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Arguably one of the biggest endeavors of your life, building a home comes with a slew of responsibilities rarely matched when you buy a previously-owned or even newly-built home. From picking out flooring and backsplashes to deciding which direction the house should face, the project can feel overwhelming. Before anything else, however, you need to choose the right builder because once shovels hit dirt, you want the process to feel as seamless and low stress as possible. To help get you thinking along the right lines, here are some questions you should ask any prospective builder. After all, they will be your partner in this all-consuming adventure.

What are Your Professional Affiliations/Memberships?

Any company committed to its trade will get involved with similar businesses. These organizations give credence to a business and help establish it as a productive member of a larger whole. Reputable builders will often belong to Builder Meeting Society, the National Association of Home Builders, the Better Business Bureau, and even the local Chamber of Commerce.

What is Your Previous Experience?

Like job hunters carry a resume, so should home builders expect to outline a history of successful projects. Information about the number of homes the company has built and the training workers undergo should always be given freely. Many builders will also offer a list of addresses for you to research and drive by. This information gives you the opportunity to see the work firsthand and potentially speak to those who have worked with the builder through the homebuilding process. High-quality builders might even offer a list of references to further cement credibility.

What are the Basic Costs?

Like any investment, you want to know the financial obligation up-front. Of course, before you can get detailed estimates, you will need to offer details about cosmetic and structural upgrades above the basic blueprint. Nonetheless, you can sill find out pricing for basic architectural plans and many extras. Along these lines, you should inquire about financing and contracts. What will you pay and when?

How Can You Demonstrate Your Construction Quality?

If you want to land on one company over another, you’ll need to know what sets each apart. Some builders have pre-made portfolios and product samples for easy viewing. If you want certain materials used in your home, this is the time to make sure you can get the styles you seek. Along these same lines, you should ask about warranties. What products are covered under warranty and for how long? Having a basic warranty in place lets you know that after the move-in, minor or major issues like settling cracks or loose drywall screws will be handled timely and courteously.

Do You Customize?

If you’ve committed to building your dream home, why settle for a cookie-cutter spec? Some builders work only from familiar floor plans that allow them to complete projects more quickly. If your objective is to create a home you can settle into for decades, you might want some customization. With several online resources to help you find a floor plan that fits, being in the drivers’ seat has never felt so freeing.

Other Helpful Tips for Finding the Right Builder

In this article from the experts at Houzz, it highlights the importance of understanding the bidding process. Essentially, you want the builder to be specific enough with pricing for you to compare alternative costs from different builders. Along with quality and dependability, you want your builder to be competitive.

Diversely, though you want fair prices, choosing a builder based on the bid alone is unwise. Navigating this fine line typically means understanding exactly what pricing entails, from basic construction costs to all the add-ons. As this HGTV piece points out, the higher bid doesn’t guarantee a top-tier product just as the lower bid doesn’t free you from exorbitant fees later on.

In the end, you should feel comfortable with the information you receive from the builder, and any hesitancy to be completely transparent should be met with reservations.