What Should I Consider When Choosing a Homebuilder?

Lombardo Living

You’re thinking of building your new home from the ground up. Once you’ve made that decision, there’s something else to consider: who should you build with? There are a lot of factors to consider when jumping into the process of homebuilding, and it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything you should do to prepare. The homebuilder you choose will be with you through the whole process, and you want to make sure you’re choosing the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you choose a builder.

Make a list. Start off by creating a list of homebuilders. Ask realtors, friends, and family members for their recommendations, and search for builders that work in the area(s) you’re considering for your new home. You don’t want to fall in love with a builder only to discover they don’t build in your desired school district!

Budget. Decide what type of home you want and need and how much you want to spend. Many builders require a mortgage preapproval by a mortgage lender before you begin the process. This will confirm your budget and financial credibility to the builders and realtors you work with. Identify your needs and wants and prepare to see how they affect your budget, both before you start the process and once you’re deciding between builders. Some areas also have different structural requirements that the builder must abide by; make sure you’re aware of them when selecting a location and floor plan.

Prepare a list of questions. It’s important to ensure there are no surprises from the builder once you’ve made your decision. While this list is not comprehensive, these are some things to consider asking when comparing builders:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you specialize in any types of homes? Do you build the type of home I’m looking for?
  • What is your warranty or service policy?
  • What’s your average turnaround time? How long will it take to build my home?
  • What is included in the price of the home? Do your floor plans come with options?
  • When can I make selection choices in the build process?
  • Can I upgrade or downgrade anything?
  • Do you only build your own plans, or can I provide my own?
  • What are the energy-saving features of your floor plans?
  • Who will be overseeing the construction of my home? Who can I reach out to with questions as they arise, and how can I contact them?
  • What is your process for inspection?
  • What are the taxes? Are there additional fees I should be aware of? How and when are final costs determined?
  • Are you willing to provide testimonials or references for review?
  • [When building in a subdivision] How long is the development plan for this community?

While the internet can provide many of the answers to these questions, it’s important to confirm the information from the source. Builders will often provide the answers to these questions on their website, and others can be answered by checking their company social media accounts or asking their customer service and sales teams. If a builder offers plans in multiple locations, there might be different answers to some of these questions, so be sure to double check before comparing homebuilders.

Communication. You want a homebuilder who is dedicated to you. Are they really listening to you, and providing complete, easy-to-understand answers to your questions? Did they give you honest feedback based on the information you provide them? Are they being transparent about costs, customization options, past issues, and reviews? Likewise, are you giving them all the necessary information they need or will require to know if you’re an eligible buyer?

Quality. When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork and paint. Pay attention to the final product and its features when viewing models or projects. You want your homebuilder to find a way to get you as close to what you want while remaining in the budget you’ve given them.

Reviews and Testimonials. Delve into the real-life reviews of people who’ve worked with the builder before. Ask if they’d recommend the builder to a friend or family (and ask for names or references of who they might have worked with), and check the builder’s reviews online. However, take everything you read online with a grain of salt, especially when comparing it to other information you’ve read or answers you’ve received. If a builder has some negative reviews, but you see a lot of proof of happy homeowners online, within the community, and in sales offices, it might just be that more customers who might have had a bad experience are taking their time to write out their frustrations. (Remember the general rule of thumb—we tend to tell 12 – 16 people about a bad experience, but less than three about a good one.)

We know there is a lot to think about when you’re starting to consider building a home, but when you actually sit down in that dream home of yours, you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort to make sure everything was perfect. You’ll also have a rapport with your homebuilder that will make turning to them for something in the future will go much more smoothly. At Lombardo Homes, we specialize in building new construction homes to fit any lifestyle. We believe your new home should be more than just a place to live, but a place to grow and create memories that will last a lifetime. That’s why we work closely with our customers to understand their needs and design a home that reflects who they are and what they love.  We’d love to be the builder for you! If you’re interested in building with Lombardo, you can contact us for more information on new home builds in Michigan and Missouri.

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