So you’re ready to build your dream home and it’s time to decide on a builder. Where to start? There are a lot of things to take into consideration, including a budget, experience, and what you’re looking for in a new home. The professionals at Segal & Morel offer some tips on how to compare builders and choose the one that’s right for you.

Experience And Qualifications

Once you have an idea of the type of home you want, make a list of local builders, and get to work. Whether you’re starting from scratch with a custom-built home or you’re interested in a community with pre-designed floor plans, you want to make sure the builder you choose has the experience and qualifications to do the job right. Just because someone has been in business for decades, it doesn’t mean they produce quality homes, so it’s important to do your research.

Ask around and see if anyone you know has a builder they’ve used and would recommend. Another good thing to do is to ask builders on your list for references from previous clients. If you know any real estate agents, give them a ring. How do their homes hold up over time? You can also visit homes in communities each builder has worked on and check out their handiwork and talk to residents if possible.

When you speak to people who have worked with them, ask about the building process, any issues that arose and how the builder solved those issues, and whether or not they’d work with that builder again.

Are any of the builders you’re thinking of using part of local professional organizations? Have they won any awards? While budget is often at the forefront of most homebuyers’ minds, quality counts when it comes to building a home that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime.

Quality And Character

When examining a home, check out the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, painting, and trim work. Ask the builder lots of specific questions and get as many specifics as possible. Seeing a builder’s quality of craftsmanship in person can’t compare to looking at photos in a book or on the internet. While talent and experience are invaluable, character matters too. Make sure that the builder you choose is ethical and puts the interests of the homeowner above their own. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your builder, but you don’t necessarily want someone who agrees with you all the time. Look for a builder who is assertive enough to tell you when something you want isn’t in your best interest, but who will work with you to find other solutions you’re happy with.

What Do They Offer?

When you compare home builders, look at the home designs they offer, or if you have your own design, make sure they do custom builds. From floor plans to facades, you want to make sure the builder you choose has what you’re looking for. Create a shortlist of designs, features, and options you like from each builder you’re considering, then think about how much customization you want. Ask builders how flexible they are on customizations, and whether they’ll work with you on certain things. Be upfront about your budget and expectations.

Compare Bid Proposals

A solid builder proposal should include all aspects of the project. The more detailed the proposal and resulting contract, the less hassle and unexpected costs you may encounter down the road. The proposal should include:

Scope of work, which should include details about all of the services the builder will provide, including obtaining permits, cleanup, etc.

Existing conditions, including the necessary actions taken to remediate each condition and which party is responsible for each task.

Work schedule and timeline, including specifics about how potential delays such as permit approvals or bad weather will be handled.

Cost of materials and labor, including details about potential costs that would incur, should the project go over scope.

Payment terms, which usually include a list of milestones for the project and what percentage of the total cost should be paid at each point.

Making A Decision

If you’ve considered all these factors and are still having trouble making a decision, go with your gut. The quality of your relationship with your builder is just as important as the quality of your new home. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to your instincts. Choosing the builder you click with and believe will properly lead and guide you through the project can help you attain the home of your dreams.

Contact Us To Learn More

Since 1960, Segal & Morel has been building exceptional new homes and planned communities that feature innovative floor plans and quality construction. Our Energy Star-compliant homes help maximize your savings while minimizing your home’s impact on the environment. For more information about our homes and communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, contact us online or call our office at 610-923-8422.