If you’re in the market for a new home and you want to build “from scratch,” this can be a daunting prospect — but you can do it. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to build your house and customize it to your needs, instead of building a “prefab” home or buying a preowned home.
Contact your local Home builders Association
The first thing you need to do is to find the local Home builders Association in your area. From them, you can get a list of builders in your area that construct new homes. You can also look through the real estate section in your area (either online or through your newspaper) to see who is building what and where. This can help you find out which companies are building what types of homes, so that you can choose a builder who specializes in a type of home you want. Take a look through these listings and know them down by the type of house you want and then find homes in your price range.
Contact your real estate agent
Your real estate agent can also point you in the right direction of someone who can build your home for you. Your real estate agent should not be the ONLY point of reference you have when you’re looking for a builder, but it can help you narrow down your choices.
Ask friends and relatives in your area
If you know someone who has a house in your area that you just adore (and you want one similar to it), you can ask who built it, as well as other specifications such as price, reliability of the builder, and so on. If the homeowner has a home similar to the one you want and they’re really happy with the price, quality, workmanship, and so on, it’s a good bet that you’ll luck out if you hire the same builder.
Going online for homework, too
Although it’s not the only way you should get your information, it’s a good idea to check each of your prospective builders out by going to sites like the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) and checking out a particular company’s background. You don’t want to be left with a substandard, unfinished, or unsatisfactory house because you hired the wrong company.
Narrowing down your choices
Once you’ve got a list of custom home builders in your area, contact each of them and ask them to give you the addresses of some of the homes they have recently built. If homeowners are willing, builders may also be willing to you the names and addresses of those homeowners. You can simply drive by these homes, introduce yourself (or call first, which is a good idea if you want to be polite), and say you’re considering hiring this particular home builder to build a home for you. Most homeowners are happy to recommend a home builder they’ve been pleased with — and most are also happy to give you an earful if they’re not happy with what they got, such that they will warn you away a particular builder.
One last point: Make sure you also ask these homeowners how responsive their builder was to problems that occurred after the home was built. Most reputable home builders will provide a warranty with their work, and will also be happy to fix small, unforeseen problems that crop up after construction is complete quickly; when homeowners are satisfied with the particular construction company, you know you’ve probably got a winner.