When you’re in the homebuying process, narrowing down your options to a shortlist you love is a huge accomplishment. But your shortlist is just that – all the finalists that you really like. Perhaps the most important contenders? The builders. With so many respectable builders out there, how do you make your final choice?
Here are five questions to ask yourself when making the final decision on which builder is the right fit for you.
What do the reviews say?
One of the best ways to get a sense of a company before you’ve actually worked with them is to check previous customer reviews and testimonials. From the right sources, these can be a treasure trove of information and can steer you to the best choice.
The trick here isn’t to find only positive reviews (although that’s a bonus), but to find honest review sources. Using a tool like TrustBuilder, which compiles reviews from verified homebuyers and provides an easy-to-understand overall score, you can get a great sense of a builder’s attention to detail, efficiency, and overall customer service level.
Looking at honest reviews of homebuilders — the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly — can make the choice clear. Even if there are some not-so-great reviews, you can see what the builder did to make things right, which shows you what your customer service experience will be like.
What has your experience with the builder been like up to this point?
While reading about others’ experiences can be helpful, be sure to consider your own, too! If you’re someone who likes a detailed timeline and regular updates, you don’t want to end up with a builder who is a bit more casual on looping you in. The way they’ve operated until now is a good indicator of how they’ll interact in the future.
Consider how each builder has been in contact and answered your questions. Were some builders quicker to respond than others? This could indicate a pattern throughout the construction process, and it’s up to you to decide if that’s a deal breaker. Your home will take time to build, and you and the builder will be happier if there’s a working relationship you both trust and enjoy.
How do the warranties stack up?
Being able to claim the title “homeowner” is something to be proud of, in part because it doesn’t come without some stressors. Even with the best planning and prevention, life happens, and you might find yourself in need of warranty coverage and repairs. And unlike resale homes, almost all newly built homes come with a warranty built into the price.
Review warranties from each builder you’re considering. What elements of the home are covered, and for how long? Most warranties on new homes cover structural aspects, such as siding and doors, as well as home systems like HVAC and plumbing. Does every builder you’re considering cover these aspects? Does someone go above and beyond? That builder may a strong contender for the final choice.
What lots does each builder have available?
Think about the community you’ve decided on, and its overall layout. If you’re someone who enjoys a healthy lifestyle, perhaps you’ll want to be nearby walking trails or an exercise center. For growing families, consider proximity to schools and ease of transportation. If you prefer a quiet atmosphere, the builder with lots backing up to the green space might be for you.
When you decide what the ideal area is for you, check out which builder has the lots closest to where you want to be. If you’ve narrowed it down to two great builders, and one builds near the amenities you want and the other doesn’t, that may make your decision for you.
Are there any incentives being offered?
Like any company, builders are going to vie for your attention with attractive incentives and deals. This could be in the form of offers with specific banks or lenders when it comes to financing. If the opportunities are good, or if you’re already planning on working with the entities the builder recommends, it’s worth it to see if these incentives will pay off in the long run.
Be sure to consider home upgrades as well, such as appliance packages and cosmetics. If you know you’re going to be replacing your old stove and refrigerator when you move in to your new home, a builder offering an appliance bundle might get bumped to the top of your list; if you’re planning on bringing your own appliances, that may not factor in for you. Just be sure to keep in mind what will work best for you in the long run; incentives can paint a pretty picture, and it’s easy to be swept away.
Deciding on the right builder is a huge decision, and should be approached with some intentionality and critical thinking. But when you know you’ve decided, don’t put off making it official—the only thing more exciting than planning for your new home is moving in!
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Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.