If you’re considering undergoing a custom homebuilding project in Fairfield County or Westchester County you’ve been considering the appeal of a unique space that reflects your individual style and living needs. One of the first steps in the process will be to hire a local homebuilder. Without applying due diligence to the homebuilding process you run the risk of budget overruns, compromised craftsmanship and lack of communication along the way. Here are some questions to ask potential homebuilders before you sign a contract or break ground.

Questions Inside ImageWhat kind of experience do you have?
Ask them how many years they’ve been in business, if they are custom homebuilders and how many custom homes they have built. And ask them whether they’ve worked in Fairfield County and or Westchester County in the past. You’ll want to avoid hiring a contractor that will be using your custom home building project as an “experiment.”

Do you have the proper licenses and insurance?
If the answer is no, thank them for their time and move on. Unlicensed homebuilders may not have the experience or authority to build a custom home, and of course an uninsured homebuilder is unacceptable and leaves you vulnerable to liability.

What makes you better than other homebuilders?
Is it their experience in custom homebuilding? Their attention to detail? Their dedication to communicating? If a homebuilder cannot articulate a good answer, then perhaps they aren’t a good fit.

Where can I find examples of your previous work?
Some homebuilders may have the capability of providing detailed virtual tours of your planned home. Others may just give you references or show you homes that they’ve constructed for other clients. Either way, you can get a good idea about builders’ strengths by looking at their past work.

How long will my project take?
A reputable homebuilder can provide you with a detailed timeline for your project, including when the various elements and construction processes will take place. In addition, you should ask about contingency plans if inclement weather becomes a factor.

Who are the subcontractors on my project?
You may feel good about the homebuilder, but if any of the designers, plumbers, electricians, engineers, and any other subcontractors don’t perform equally well, then the overall quality of your home will suffer.

How much input can I provide during the construction phase?
Find out how often you can be at the work site, at what points in the process can you make design changes or upgrade selections, and when the “point of no return” is on altering various aspects of the home. Then ask about scheduling a final walk through and inspection.

Who should I contact during construction?
Make sure you know exactly which person you will be liaising with throughout the project. Otherwise, your questions or requests may not get passed on to the right people. Also, will this contact person always be on your job site or will he be handling multiple jobs simultaneously? A reputable custom homebuilder will have a Project Manager assigned to each job.

What are the payment terms?
A draw schedule is a document that outlines when funds are paid to the builder. A common draw schedule could involve five to ten different payments so the homebuilder can purchase materials as they’re needed. This also provides incentives to complete the job.

What are your warranties?
Most new homes should be warrantied for at least one year. Some builders offer a five-year warranty, but make sure to get the warranty in writing. Also, inquire about how to pursue warranty-related issues or repairs. Do you contact the homebuilder, the subcontractor, the supplier, or a different company altogether?

The more information you obtain at the start of your homebuilding project, the smoother the entire construction process will proceed. So don’t take anything for granted and ask as many questions as you can. After all, you’re making a significant investment with the builder – and working to build the home of your dreams.