In all honesty, we never actually wanted to build our own home. We spent about a year going around to open houses, auctions, and real estate agents, trying to find that perfect house that had everything we wanted. Alas, that just did not happen for us. We wanted something turnkey, that was spacious and open. But all the houses we saw either needed quite a bit of work done, or were out of our price range.
That's when we decided we would buy land and construct our own house. We were lucky to find a plot quite early on in a small new development, but finding the right builder was another story altogether. All in all, it took us about another 6 months to finalize a builder and house plans. This is how we got there.
1. Get an Idea of the Type of House You Want
Before we went out in search of a builder, we made a list of all the features we wanted in our new home. Some of these included, open plan living, all the bedrooms upstairs, good flow in the floorplan, large windows, etc. Once we had a good idea of what we wanted, it was easier for us to talk to the builder representatives and explain to them what we were looking for. This in turn helped them to shortlist house plans that were the best fit for us. Also, another thing to make sure you are aware of is your budget. As a rule, I found that adding another 100k to the base price gave you a good buffer for additional costs like upgrades, site costs, and landscaping.
2. Create a List of Potential Builders
Once we knew the type of home we were looking for, it was time to make a shortlist of builders we wanted to visit. This meant checking out those reviews. Now, they can come from many sources. We did a quick Google search for the best rated builders in our area. Looked at customer testimonials. Talked to our friends and relatives who have built homes to get ideas from their experiences. Also, we made sure these builders were properly accredited with a few jobs under their belts. I have heard of far too many horror stories of people waiting over two years to finally get the keys to their house due to "unforeseeable" circumstances. Better to pay a bit more initially than have to pay a lot more later. Finally, we checked with our local real estate agents to see which builders are more active in the area. They were more familiar with the land in the area, which lead to less surprises during the build. Forums like Whirlpool were a great source of reviews and criticisms as well.
3. Do Your Homework
r to see the outside conditions. We got lucky a few times and were able to talk to people who were outdoors watering. Some of the questions we asked were: Who was your builder? Are you happy with your home? Did you have any issues during and after build? How is their warranty team? What is the length of the structural warranty? Would you build with them again? And so forth. up being much softer than previously thought, which meant we needed a stronger slab for the foundation. Didn't think having fixed site costs would be important at the time. Not smart. We had a drive around the new developments to see completed houses by each builder to see the outside conditions. We got lucky a few times and were able to talk to people who were outdoors watering. Some of the questions we asked were: Who was your builder? Are you happy with your home? Did you have any issues during and after build? How is their warranty team? What is the length of the structural warranty? Would you build with them again? And so forth.
4. Shop for Quality and Value
To figure out the quality of work for each builder, we went to as many display homes as we could find. Pretty sure by the end of this process we had visited over 100 display homes. They were all blurring together in the end. But it was worth it. During these visits we would look at the quality of the construction features such as the cornices, walls and pillars. We also had a look at the quality of the cabinetry, flooring, carpeting, and paint. Looking at so many different display homes also gave us an idea of how we could furnish the homes and how they could work for us. Some builders, especially the smaller ones, were even able to show us homes that were still under construction. Finally, we tried to visit the Color Selection centers when they are open for everyone. Most builders these days attract customers by giving free upgrades and so forth. But the Cert 1 quality of tiles, carpet, floor selections, were a lot better than even the Cert 3 selections for other builders. So, even with the upgrades, you were getting a lower quality product.
So that's it, four easy steps on getting you to your dream home by the perfect builder. Hopefully, sharing our experience in looking for a builder will makes things just that little bit easier for you.
Have you had similar experiences when looking for a builder? Or have you tried these steps? Did they work? Let me know in the comments below.