You’ve decided to take the leap – you’ve been saving and pre-planning and now you’re ready to begin searching for a custom home builder to build the home of your dreams. Whether you live in the community in which you want to live, or you live out of the area and are looking for a reputable contractor to make your dreams a reality, your work is just beginning. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a contractor and some critical questions to ask them.
Is the contractor fully insured?
First, make sure any contractor you consider employing is properly insured. General liability insurance coverage protects both you and the builder if an accident injures someone or something on the construction site. The insurance will help cover medical bills and damage to property and equipment.
You should also require any custom home builder to work only with insured sub-contractors. Sub-contractors are not legally required to carry insurance, nor are they automatically included in the home builder’s general liability insurance. The gap in coverage leaves the sub-contractor, the builder and even the customer in the wind, with no coverage and open to lawsuits.
“Whether you are adding on to your existing home, building a new home or rebuilding your home after a disaster such as a flood or storm, it is important to know your rights,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Is the contractor easy to communicate with?
Get to know your potential contractor. Spend time with him or speak over the phone if you are from out of the area. Ask for references and speak with former customers if possible. Find out about the contractor’s home building skills, but also ask questions about how the individual was to work with – if the contractor and staff listened to concerns or were dismissive. In short, did the customers feel heard?
Keep in mind that it can be easy to speak with a contractor in the planning stages, when anything seems possible and the excitement is palpable. Make sure you choose a contractor who is just as easy to communicate with when issues arise – because issues always arise.
How long as the contractor been in business?
Look into how long a contractor has been in business. This can be easily determined by contacting the local county clerk’s office. You can also search the contractor’s name for prior failed construction companies, have lawsuits pending or a license revoked.
Does the contractor understand the benefits of building a custom home?
Concern for the environment coupled with growing energy costs are driving some home buyers to pursue custom builds. According to the National Association of Home Builders, features like solar panels, water-saving appliances, insulation and the use of renewable or recycled building materials are gaining in popularity in custom homes.
The builders of custom homes are also more likely to be able to include additional amenities. These include clients like fitness rooms, resistance pools, studios and game rooms, as well as the technology to create “smart homes” that allow for the control of home features from energy usage and security systems to lighting and music at the touch of a button on a smart phone.
Another reason home buyers are looking at custom homes is the changing dynamic of who is living in those homes. More so now that in generations past, homes have multiple generations living together including adult children or young adults who’ve returned home as well as elderly parents who crave their own spaces with privacy and independence.
A recent Pew Research Center study shows that 39 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 have had to move in with their parents. In the same year, the U.S. Census reported that 4.3 out of 76 million homes housed at least three generations, NAHB reported.
Custom builders are uniquely able to tailor homes to meet these changing lifestyle needs.
What other questions should we ask a potential builder?
The National Association of Home Builders recommends several questions to ask a builder when considering a project including:
- What is the builder’s warranty?
- Does the price include landscaping?
- Are there any restrictive covenants in the potential neighborhood that will limit future modifications or expansions to the home?
- What are the estimated property taxes?
Do the custom homes your contractor has built match your vision of your dream home?
Look at the types of homes a particular custom contractor has built. Do they fit with your vision of your own custom home? What do review sites have to say about the builder you’re considering? For those who live out of the area, websites can offer an alternative way to view a contractor’s work. Visit us online at fruthconstruction.com for more details and images of custom homes built by Fruth Construction.
Now you know what you want. You’ve done your research. You’re ready to find the perfect custom home builder to make your dreams a reality. Contact local custom builder Alex Fruth for a free consultation. Fruth Construction Inc has served Red Bud, Columbia, Waterloo and O’Fallon, Illinois, since 2002. Alex offers unmatched quality and custom workmanship at fair prices. His office is located at 215 East Main Street in Red Bud. Schedule your free consultation today, call 618-282-6022.