New Home Planning Step 5: Finding the Right Contractor
If you are not one of the lucky few who knows a stellar construction company to build your dream home there there are a number of ways to get started looking for some good options.
If you hire an architect or designer for your project it is a good idea to ask for some referrals. They have more than likely worked with quite a few different people and can start you on the right path. Youcan also ask friends, family and coworkers for a list of people that they have used in the past and who they would recommend.
Once you have come up with a list the next step is to meet with them to discuss your project. Set up a time and place and make sure you have your plans and your questions written down to ask.
Asking the right questions is important as it can help you make an apples to apples comparison if you are considering more than one builder. These questions should include things such as:
- How long have you been in business?
- What other projects have you completed that we could go and view?
- Do you mind giving us the names of these people so that we could talk with them?
- Do you have all the needed licenses and insurance?
- Will you be able to give us a written quote for this project? Watch out for “I could give you an estimate”, as it’s not the same thing.
- Will you be able to give us a written contract with materials to be used, a time schedule of the project as well as the payment schedule?
Prior to and during the contractor selection process you should also check with your bank, assuming that you are obtaining a construction loan as to what they will require of your contractor.
When considering a contractor for your project it is generally a good idea to get at least 3 written quotes outlining the intended details of your home. As mentioned above information collected during your interview with the builder and through the written quote will help you understand what the contractors are proposing, ensure they have included home elements that are most important to you. There is nothing worse than going witht he lowest bid only to find out all the important have been stripped to present the lowest cost, as this results in higher out of pocket expenses and/or overall disatisfaction with the project.
The second part of your meeting is more about personalities. You have one and so does the contractor that you sit down with to discuss your project. You should feel totally at ease with this person. I’m not saying you need to be best friends but you need to like his style and be comfortable with him.
Let’s say he’s highly recommended, you’ve seen and love his work but after talking with him, you’re not sure you could work with him. Use your best judgment, as you will be working with closely with this person for months, having many conversations and discussing many aspects of your new home. The two of you need to work together to make your project a success.
A builder who is easy to communicate with and responsive especially when things aren't going quite right on site) is important. You also want him/her to be receptive to and willing to implement your ideas and your desires into your home - not someone who is push his own agenda or products that you may not even want.
Building a new home is a tremendous opportunity to have the home you’ve dreamed of. Once your contractor, financing, plans and permits are set you are ready to start. Hopefully you will be ready for a wonderful experience. Here’s to your new home!
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Todd Vendituoli, owner of Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. in Vermont . He also writes for:
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