4 min read

12 Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

12 Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

Custom home builders aren’t one-size-fits-all. Finding the builder that’s the right fit for your project will take some work, but walking into a home that was designed and built just for you and your family will make it all worth it. 

So, how do you choose the best custom home builder for your project? Interviewing custom home builders is how. Use this guide of questions to ask a home builder as a great starting point for your initial interviews. From getting to know how they run their business, their level of professionalism, and what their process is like, you will be able to narrow down your choices and find the home builder that’s a perfect fit.  


Style & Network Questions


1. What are some examples of custom homes you’ve completed recently?

Most custom home builders will have a portfolio or gallery on their website. They may have additional completed projects that are more recent than the ones online. This is important because they may have expanded their skill set and style in more recent projects. When you’re looking through their work, be sure to notice the details, consistency, and layouts


2. Do you have a network of vendors?

Experienced custom home builders that have worked in the same area for several years will likely develop a go-to list of vendors they know and trust. This can have pros and cons. The upside is that their relationship may help with delivery times, the vendor working harder to source materials, or getting better prices if they tend to order materials in bulk or request . 

The possible downside is that they may be unwilling to go outside of their network to seek materials, finishes, and fixtures to suit your design goals. Work this concern into your questions if you feel like you should. 


3. Do you have any designers or architects you’d recommend?

If the custom home builder is a design-build firm, then they will be completely outfitted to both design and construct your custom home. However, if the custom home builder doesn’t provide design, you will need to bring your own to the table. 

They will likely have a short list they’ve enjoyed working with, which is a relationship where everybody wins. If you are looking for an architect or designer, be sure to ask follow-up questions, like why did they enjoy working with them? 


Logistics Based Questions 


4. Are you licensed and insured?

Any custom home builder should have the proper licenses and insurance. However, you can’t assume that they’ll have the proper credentials, so follow up by also looking this up online. Contractors should also have insurance to cover the possibility of injury or damages.


5. Will you be able to help me find land?

Not all custom home builders are in the position to help you with locating and purchasing land, but some build it into their custom home building process. If they can’t, follow-up with a question about recommending a realtor to help with that part of the process. 


Budget Based Questions


6. What isn’t included in your costs?

The cost of permits, the surveyor’s certificate, the appraisal, and other items might not be included in what the builder or design-build team will cover. Some design-build firms will do this automatically to streamline the pre-construction phase and move things along, while others might not have the capacity to perform those tasks. 


7. Is Landscaping included in your costs? 

This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but knowing up front if you’ll need to hire a landscape architect to address the landscaping toward the end of construction would be helpful. 


8. What is your process or method for staying under budget?

This will likely be covered in the company’s explanation of their process, but it’s worth singling out twice to make sure they have a plan in place. This is also a good time to ask how you can be involved in keeping costs within your budget


Questions About the Process


9. How will I be kept informed? Do you use project management software for communication?

Open and consistent communication with your custom home team helps to decrease misunderstandings, encourages problem-solving as a team, and keeps the project moving forward. 


10. What is the process for picking the materials and fixtures for my custom home?

If your custom home builder is a design-build firm, they will be able to address this question. Otherwise, your designer or architect will be responsible for guiding you through the design phase while the custom builder might offer cost updates to keep the budget in line. 


11. If I would like to change something in the design after construction has begun, how does that work?

Keep in mind that requesting changes after construction has begun means there will almost certainly be a change in materials and labor, which will affect your budget. However, there is a process for this and the custom builder should have a plan in place. 


12. How do you conduct your post-construction inspection? When will any issues that need to be corrected or replaced be addressed? How many walk-throughs will you perform?

You will eventually be brought through the home to create a list of any issues you see that the contractor can address before their team leaves the site for good. It’s possible that you may both miss things and you’ll want to know how that will be addressed after move-in day. Ask about the warranty you would have with the custom builder and time limits for reporting issues. 


You’re Ready To Meet with Custom Home Builders

These questions are a great place to start when preparing for interviews with custom home builders. During the first phase of choosing the one that’s best for your project, you’ll notice which builders are able to answer these seamlessly and which struggle to be transparent, making it easy to shorten your list of potential builders. 

Chris Gorman Homes is a design-build custom home builder in Cincinnati that values transparency, honesty, and delivering excellent customer experiences. Stress shouldn’t be considered part of the custom home building process and Chris Gorman and his team prove that with every project. Contact Chris Gorman Homes to have an open conversation about the home-building experience and everything we bring to the table. 


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