Building a new home is an exciting adventure and for many people a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A new home is likely one of your biggest investments, so it makes sense to make sure you’re covering all the bases. From a builder’s perspective, we get a lot of questions from our customers and we encourage our customers to start asking right from our very first meeting.
Here are our top ten common questions we hear—and ones you should know the answers to when selecting a builder.
- What is your experience? Find out how long your builder has been constructing homes. Like us, many builders start at a fairly young age, learning the trade from experienced construction companies. Ask for the builder’s resume, which should include number of years building independently, overall approach to building and the types of construction (i.e. log home, stick frame, timber frame, SIP, modular, etc.) they perform. Each of these types of buildings require different skills, though clearly there is overlap!
- Can you provide references? Experienced builders are proud of their work. Ask for references in recent projects, as well as homes several years old to learn about the builder’s home construction abilities, management style, communications, ability to solve unexpected problems and meeting budget. Once you get these references, make sure you contact them! You’ll get a sense pretty quickly whether the builder is a good fit for you and your project.
- What can you tell me about the manufacturers you work with? Building a home in Asheville NC often means working with different manufacturers, depending on the type of home you’re planning. For log homes, our relationship with Katahdin Cedar Log Homes is built on many years of experience, trust and most importantly…quality! The benefits of working with cedar in home construction cannot be overstated. If casual rustic isn’t your style, we also represent Katahdin’s sister company, Arborwall Solid Cedar Homes, which transforms log home design into a more contemporary style. For our timber frame and SIP companies, we demand a high level of quality assurance to ensure your home is constructed with the most advanced manufacturing techniques available. Even a traditionally framed home uses specific brands for windows and doors, insulation, shingles and other components in a new home, so ask about the brands and why they are selected.
- Will you coordinate the permitting and inspections required by the town and/or the lender? Permitting and inspections are extremely important to accomplish a successful and timely building project. We’ve gained solid experience working with a broad range of municipalities and have been able to develop strong working relationships with local code enforcement officers and planning boards. Make sure your builder knows the questions to ask and the timing required to keep your project on schedule!
- How will we communicate during the construction process? A good rapport is very important to have with your builder. Over the timeframe of your home construction project, you’ll be working closely with the builder sitting across the table from you. Does your builder listen to your questions and provide timely answers? Does he have a communication plan in place that meets your needs? Many builders utilize email, face-to-face streaming via smart phones, texting and other communication techniques to get answers and decisions to keep your project moving on time. If your builder is late for meetings, misses deadlines or doesn’t answer your questions satisfactorily, it may be time to seek another professional before you sign a contract.
- How will you coordinate with my financial institution? Many homebuyers will finance their new home, which means your lender and your builder will need to constantly communicate over the course of the project. We often need to provide initial plans and estimates to the lender, as well as coordinate timely release of funds at key milestones of construction. Ensuring that your builder understands your lender’s requirements will make funding your home seamless.
- Can you make my home energy efficient? Yes! With rising energy costs and stricter building codes, some South Carolina builders have fallen behind the curve on ensuring your home is built to meet today’s and tomorrow’s energy efficiency demands. Our extensive green building experience has allowed us to understand the risks and rewards for many efficiency options. As a result, we always seek to recommend efficiency choices that are effective and sensible.
- What’s included in your contract? What is not included? Your builder should have a detailed contract for your project and be prepared to review the entire contract, so everyone understands what is required by both parties. Both customers and builders are committing resources and time to this specific project, so it’s important that the contract details are clear to all. Some of the items detailed in the contract include: scope of work, allowances, start dates, payment schedule, and warranties.
- How do you handle changes? Even the best laid building plans encounter unexpected challenges. When these changes occur, we draw up a written change order to keep track of additional costs or changes to the original building plans. These change orders will include the date, a description of the change, the estimated cost for the change and the authorized signatures of both the builder and customer.
- What is the schedule for construction? Building a home in Hendersonville NC requires that weather, deliveries, permitting and subcontractors all perform on schedule. Builders certainly make every effort to keep to a building schedule, but often bad weather, delayed components and other circumstances delay even the best laid plans. Once the home is enclosed, inside work is less dependent on the weather. Of course, size, type, and complexity of the home are a huge factor as well.