Choosing a Builder to Build Your Home

By | May 18, 2023

As many of you know that are reading this article, I am an advocate of Building Your Own Home but there are many of you out there that cannot “build your own home” due to time constraints, physical challenges, or other circumstances.

With this in mind, I would like to list a few do’s and don’ts when choosing a Home Builder.


Find at least three builders that build homes in your area and look at the homes they build. Builders come in many varieties from small custom builders to those that build in large master planned subdivisions.

Go to the houses they are presently building and look at the quality and materials they are using. If they are using cheap fixtures, skimpy insulation, poor quality building materials, pass and move on to the next candidate. And pay attention while you are there. The sub-contractors will tell you if the builder is paying his bills or not. Guess what: if the subs are unhappy with the builder, then you will have delays in getting your house built because they don’t work for free.

Check the Builder out with the BBB, Chamber of Commerce and your local City and State Governments to make sure they are in good standing. Make sure if they have any complaints that they have resolved them successfully. Check with the local builder’s association. There is usually a record when the public complains about a builder.

Ask for a client list of previous and current people they are building houses for. Get a list of current clients and call them up and ask them what their experience is/was like. Also call the current clients that they are building for now. Don’t be shy…these people will tell you the truth and you need to listen to their praises or horror stories. You know the house you want…. and there are a lot of builders out there to choose from.

Meet with the Builder or their representative and get a hard bid for what the house you want will cost. At first glance this may seem like a no brainier but let’s dig a little deeper.

Unless you have your own plans and the builder will be building the house exactly to the specification on those plans getting an exact bid is going to be difficult. Why? Because every builder has different plans and different pricing for options.

A good way to overcome this issue is to decide what you want up front and stick with it. This is oh so important..because the builders make a ton of money on add-ons (change orders) later on in the building process. For you to compare up front and get the best deal you need to decide what you want and stick to it. This is where planning is top priority.

Let me give you a short list of ideas:

  • How many bedrooms do you want
  • How many square feet of living area
  • How big is the Garage going to be
  • 2 story or 1
  • Wood flooring, tile, carpet etc…what grade and where
  • Do you want an alarm system? What kind of system?
  • Do you want a central vacuum?
  • Etc…..

This list should spark some ideas for you to make a list of what YOU want. Don’t show up for a meeting with the builder with no idea what you want. He or She will be happy to fill in the blanks for you. Don’t blame them for making money in their business. They are not working for free either! If you add stuff later YOU WILL PAY THRU THE NOSE!

Do your very best to compare apples to apples. Go to each builder with the same list of wants. If you add something check out pricing with each builder before you sign anything. Make your self a detailed list…. item-by-item….


Go driving around and choose the first beautiful home you see. Take your time and research the builder and the houses they build. Don’t let wants get ahead of your needs…

Take out a construction loan to build your house unless the builder has a contract with you for a specified finishing date that you can move into the house. Many people sign a contract with a builder and provide the construction financing without the builder having a completion date for the home. They are very happy if you pay for the interest on a construction loan so that they can take their time and build other houses at the same time they are building yours. It’s your dime and your line of credit that’s being used…not theirs. That’s a real plus for a builder who is usually stretched to the max financially. Get a specific completion date in writing with a stiff financial penalty if they go over that date. This is the only way that you should agree to bank rolling the builder….

If the builder does not finish the house on time and you are providing the construction financing guess who has to pay the interest and penalties while they finish? YOU! If you provide the financing make sure you have penalties in place that will keep the builder on track. Money is the only thing that talks!

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