Beyond the Basics: 25 Questions to Ask Your Future Builder
Here we go: You’ve made the decision to build a house, and you’re ready to find a builder to make your dreams come true! The only problem is, the only questions you can think to ask are, “How much will this cost?” and “How soon can we move in??” But there are a lot more factors to consider beyond these two. You don’t have to be an expert to know what to ask. Here’s our list of 25 essential questions to ask a prospective builder before signing a contract.
Get to Know Their History
Of course, you would never blindly hire someone for such an important task, right? Here are a few questions to ask about the builder’s history and credentials to help you in the hiring process.
How many years have you been building homes?
How many houses have you (and your team) built?
Can you provide me with some references of past clients?
Are you licensed and insured? (This is a big one! Don’t skip checking on this!)
Who is the primary person I’ll be working with? Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
Understanding the Costs
One of the most important questions you’ll ask is how much this house will cost. But this goes beyond the estimated cost for the build – you have to think about additional fees, taxes, landscaping costs, and more. Here’s what you can ask to help budget for this build:
How much will this build cost?
Do you have a financing plan?
Is there a homeowner’s association? If so, what are the fees?
Does the price factor in landscaping?
What are the estimated property taxes for a house in this location?
Do you offer any specific energy-saving features? Does your plan allow for modifications to make this build more energy efficient?
Are there any additional fees we can expect from this project?
When will I know the final cost of the house?
Making Your House Your Own
You’ve probably been dreaming of the perfect home for a while now. You’ll want to make sure you ask the builder about customization options. Some builders allow for significant modifications, while others might only allow for minor changes, like swapping out flooring, cabinets, or bathroom fixtures. Here’s what you can ask to figure out if your builder can work with what you want:
Can you build off my own set of plans? Or do you only use existing floor plans?
How much customizing do you allow?
What are the standard features in your house builds?
How and when can I make changes to the floor plan (in the beginning and throughout the build)?
Can I change the appliances?
Location, Location, Location
You’ve probably already scoped the area, but your builder might know more about it than you. Here are some questions you can ask about the neighborhood:
What amenities are nearby? (Grocery stores, child care centers, gyms, etc.)
Where are the nearest emergency facilities? (Fire stations, police departments, hospitals, emergency veterinary hospitals, etc.)
How are the local school systems rated?
What’s the Timeline?
Now we’re digging into one of the most critical questions: how long will this take? Here are a few other questions you can ask to understand the builder’s timeline, especially with unexpected changes or issues:
How soon can we move in?
What’s the timeline? What could change this timeline?
What is your process for making inspections during the build and afterward?
How soon will I be notified of any unexpected delays?
There you have it! Our list here is not exhaustive, so feel free to ask your builder questions about anything and everything. You’re going to be working with this builder and team for a long time on a very important project, so it’s important you feel good about your decision. By making sure you’re both on the same page, you’re guaranteed to have a better home-building experience!