Choosing a building contractor is probably the most important decision you will make. Your builder will not only be responsible for building a high quality house that will last for years and years, but he will also be responsible for coming in on budget, getting the house built when you need it to move in and coordinating the multitudes of subcontractors it will take to get the job done.
It should be stated at the outset, that most home contractors are dependable and trustworthy businessmen, however there are a few guidelines that you should follow to protect yourself and your investment.
- Always obtain more than one estimate.
- Never choose a contractor based solely on lowest price.
- Don't rely on possible legal remedies as your protection against someone you are apprehensive about to begin with. Simply don't hire that particular contractor.
- Research their background first before hiring them. If your state has a licensing board for contractors, call to find out if there are any outstanding complaints against that license holder.
- Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file.
- Don't be afraid to thoroughly interview the contractor candidates. Ask what kind of worker's compensation insurance they carry and get their policy number and insurance company contact information so you can verify everything. If they are not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury incurred during the project.
- Be sure that the contractor also has an umbrella general liability policy.
- Don't hire the contractor who only suggests changes that will reduce the price—and possibly the quality—or the contractor who does the opposite and only makes suggestions that will result in expensive changes. There should be a balance
- Choose a contractor based heavily on past performance. Ask for names of clients and follow-up with phone calls and drive-bys if possible. A good contractor will be happy to provide as many referrals as you want.
- Choose a contractor based on recommendations of local business owners he deals with such as bankers, material suppliers or local officials.
- Choose a contractor who appears knowledgeable and has a helpful attitude and will have your best interest at heart.
- Finally, don't be rushed into making a decision, no matter how competitive the market may seem. And never pay a deposit to a contractor at the first meeting.
So, now that you have a better idea of what to look for when buying a new home plan all you need to do is choose a style! See our information on Architectural Floor Plan Styles which explains the differences between the various home plans. We also have some great ideas and suggestions for choosing the Right House Plan as well as information to help you understand how to read your new blue prints.