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Choosing a Builder
If you're in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder
as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are
buying a house in a subdivision, a custom-built house, a
townhouse or a condo, you want to know that you are
buying a good quality home from a reputable builder.
Start your search
Once you have thought about the type of house you want,
where should you look for a builder? First, make a list
of builders who build the type of home you're looking
for in your price range. Look for builders that are
active in your area, the types of homes they are
building and the price you can expect to pay. The local
builders association has a list of builders who
construct homes in your area. Friends and relatives can
make recommendations of builders they have dealt with
Take a Look Around
Once you have a list of builders, how can you find out
about their reputations and the quality of their work?
The best way is to visit homes they have built and talk
with the owners. Get references and addresses of houses
the builder has recently built. Talk to several owners
and get a random collection of opinions. The more people
you talk with, the more accurate impression of a builder
you are likely to get. Take along a note pad when you
talk to the builders and homeowners, and record
information about specific builders and homes.
Some questions you can ask:
- Are you happy with your home?
- Did the builder do what was promised in a timely manner?
- Would you buy another home from this builder?
Usually, people will
tell you if they are pleased with their home, and if
they are not, they'll probably want to tell you why
Shop for Quality and Value
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored
by builders are good opportunities to look at homes.
Look for the quality of the construction features,
inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trim
work and paint. Never hesitate to ask a question. Keep
value in mind when shopping. Just because a home is less
expensive than another does not mean it is a better
value. Likewise, a more expensive home does not
automatically assure higher quality. A home is primarily
a place to live, but it is also an important investment.
Consider the appreciation potential of any house and the
possible future influences that location, housing
supply, demand, and other market factors that have a
direct effect of the value of your new home. Design
quality is another important aspect of your home. Does
it suit your lifestyle? Is there enough living space,
enough bedrooms, and bathrooms? Is there adequate
storage? Will you need a large kitchen for entertaining
or a room for a home office or exercise room? Think
about the amount of upkeep required both indoors and
"Location, location, location!" You must remember
location!. Remember to evaluate whether or not
convenient access to shopping, schools, etc. are
important to you.
Most builders offer some form of written warranty that
backs their workmanship and materials, typically for one
year. Other builders offer warranties backed by an
insurance company. Read the warranty and understand what
protection you would have. Waiting until after you move
in and problems arise may be too late to ask for
warranty information from a builder. Ask about what kind
of service you can expect after the sale. Typically, a
builder makes two service calls during the first year
after you move in to repair non-emergency problems
covered by the warranty. The first call is usually 30 to
120 days after the move-in, and the second is around the
eleventh month - right before any one-year warranties on
workmanship and materials expire. For emergencies, the
builder should be able to send someone to your home
Other important questions to ask the builder:
- Is the builder licensed and insured?
- Do they carry worker's compensation insurance?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Do they have a permanent address?
- How many homes has the builder built?
- Whom do you contact for customer service after the sale?
- Should requests be made in writing?
- What responsibility does the builder assume for the work of subcontractors?
- Who will be responsible for correcting problems with major appliances?
- Does the builder use Energy Star appliances and methods?
- Is the builder a member of a local homebuilders association?
- If not, why?
BUYING A NEW HOME IS ONE
OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT PURCHASES YOU WILL
MAKE IN YOUR LIFETIME. BY DOING YOUR HOMEWORK, YOU WILL
BE ABLE TO SHOP FOR A HOME WITH A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE
AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WILL HELP YOU MAKE THE RIGHT
Lovers Lane, Bowling Green, KY 42103 | P (270) 781-3375
| F (270) 782-5082 |