Step 4: Who Will Build Your House

Of course, we prefer to have been working with you from the early planning stage, but many of our customers have a lot and a plan and begin their search for a builder at this point. So, if you have not yet chosen us as you builder, this section will help you narrow down your decision.

The home building industry has earned a bad name in the past number of years. The reasons for this are many, from builders who only view their job as building the house to those contractors who possess less integrity. Take heart though…there are those of us who take a long-term approach to building our businesses. Unfortunately, it is up to you to find out who we are. Your best approach is to ask someone you know who has had a home built. Get their builders name and give them a call. Ask that contractor to give you a price (bid price) based on your plans and lot. It is generally a good idea to get two or more prices to ensure you are not paying too much.

Things to consider when looking for a home builder

•Find a Professional - Take notice from the beginning of how professional, prompt and courteous each builder is with you. Ask yourself if you want to work closely with this person or company for the next several months. If the feeling is not a good one in the beginning, it probably will not improve once a contract has been signed. If you determine that a builder is not for you, use their bid price for comparison sake. Remember, always ask for references. Call some of the builder’s previous clients and ask them about their experience while building and the builder’s follow up after the construction process was completed. Having a builder that has and honors a warranty is very important. If one builder's bid price is well below the others then this should throw up a caution flag for you. Either the builder has made a mistake or needs work so badly that he is bidding low to keep cash flowing in. Either of these situations will likely cause you big problems once construction is started. In short, don’t expect five star quality and service at one star prices.

•Compare Apples to Apples - Each builder should give you a detailed list of specifications and a list of cost options. This means that as you go from builder to builder looking for bid prices make sure that each builder is pricing the house the same way. For instance, if one builder is pricing in crown molding, tile floors, dimensional shingles and a $1,800 lighting allowance, make sure they are all doing this. If not, you are wasting your time because the bid prices you get will not be comparable. There will be plenty of time to fine tune what you want in your new home once you have chosen your builder.

•Best Quality for the Best Price - The cost to construct a new home is tied to many things. Obviously square footage is one of them. The cost of building a new home is the direct result of the cost & amount of materials required and the number of man-hours involved in its construction. If the builders you receive bids from have estimated everything correctly, differences in their bid prices will generally be the result of how much they hope to make in overhead and profit. So, make sure that the builders giving you bids are comparing apples to apples and then chose the builder who you feel most comfortable with and that offers you the best value (best quality for the best price).

•Don't Worry About What the Builder's Profit - Please don’t ask builders how much money plan to make on your home. We say this, not because you don’t have the right to know, but because the information will get in your way of choosing the right builder. For instance, if you ask a builder how much he will make, how are you going to know if he is being honest with you or if his definition of profit is the same as yours or another builders. As in all business, a builder is in competition with others for your business. As a competitor, a builder may use misdirection, vagueness and/or outright lying to his advantage. Instead, base your builder choice on those apples for apples bid prices.

•It is Okay to get Bids - Be up front with each builder you deal with by telling them you are simply looking for a bid price. Don’t feel apologetic for wanting to get the best value for your hard earned dollars. Don’t feel like you need to commit to them or that you are wasting their time if you do not know if you want to use them. Remember that builders are in competition for your business and should treat you like they want your business.

•Bid Shopping - Please don’t ask a builder to reduce his bid based on another builder’s lower bid. This is called "Bid Shopping" and no professional and responsible builder will lower his price this way. Instead, let him work with you to lower the cost of building. Ask your builder what can be done to get costs down. He may have good ideas on how to reduce cost and still build you a home you and he will be proud of.

•It Takes Time to Prepare an Accurate Bid - Most builders will need several copies of your plans in order to give you a bid price in a timely manner. He will need a set of plans for his own calculations as well as sets for his subcontractor to calculate their prices from. Expect a builder to take around three weeks to get his bid price together. It takes this long because there is quite a lot of effort required to put together a quality bid. We often spend over 100 hours preparing a bid. If you are in a hurry to get your bids, make enough copies to have multiple builders bid your plans. Copies of a set of plans will generally cost you $15 to $20 per set. Your home designer can help you get the copies made.

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