We had our Santa Claus Parade in our town yesterday! What fun! The air was just cold enough to make it seem seasonal, but mild enough that we weren’t absolutely frozen. My brother was driving in the parade and invited my kids to ride with him. I must admit, I wasn’t entirely clear on what […]
Do Your Due Diligence Before Hiring a Home Builder
Canadian home builders are some of the best in the world, however, it does sometimes happen that homeowners experience difficulty with their builder. Having to cope with a substandard home building company can be a stressful and disheartening – not to mention expensive – experience.
Check credentials and references; speak to former clients of your prospective home builder before signing anything. Make sure you thoroughly discuss what you want, and make sure that your builder has good communication skills. A home is one of the largest purchases most people make, and one of the most important. There are many horror stories: missed deadlines, shoddy workmanship, contract disputes. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here are some simple things to consider:
Pro or “Part-Timer”- Is your builder a full-time professional? Does your prospective building make his/her living from constructing homes? Beware of anyone offering to build your home as a part-time project. Any savings that might be entailed won’t be worth the delays, hassles, and amateur nature of the project. Home building is a serious business. It requires a full-time commitment in order to keep up with requirements and developments in the industry. It requires real know-how, ferocious organizational skills, and solid business acumen. Don’t settle for less.
Experience- How long has your builder been in business? Ask your prospective builder specific questions about how long he/she has been a builder and how many projects have been completed. Ask to see photos, and ask for contact information for former clients. Follow up with these clients to find out what their experience was like. Was the work completed on time? On budget? How do they like their home?
Strengths – Find out the builder’s strengths and weaknesses. Have a candid discussion with your prospective builder about what he/she can and cannot do. If additional personnel will be hired to do important jobs, ask about their credentials, and ask to meet them if possible.
Case Studies – Ask to visit a current building site. This can be one of the most telling experiences when assessing a builder. Is the job site clean, safe, and orderly? Do workers seem efficient and satisfied with conditions?
Warranty – Ask about warranty. Make sure your builder offers a warranty, in case of any problems that arise. Ask for the details of the program, long and short term.
How to Avoid Problems
One of the best ways to avoid problems with your home builder is to do your research. There are several premium design-build teams in Toronto that are considered to be at the top of the profession. If it’s possible, you may want to consider building a custom home. While the additional cost of hiring an architect at the outset will add to the cost of the project, it can save you money later on. A custom home can be tailored to suit the needs of you and your family, which means more satisfaction, and can also mean a smaller environmental footprint and lower energy costs.
Spend some time choosing your home builder, using due care and attention. Being saddled with a poor builder can be a miserable experience…but working with a good home builder to build your ideal home can be one of life’s great pleasures.