Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Builder
So you want to build a home? Congratulations! That’s a huge first step and you have got to be super excited about it. If you’re not, you should be! It’s not everyday you get to build your dream home, after all.
At the BC Team, we’re veteran home builders. That’s why we want to help you get started with this process, by letting you know exactly what you should ask before you hire a builder.
Before you even get to this stage, though, make sure you have a budget and a proposed timeline in mind for your custom home build. You’ll want to find a home builder who can stick to that budget, and one who has the availability you’re looking for. Once you know that, you can start looking for someone to build your new home!
We’re going to skip over those two obvious questions: can you work in my budget and can you adhere to my timeline. These should be what you lead with in an interview and with your research to get the “nos” out of the way first.
Here’s three big questions you may not have thought about asking your potential future home builder.
Question 1: Are You Licensed in the State I’m Building in?
It may seem like an obvious “yes,” but it never hurts to be sure. While you can generally assume that a licensed builder who is located in your home state should be able to build in your state, you might be surprised. Almost every county, and in some cases cities, have building restrictions, licenses, and permits.
Make sure you find a builder who is well versed in building a home in your chosen location. They’ll know how to navigate all of the politics involved in getting the needed permits.
If you find a builder you like, always ask about the license in general too, just to make sure it’s in date!
We’re licensed builders in both Arizona and Michigan. To give you an idea of what’s required, we’d like to briefly go over both of these states with you.
Arizona Building Permits
In Arizona, there is no statewide code. Each municipality and county has its own permitting process. If you want to know what permits are needed, you can go to the local building department’s website to learn about its process.
The City of Phoenix’s page for residential building and permits is a good example!
Michigan Building Licenses
In Michigan, any project over $600 requires a residential builder's license, or a maintenance and alteration contractor's license. They must be obtained through the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department.
Question 2: How Often Will I Get Updates?
We know how exciting and frustrating building a home can be. You’ll want updates on the progress, the construction, and a rough timeline of when you can move in. When it comes to building a house, communication between you and the builder is definitely key.
If you want frequent updates throughout the construction process, tell your potential home builder from the get-go.
If you’re someone who doesn’t want frequent updates, you should tell the builder too.
It’s better to be open, direct, and honest with them before you hire them so you know if they will be a good fit for you.
Question 3: Do You Have References?
It’s always better to figure out if a builder is right for you by asking people they’ve worked. We’re not just talking about going through online reviews either. You’re going to want to get a list (as long or short as you want, but get more than one) of references and past projects this company has done.
Then, reach out to the references or, if you know the building/area, drive by to see the finished product.
The key thing here is to not be shy about asking a potential builder for references! If the builder does quality work, they will happily comply. If they’re hesitant about sharing a list, then you may want to reconsider hiring them. Transparency is essential if you want to trust them with building your future dream home!
If they aren’t comfortable with giving out names of residential families, you can also ask to tour a model home or a home that’s under construction to see the process first hand. Just keep in mind that it won’t be the same experience as talking to someone who has worked with them in the past!
What Should You Ask References?
Tell the reference that you’re thinking about choosing that company to build your home and ask them about the work. You can also ask them what you should expect from the construction process, if any issues arose and how they were handled, and if they would hire this person again.
There you have it! If you need any more advice, or want to build a home in Arizona or Michigan, give us a call! We’ll be happy to sit down with you and talk.