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Building a house is a massive project, and you must be serious about it. It requires attention, skills, experience, and creativity. As such, you can’t just hire anybody off the streets to handle it. It doesn’t matter if it is an office complex, a residential house, shopping mall, or shopping plazas. Whatever type of structure you plan to build, look for the best builder you can find. Or else, your project may not turn out the way you envisage at the end.
We’ve often heard complaints from people who hired home builders and regretted it due to the bad outcome. Sometimes, you may hear that they couldn’t maintain the budget or that they left the site without completing the project. These situations can be very painful to the project owners. So, the right thing is to avoid such heartaches by hiring a good contractor to handle the work from the beginning.
Many professionals in the industry has all it takes to bring your dream home to life. Some of these builders can also handle home remodeling projects with ease and within budget. So, cheer up! The best is there for you, and we’ll guide you to them
In this article, we’re going to share some helpful tips that will guide your decision when selecting a builder. If you follow our guide, you’ll find the best person to handle your building constructions or renovation.
Before you start the journey to find the right builder, there’re certain things we expect you to do. If you go in blindly without preparations, you may not know what to look for while searching. So, start by doing the following:
• Prepare detailed information about your project
One of the first things you must do in this search is to prepare yourself before seeking out a builder. Many people rush to hire as soon as they gather funds to start the building project. If you don’t want to be disappointed at the end, take your time to make a list or create drawings. This document will contain what you want in the house and what you don’t want.
Professional builders will always require such information before quoting a price. It’s only the amateurs that may jump in and start a building project without asking to know what their client hopes to achieve.
Once you’ve created a list, you can enter the next phase
• Review the scope of your project
Before you search for a builder, consider what the project requires. After building a list of what’s to be done and what not, you will realize that it’s either more than you thought or not as wide as you planned. So at this point, what kind of builder are you going to hire? Will it be a large company with many managers and team members who can work fast and still offer quality work? Or, will you settle for builders who manage projects themselves and doesn’t work with a large number of people?
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, if you hire the company with a more organized approach and team members, they’ll complete the project faster. But you may spend more than you planned. Moreover, if you’re planning for a simple remodeling, hiring them may be an overkill.
On the other hand, an owner-manager kind of builder will be cheaper than a larger company but don’t expect the same level of expertise, service, quality, and speed. This type of builders is suitable for small projects that don’t require too many hands. However, you can still use the small company builders for large projects with long deadlines. So, before your search for a builder, consider who is suitable to handle the scope of your project.
• Decide on the type of builder you want
This may sound like the second point, but it’s not. In every profession, there are general practitioners and specialists in one area. It all depends on the type of work you plan to do. For instance, if you’re planning to build a basement or convert your attic, a general builder may do that without issues. However, you can still find a company which specializes in that kind of work.
In this situation, the things that will guide your decision are your budget, nature, and the quality you seek. We can’t argue that specialists on a particular project will give high-quality results. But, if you find a general contractor who can handle it, you may pay less for it. Also, if your project is complicated, it is best to hire a specialist and avoid a trial and error situation.
• Research for builders
This is one of the difficult aspects of choosing the right builder for your project. Sometimes many people will ask, “Where do I find builders?” Yes, they are everywhere, but how do you meet them or let the professionals know about your project? The truth is that you need to search before you can find the right builders.
You can ask your friends and family. Has any of them completed a building project? Do they know someone who just finished his house? If you’re lucky, they may refer someone to you. If they don’t know anyone, they can help you to search.
Another place to visit is the web. Search for builders in the locality where you’re erecting the building. Even if you don’t use the web, you can also use word of mouth around the area and get the best hands. Better still, you can even look for an association of builders in that particular locality and pick from there.
Go an extra mile to visit the builders you have on your list. Don’t be fooled by the hype; check things out for yourself. You can also call the people behind the references and verify the skills of the builders. That way, you can be sure of the builder’s workmanship quality and general conduct on a project.
Choosing The Right Builder
• Ask For Quotes
Bidding has always been the best strategy for obtaining reasonable prices. When the competition is high, builders drop exploitative practices. So, ask for quotes after you share the project details with the selected builders. Make sure that you’re clear about your project requirements. Even though we’re wary of dubious contractors, some project owners can unknowingly cause issues too.
Make sure that you show the builders every detail about your project. Don’t withhold any information so they can give you their best prices. Our reason for saying this is that if you come up with different ideas or additions in the future, they may charge more for it. So, be specific at this point to avoid disputes. We suggest that you receive quotes from at least five builders. This is the best way to get competitive prices and choose the level you can handle.
• Analyze the quotes
Once you receive the quotes, analyze them thoroughly. Don’t be surprised that some builders may quote very low while others quote very high. Even though you’ll be tempted to take the lowest quotes, tread carefully. In analyzing the lowest quotes, check if they’ve covered every part of your project requirement. Even some things as simple as the removal of site wastes and rubbish can be expensive. So, be sure that they covered even the tiniest requirement. If all is okay, ask the low-quote builders how they intend to achieve all at their price without compromising on quality.
• Determine the levels of experience
We know that some of the veterans were once beginners. Yes! They started with one project and grew from there. Well, choosing an inexperienced builder depends on the nature of your project. If you want to build a house with simple designs, working with a first-timer wouldn’t be a wrong move. From experience, anybody handling their first project always give one-hundred percent effort to do it well. So, if you can still work with them, go ahead and do so. However, if your project needs stronger and more experienced hands, don’t select a builder without some years of experience. Remember, rework is usually costlier than a new project. So, be careful here and pick the experience level that will give you the outcome you desire.
• Ask Questions
This is another good step in the right direction. Ask the builders questions to clear every doubt or to acquire important information. For instance, you can ask them about their credentials. You can also find out if they’re registered with any regulating body or belongs to any association. We know that some states require builders or contractors to acquire an operational license or contractor bonds before working. If you’re residing in any of those states, don’t hesitate to ask the builders about it.
The importance of these registrations and licenses is that they help to keep contractors in check. If you’re lucky to find a builder who is certified, licensed, or bonded, you can be sure of high-quality output. So, ask them and make your decisions based on their answers.
• Agree on the finish and rough work
This part of the project involves the smaller tasks that follow the completion of a building project. You have to find out whether the builder will provide the electrical and plumbing services, take out the waste, etc. Also, after building a house, you’ll face the last segment, which involves connecting the light fixtures, appliances, cabinets, tiling, etc.
If your builder has the skills to handle all these things, it will be cheaper for you. But if he doesn’t, you may need to hire a different handyman to complete these part. So, you can find out if such services were part of the quote he presented or not. With this, you’ll decide on who to choose. Another way to handle this aspect faster is by, specifying it in the project brief so that builders can add it to their quotes.
• Sign the building contract
After the processes above, you must have decided on the builder to hire for your project. But don’t leave it at that or you may still regret the decision. So, sign and file the building contract to enable the contract law to protect your project.
A building contract is a legal document or agreement which binds a property owner and the contractor. It states the conditions and policies that will guide the project execution and also outline the obligations of the two parties. This document will clearly outline the project scope, risks, legal rights, and duties of the owner and the contractor.
There are up to ten types of a construction contract, but you must choose the one that suits your project. For instance, there is a commercial contract, lump sum contract, domestic/residential building contract, etc. Check each one of them out and pick the type that covers what you have in mind for the project.
You’ll be happy to know that these contracts outline the “what ifs” that may arise in the future as the project runs. Also, after signing and filing the contract, you won’t need to worry or revisit it since your builder knows the penalty he will pay for failing to honor the terms
Other Important Areas To Consider In Your Search.
Sometimes, you may face the challenge of knowing who to go along with when everyone seems to be great. Yes! You may go through the processes we’ve shared above but arrive at a crossroads. At that point, we advise you to check for the following things and select the best builder.
It is very frustrating to work with someone you can’t reach when you need to discuss important things. You have to be sure that you can often get a progress report on your project from the builder. One way to know what to expect during the project is from the questioning stage. If the builder takes too long to respond to your questions or inquiries, expect such issues in the future.
Some big companies have turned to technology to enhance their communication with project owners. They now use cloud-based software where you can log in and check how your project is progressing. But when you’re working with builders without such capabilities, the communication gap may be too wide.
So, be careful while choosing your builder. Go with a builder who gives prompt replies to your questions or inquiries
• Good Reputation
This is another important thing to check before entrusting your project to any builder. No matter how qualified a builder or building company is, if their reputation is terrible, steer clear from them. Don’t worry about how you can find out. Ask previous clients or visit the web. You can find good information about companies if you visit some online discussion forums. Many people who have used them will be happy to share their experiences.
• Quality of completed projects
We’ve mentioned the importance of visiting the places where the builder added in his portfolio. When you get there, check the building out if you know what to look for but if you don’t, ask the owners about their experience with the builder. Don’t worry about how the owner might react. Building a house is a capital intensive project. Anybody who has passed through it will understand your need to be careful. So, feel free to discuss with the owners and clear your doubts.
Another thing to check is the resale value of the houses which your builder completed. Realtors and homeowners can provide this information for you. If the buildings maintain their values even after many years, that is a good sign. You can even find some Realtor adverts that mention the builder’s name if he is a hotshot as he claims.
• Upfront fees
We believe that it’s important to avoid any builder asking for cash deposit or upfront fees. The only two reasons to consider such demands are, if the project will last for a very long time or if you ask for some building materials that are way beyond the usual ones. But, if none of these situations is in play, don’t agree with upfront fees to avoid disappointments.
The construction industry is filled with both professional and unprofessional builders. You can’t simply hand over your project to just anybody whether you want to cut cost or not. We’ve tried our best to discuss some essential things you can do to find the right builder. Follow our guide and pick the best builder to bring your dream to life.
No matter the references or the portfolio, always see things for yourself to verify their claims. Also, make sure that you sign a contract with your builder so you can take him to court if he abandons your project.