify your budget, which you can communicate during your first consultation with a builder. Consider following up with these two questions once your builder gives you a cost estimate: First, what are common additional costs I might incur relating to construction, the home, or the development? Second, what exactly does the cost include? This will give you an idea of what your final cost will be and what you’ll get for your money.
5. How much can I customize my home, what’s included, and what upgrades can I choose from?
Now it’s time to figure out whether the features, customizations, and upgrades a builder offers match your needs.
Start by asking your builder how much you can customize your home. Builders like us will let you customize anything right down to the home’s architecture! However, some custom home builders only allow for cosmetic changes.
Once you know how much you can customize your home, take a look at what features are included in the base price. These features vary from builder to builder. They might include a small basement, two-car garage, tile flooring, and countertops. In addition to the base price, your builder might have upgrade packages you can purchase that include other, higher-end features like a double sink, hardwood floors, and a deeper basement. So, ask about those too!
6. What is a realistic timeline for this project?
Knowing your project’s timeline is crucial to planning your life. A cosmetic remodel could wrap up in a few days or months whereas a major remodel or new home construction could take a year or more. Ask your builder to provide you with a detailed timeline and, if you’re remodeling, be sure to ask if you’ll have access to your home during construction.
7. What complications might we run into and how will you handle them?
Any project is bound to run into a complication or two. So, for your peace of mind, it’s important to know that your builder is well equipped to handle whatever issues may arise. First, get a good idea of what factors might complicate or prolong your home construction. Is it difficult for your builder to get the necessary materials because of supply chain issues? Or could there be a delay in obtaining the permits needed to begin work? These are things you’ll want to know so you can plan accordingly. Then ask your builder for a real-world example of how they’ve handled such complications in the past.
8. Who can I direct my questions to?
Since home building and remodeling can be a lengthy and somewhat invasive process, you should ask for the contact information of someone who can answer your questions about the project and give you updates as it progresses.
While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the professionals who will be working on your home. Ask who will be working on-site and get the contact information of the project’s supervisor just in case.
9. How do you communicate with your clients before, during, and after construction?
Lastly, you want to make sure you and your builder will communicate in a way that works for you. Ask your builder to detail their preferred communication methods, the frequency at which they’ll communicate, and give you a clear picture of how they’ll keep you up to date during construction.
10. What sets you apart from other builders?
You deserve someone who will go above and beyond to make your dream a reality. Asking what sets a builder apart from its competitors is a great way to see what your prospective builder values and whether their values align with yours. For example, we’re set apart from our competitors by our values of honesty, transparency, and excellent service, as well as our commitment to treating each home we’ve built like it’s the most important one we’ll ever build.
There you have it – 10 questions to ask when building or remodeling your home. We wish you the best of luck in finding a builder, and, if you're located in Connecticut, get in touch with our team! You can also browse our floor plans and learn more about our remodeling process.
When you're ready to embark on a building or remodeling project, Sunwood is ready to help.