There are some amazing benefits to building your own home. If you want to avoid the pitfalls that can come with the process, you need to know the questions to ask when building your own home. We already covered the questions you need to ask yourself — but you also need to ask your home builder questions before building your own home.
If you have evaluated the pros and cons of building a house and have decided to take the first step in the home building process, you’re sure to have a lot of questions that come to mind as you work with your builder. However, there are a few questions that you should ask in your first meeting before you commit to working with the builder. Think of these questions like part of an interview process — if you don’t like the answers you get, you might need to consider interviewing a different builder!
Here are 6 of the most vital questions to ask the builder before building a new home:
1. How much experience do you have?
You want to make sure that your home builder is good. And although experience is no guarantee of quality, it’s generally a good metric to gauge when interviewing home builders. A builder’s experience and expertise will have a huge effect on the quality of your completed home — and with such a big financial decision, you’ll want mind-easing guarantees that the final product is of the highest possible quality.
When speaking with home builders, ask them about their experience in two different ways: how long they have been building homes, and how many homes they have built. By asking both of these questions, you will be able to get a more complete picture of their expertise. This will also help you figure out if your expectations and the builder’s experience are aligned. For instance, if you want to build a single-family home that will be attractive to all audiences and sell for the most money possible, then knowing that your potential builder specializes in high-priced, highly-customized mansions will be good to keep in mind.
2. Can I speak with your past clients?
Even if someone has a long career and has built a ton of homes, you want to make sure that their past clients are happy with their homes. When interviewing the builder, ask if there are any past clients that you can speak to and ask about their satisfaction.
Alternatively, ask the home builder if there are any ongoing or recently-completed projects that you can see. Taking a tour of their site will allow you to learn a lot of things. Take note of their level of craftsmanship, what sort of products they use in construction, and whether or not they keep the site tidy and well-organized. When building your own home, it’s important to have as much information as possible!
Speaking with clients and doing site tours isn’t necessarily about determining the quality of a builder. A lot of times (as with question 1) it’s about finding the right fit. For instance: imagine that a strict time frame is important to you. You speak with a past client who praises their home’s quality but says it went over schedule and budget. In that case, even though the builder produces high-quality homes, you might want to interview other options.
As with many aspects of building a home, it depends on your personal needs and means!
3. Can you explain your pricing guidelines?
Even if it can be awkward to talk about money, you need to figure out pricing guidelines and expectations right away. It’s hard enough learning how to build your own home without getting blindsided by extra costs halfway through the project. Make sure that you don’t just get an overview of a price estimate, but as much information as you can (remember, information is power when building your own home!). Any builder with whom you speak should be able to share a report of their standard features — as well as the cost of available upgrades.
This is also your chance to learn how much flexibility you have when building a home. Some builders will let you change your mind about home features during the construction process, while others will not allow you to make anything but minor changes while they are building — and it’s good to know before you sign any contracts!
4. Does this community have any Home Owners’ Association Guidelines that we need to know?
Depending on where you want to live, this is an important question to ask when building your own home. Home Owners Associations (HOAs) can have a lot of influence over how your home might turn out. For instance, some HOAs might have restrictions on whether or not you can rent out the home that you are building — which means that you would not be able to turn the house into an investment property.
There’s no guarantee that a local HOA would restrict your freedom when building a home. The best way to find out is to ask your builder. Even if they don’t know of any specific guidelines (but they might, if they’ve built homes in that community before), they will be able to speak to a representative and let you know.
5. How can we maximize the home’s resale value?
This inquiry might not be as important to you, depending on your answers to the questions you asked yourself when deciding to build a home. If you are planning to rent the home out to someone else or sell it quickly, it’s wise to make sure that you are building a house with high resale value. Make sure to speak with your home builder (and real estate agent) about how to do this — you’ll want to know what your home is worth on the market!
In this instance, building a new home can be a lot like adding to an existing home — you don’t want to invest in renovations that don’t pay off when you want to sell. In order to maximize your new home’s resale potential, rely on the experts!
As part of this question, make sure to be clear and upfront about your plans for the home. If the home builder knows that you are constructing the house as an investment, they might be more willing to make suggestions to get you the best return on your investment.
6. What local professionals do you have strong relationships with?
The truth of the matter is that any real estate transaction is a complex process. No matter how many smart questions you ask the builder, they won’t have all the answers. That’s why it’s crucial that they work with other expert real estate professionals. When you first meet with your builder, make sure to ask who they prefer working with. A high-quality home builder will have relationships with real estate agents and lenders that will be vital to the success of your home building experience.
When making a big financial decision — such as deciding to build a home — it’s important to make sure you have as much information as possible. If you take steps to keep yourself informed, you can avoid rookie mistakes that will cost valuable time and money!
One way to get this information is to make sure that you are asking your home builder wise questions. Another way is to work with a real estate team that has extensive experience with new construction homes and has exclusive partnerships with premier home builders in Washington DC and its surrounding areas!
The Keri Shull Team is the top-selling team in the entire Washington DC area. So no matter if you want to build a home in one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods, are interested in living in Arlington VA, or anywhere else in the DMV, we are here to help! Our home construction experts are standing by to help you, so contact us today! Just click here to schedule a time to speak with us!