Building a new home is a big deal, and when you make such a major investment, you want to feel confident that the people performing the work are doing it right. As with any other types of products or services, builder quality can vary significantly, especially if you are building a high-performance home.
How do you know if you’re choosing the right builder for your new home? Ask these important questions.
1. What experience do you have with building high-performance homes?
This is perhaps the most important question if you are planning to build a net zero home. A skilled craftsperson might be able to create something beautiful, but it doesn’t mean they have experience with the building science techniques required in a high-performance home. Details like air sealing, super insulation, shading, and so on matter a lot in high-performance homes, and if your builder isn’t on board, it doesn’t matter how good the architectural drawings are.
2. Can you tell me about how you communicate with clients?
Based on our years of experience, we can guarantee that no two builders will answer this question in the same way. Some builders like to pick up the phone, other send texts or emails, and some use online platforms to organize and manage projects. Are you a person who likes weekly updates? Would you rather be informed only when issues arise? Communication is key when building a new home, so it’s important to find a builder whose style meshes well with your own.
3. How do you calculate your estimates?
You’d think there would be a universal way that builders do estimates for job, but unfortunately, you would be wrong. Site work, basic landscaping, certain subcontractors, and other charges may or may not be included in a builder’s estimate. This can make it very challenging to compare multiple builders, so make sure you understand what is and what is not included when evaluating your options.
4. What happens if something changes?
No matter how good a builder is, there are almost always surprises in the homebuilding process. A major weather event might set the timeline back a few weeks. A supplier might have a certain material on back-order. There could be a global pandemic that impacts the number of people allowed onsite at the same time (that one used to be harder to imagine…). The question is not whether there will be unexpected changes, but how they will be addressed when they inevitably come up. Ask prospective builders how they handle change orders so you know what to expect.
5. Can you provide references?
Talking to former customers is one of the best ways to learn more about how a builder works and whether they are the right fit for your project. Remember that two builders who produce the same quality work might have very different approaches. Don’t forget the human element as well. When somebody is building your dream home, you want them to be on the same page about your vision.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. You also want to cover basics like licensure and insurance, but if you really want to be sure you’re getting the right builder on board, it’s important to go a little deeper. Selecting a builder might feel overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you have ever done it. The good news is, when you work with BrightBuilt Home, we’ll help you find the right builder for your project. If you’re planning to build in an area where we have worked before, chances we already have great relationships with builders nearby. If you’re building in an area that’s new to us, we’ll help you find a local builder with relevant experience. Already have a builder in mind? We’re happy to work with them too!