Three Questions to Ask When Looking for the Right Builder

Though builders might generally use similar tools and materials when building homes, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right professional builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant home-building experience.

Choosing the right builder starts with the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina (BIA) An important indicator of professionalism is whether or not the builder or contractor belongs to the BIA. Becoming a dues paying member of a building industry association typically means that a builder is an established member of the community. Builder associations encourage their members to research and develop new materials, building techniques and equipment, and improve methods of home financing so that home buyers receive the greatest possible value for their money.

Builder Associations and their members care about their industry and building a quality product that will serve the homeowner and community for years to come. The quality of a new home will in large measure be determined by the skill of the building professional that constructs it. You should evaluate your builder as carefully as you would select the options and features of your new home. When you buy a new home, you are purchasing more than just a structure-you are buying a package of services, and the quality of those services will have an important effect on your enjoyment of the house.

The builder will be asking you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to discuss the home you envision. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it’s going to be a positive partnership. Consider asking the builder about the following:

Work Experience – You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building homes similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they’ve done before to ensure their company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have or are working toward any professional designations, which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a Certified Green Professional (CGP) and a Certified Master Builder (CMB). A Certified Master Builder is a professional designation program created by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina to identify exemplary home builders who have a proven track record of integrity, stability and exceptional service. For more information visit www.masterbuilderssc.org

References – Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they can’t, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask about how well the builder followed through on the initial plans, and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Don’t forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?

Communication Style – Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it’s always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.

When you make the decision to buy or build a new home, or renovate your present home - choose a professional, a member of the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina. Browse our on-line Member Directory here.