Make a List of Possible Builders: This can be done a number of ways. First, contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area. You can find your local HBA at nahb.org/findanhba. Second, look in the real estate section of your local newspaper for builders and projects. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay. Make a list of builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range. Finally, ask local real estate agents, friends and relatives for recommendations.
Do Your Homework: When you have a list of potential builders, it is time to start asking lots of questions — of both the potential builders and the owners of their homes. Interview potential home builders to get the answers to all the questions you have. Then, visit a builder’s recently built homes and subdivisions. Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get. Some questions to ask home owners include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder? When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later.
Shop for Quality and Value: Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes. When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.