Red Flags When Choosing a Custom Home Builder
Building a new home is no small feat; it’s an expensive, time-consuming proposition and finding the right custom home builder is an essential part of the equation. The developer that you hire can have a significant impact on virtually every aspect of your build, from the quality of your home to the timeframe of the build and total cost of the construction project.
So what are some of the warning signs and red flags when hiring a custom home builder? Consider the following points.
The Custom Home Builder Won’t Provide References
References matter, as they can provide you with first-hand insight into what it’s like to work with the home builder that you’re considering.
If your builder is hesitant to provide you with client references, then this is a major warning sign because any reputable builder should have multiple clients who are happy to provide references to prospective clients. You should ask questions such as:
- Did you enjoy working with the builder?
- Did they provide regular updates?
- Did they complete the work in a timely manner?
- Did the builder stay on budget?
- Would you work with this home builder again in the future?
It’s important to avoid placing too much stock in written references or video references on the contractor’s website, as these may be fabricated or edited. Third-party reviews tend to be more reliable (although even these can be fabricated.)
The Developer Has Bad Online Reviews
If you “Google” a custom home builder and discover numerous negative reviews on sites like Angie’s List and on the company’s Google Business listing, then this is a significant red flag. Make note of any recurring themes in the negative reviews, as this can be indicative of a contractor’s tendencies. Greater weight should be placed upon recent reviews.
Granted, clients who have had a negative experience are several times more likely to leave a negative review than a satisfied client. But a large number of dissatisfied clients is a sign of a big problem, especially when it involves a big ticket item like a home. A good contractor should go out of his or her way to ensure that the client is satisfied with the work that is performed.
It’s important to make note of whether the business has replied to or addressed the negative reviews. If replies are present, is the builder’s tone professional? Do they appear to be eager to resolve the matter? You may also wish to discuss any concerns directly with the contractor.
You should also consult the Better Business Bureau to determine if there have been any complaints filed.
The Custom Home Builder Does Not Maintain a Professional Appearance
A reputable home builder should take pride in their company, maintaining a professional website, office space, vehicles and general appearance. The employees should also behave in a professional manner, while looking presentable upon arrival (construction is hard and sometimes messy work, so it’s not entirely fair to judge an employee on their appearance at the end of a work day!)
If the employees look disheveled and arrive in a beat-up pick-up truck with buckets of tools in the truck bed, then this is a warning sign. If a company does not take pride in its appearance, then are they really going to care about whether you’re satisfied with the work performed on your new home?
The Home Builder Does Not Have Any Work Samples
Before hiring a custom home builder, you should view at least one home that the developer has constructed. Photos and videos are wonderful, but a site visit provides you with insight that you simply cannot obtain from an image. In fact, a home builder should be eager to show off their work. If they are hesitant, then this may be a sign of a serious problem.
Also, remember to verify that the builder has an active and legitimate license and insurance coverage. Your builder should be happy to provide you with their licensing number and proof of insurance.
If you’re in search of a top custom home builder, turn to the experts at Hulbert Homes. To discuss your project with our team, just fill out our Contact form or call (863) 232-4924.