19 Essential Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

Building a custom home poses an exciting venture, but it can quickly turn into a disaster. One of the most critical factors is your home builder. They’re responsible for many aspects of the build, including explaining your plot plan, planning and executing the build, securing materials and labor, and ensuring that you build your dream home. 

Since the home builder has such a significant impact on the project, it’s worthwhile to take the time and do your research. Don’t hesitate to contact several builders and have in-depth meetings about your construction plans. 

Most people who build a home are so excited about the prospect that they’ll forget to ask about the details. To avoid this from happening to you, write down a list of essential questions to ask during your meeting.

1. How many years have you worked in the area?

Each region has its building codes, inspections, and permits, so your home builder must have a deep familiarity with the area. Every long-term home builder will develop contacts to help smooth out the initial process and understand the climate and terrain.

2. Do you have a reputable and skilled crew?

A home builder proves only as good as their crew, who do the bulk of the actual construction work. It’s vital that the builder has thoroughly vetted the team to ensure that they’re reliable, drug-free, and have the right skill set for the job. 

3. Please provide references from recent clients

Get at least three references of recent clients, and follow up on these. If possible, ask to visit the site to see how the home builder’s work holds up after a couple of years while also getting a feel of how the builder works overall. 

4. Are you fully licensed and insured?

Use this question to weed out the builders that you definitely shouldn’t hire. Ask to see the relevant certifications and proof of insurance and make sure that the home builder has comprehensive insurance covering their workers and protects you from any loss.

5. How do you handle any issues that arise during and after the build?

Most builders will offer a one-year warranty on their work, and some will even provide a ten-year structural warranty. This information is beneficial in edge cases, such as for products that are a couple of days or weeks out of contract. 

6. Do you offer a guarantee on the quality of the materials used and construction?

Most non-builders can’t tell the difference between high-quality and low-quality construction materials. To make sure you get what you’re paying for, speak to the home builder about getting a quality assurance checklist. Also, ask if they’re willing to have a neutral third party evaluate the quality of the work and what the recourse is if you’re not 100% satisfied. 

7. Can my lawyer review the construction contract?

Reputable builders should have no issue with you sending the contract to your lawyer before you sign. The lawyer will determine whether the agreement adequately addresses every aspect of the build and may make suggestions to protect your interests. 

8. How well do you communicate with your clients?

A typical home builder has multiple projects running at once, but that’s not an excuse to avoid you. Good communication is vital for a smooth project. 

9. Can you provide me with a detailed quote containing all the relevant specifications?

Make sure that you get a quote in writing and provide a detailed breakdown of every aspect of the build. 

10. What’s the timeframe for the build?

Be wary of builders that promise to build a home within two or three months. Speak to other construction experts to find out if the timeframe for the project is realistic and honest. 

11. What do you do to ensure that the build stays on a budget?

Find out what the home builder does to save money on a project. Do they shop around for multiple quotes on materials or subcontractors? Working with a builder that goes the extra mile to save you money is invaluable and will ensure your project stays on track. 

12. What do you do so that the build stays on the deadline?

The best builders give themselves enough leeway on deadlines to ensure the project gets delivered on time. Good scheduling skill is the mark of an excellent home builder. 

13. Do you have experience with energy-efficient installations?

The initial cost of building a home is only the start – you also have to consider ongoing costs. Find out what your builder plans to do to make your home energy-efficient

14. What counts as standard finishes?

Builders may try to trim the costs on their quote using the lowest-quality fittings as the standard and expect you to pay extra for the finishes you want. Go through every fitting and fixture to find out what’s standard and what’s an upgrade. 

15. Does the contract include landscaping?

Most homes designed by builders won’t include comprehensive landscaping. Some will do minimal work, while others consider it to be your responsibility. 

16. Can I buy my appliances and materials?

Not all builders offer the same materials. If you want something new and trendy, you may have to buy it yourself. However, some builders won’t install anything that they haven’t purchased themselves, so be sure to confirm beforehand.

17. Is there a cost escalation clause in the contract?

A cost escalation clause lets the builder charge you for unanticipated costs during the build, including delays or increased material prices. To avoid unwanted surprises, try to find a home builder with a cost escalation clause in their contract. Read our separate article on the general costs of building a home.

18. Do I need to know about any homeowners’ rules and regulations?

Even if you’re not building on an estate, you may be subject to local regulations regarding your home’s trim and other outside features. It’s better to find out what these restrictions are sooner rather than later. 

19. What sets you apart from other builders in the area?

This question is great for getting a sense of the builder’s passion, commitment, and ethics. Use this question to find out if this particular home builder is the right fit for you.

Choose Schar Construction as your Home Builder

If you’re about to build a home or have a floor plan and want a quote, get in touch with Schar Construction at (541) 204-8406. Also feel free to check out our separate blog on whether or not now is the right time to build.We’re a home builder with a passion for our work, so give us a call to find out what we can do for you!

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