Buying a new home is undoubtedly an exciting experience, but when you’re designing a home from the ground up you have complete control over every detail of the layout, design, and more! While the possibilities are endless when you get to choose all of the details, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the more exciting decisions, such as which flooring option you like best and which paint colour you prefer. However, finding the right builder to work with is arguably more important than choosing the minute details and is well worth the time and effort it takes to find one. While you could take the chance and go with the first builder you find, making the decision to build a new home is a huge commitment and you want to be sure that you are choosing the best builder to give you the house of your dreams.
In order to help, we’ve put together some important questions to ask when buying a new construction home to help you avoid costly problems and make a smarter purchase.
“How long have you been building for?”
It’s important to choose a qualified home builder who has been building in the area for no less than 5 years. Asking this question will give you a better idea of how much knowledge and experience they have with building in this specific area, and an experienced builder will know the details of things like sewage and water locations, natural gas availability, and average property values in the area. The more knowledge and experience that they have, the more smoothly the build will go!
“Are you licensed and insured?”
This may be one of the most important questions to ask, as working with someone who is not licensed or insured can put you at risk! It is crucial to receive proof of homebuilder’s insurance before going ahead with your build. In Ontario, this includes Builder’s Risk Insurance and a license with the HCRA (Home Construction Regulatory Authority). Working with a home builder who is not licensed or insured can result in the project being shut down and you losing your deposit, which is something you will want to avoid at all costs.
“What is your warranty and how do issues get resolved?”
With any large purchase, it’s important to know what type of warranty you will be receiving, and building a new home will be one of the largest purchases in your lifetime! Having a good warranty will help to give you peace of mind with anything that could possibly go wrong, as this can be extremely costly to you as a homeowner if your warranty has run out. It’s also a good idea to ask the builder how they will deal with any issues, should they come up. Typically, reputable builders will have a 1-year warranty, and some may even have a 10-year structural warranty as well.
“Do you provide assistance with finishing touches?”
Designing a new home from scratch involves a lot of detailed decisions. From deciding which light fixtures you want in the bathroom to choosing which paint colour you want for the kitchen, these choices can quickly become overwhelming. A home builder can often help with these decisions, and if they can’t, they can usually point you in the direction of someone who can. Before committing to building a new home, make sure that you won’t be on your own when it comes to choosing the specifics.
“How can you ensure that I will not exceed my budget?”
When working out the cost for the multiple projects that will be taking place to build your home, it’s important to know how the builder will be obtaining his quotes. Builders will always be working with several other contractors to ensure every detail of your home is covered, and this means that they will be receiving quotes from a lot of different sources. It’s a good idea to communicate these details with your builder so that you can both be sure that you are sticking to the budget that’s been laid out.
“Would I be able to show the home-building contract to my lawyer?”
You’ll want to be sure that the contract provided is thorough and offers clear guidelines for the building process. Going over the contract with a lawyer will enable you to go through it in detail and make sure everything from insurance to warranties and all the other specifics in between are present in writing.
“Do you have references for previous homes you’ve built that I can contact?”
This is a great way to get a feel for the style of home that the builder has built in the past, and will also give you the chance to ask previous clients what their experiences were like with this builder. A good builder will likely have a reference list available to you and will happily provide it upon request. Take time to go scout out these homes, and if possible, ask the homeowners if you can take a look inside. After all, nothing provides a better picture of what your builder is capable of than going to see his work firsthand!
“How can I contact you if I have any questions?”
Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints that homeowners have about their builders. In today’s world, there are many different ways of staying connected, so just remember to ask the builder what the best way of contacting them would be. You’ll want to make sure you are using the most effective means of communication in order to receive prompt responses. Another important thing is to make sure to ask your builder if they will be overseeing the project themself, or if they will have superintendents to take care of that aspect of the job, and to grab any additional contact information you may need along the way.
“How long will it take to build my home?”
While this may not be the most important thing to ask, it’s still important to know when your house will be ready to move into. Knowing this will help you make important decisions, such as when to list your current house for sale, and when to start packing your belongings to move into your dream house. An experienced builder should be able to provide you with a start and finish date for the construction of the house.
Deciding to move forward with a new home build can be stressful, but picking the right builder shouldn’t have to be. If you are armed and ready with the knowledge needed going into the project, and have compiled a list of things to ask, you can make sure you’re asking the right questions based on what is most important to you!