Hiring Your House or Home Extension Builder
Find a builder to build a one-of-a-kind dream house on either your land or the
builder's. Specialising in single-family, high-end homes, custom builders generally build less than 15
homes a year.
Get background on licensing and other specifics. Get referrals from friends and neighbors who are
satisfied with their builder's work. Calling your town engineers for recommendations is also a smart move, since
they have to approve any additions or new homes.
Retain an architect whether you're drawing up plans for new home construction or using an existing set of
blueprints. Make sure builders you interview are capable of handling the type of construction you're looking
Get at least two but preferably three competitive bids for every job. Compare the bids to make certain they
cover the same scope of work, use the same quality of materials, provide the same warranties, and have the same
Ask if the builder has done any projects similar to yours. If so, do your best to check them out as that will
give you a first-hand view of a comparable project. Call the home owners and ask how the work went and if they have
any positive or negative comments about the builder.
Get the builder's license information. Ask how long they've been in business and how large their staff is.
Finally, find out all you can about their level of insurance and whether their workers are bonded.
Check out the builder's record with local home building organizations, contractor associations or your state's
licensing board. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to learn if any complaints have been lodged against the
builder (see Resources).
Get all guarantees and warranties in writing. It's essential to have an attorney draw up a contract or review
any the builder supplies. The contract should be as detailed as possible, specifying materials used, brands, colors
Make certain your contract specifies a payment schedule and finance charges, if they apply.
It should include a start and completion date, set penalties for any delays as well as specify how any cost
overruns will be handled.
Hold a percentage of the purchase price in escrow until any disputes have been resolved. Most construction
contracts include a clause that states how much will be put aside until you're fully satisfied, but if not, add it
to cover the value of whatever work has not yet been resolved. This can be enough incentive for the builder to
resolve any problems quickly and painlessly.
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