How to Choose a Home Builder in Wisconsin
Very few decisions make a bigger difference than the one you make when you select a home builder to construct your custom house. The home builder you choose can impact the home building experience, the quality of the structure, the design of your house and ultimately, your satisfaction with your home. Finding the right builder makes all the difference.
Finding a good builder takes time. It's important to be thorough and to explore all the options before making a final decision. Here's what to know about choosing a Wisconsin home builder.
Vet Several Builders
It's important to vet several builders before settling on a builder. Vetting multiple companies gives you a point of comparison when trying to decide whether a home building business is good, excellent or middle of the road.
Meet with at least three builders. The more builders you meet, the better. If you live in an unpopulated rural area, you may need to look hard to find more than one candidate. Some tips:
- Get the names of builders from homeowners in newly constructed neighborhoods.
- Get referrals from material suppliers in the area.
- Attend home shows to meet professionals in the construction business.
- Speak with or get membership listings from local trade associations.
- Check with your local zoning and permitting offices.
During meetings with builders, consider the following:
Customer service. Is the builder polite in person as well as over the phone? Is the initial meeting with the builder organized and streamlined? Can the builder describe a customer-service-focused building process?
Experience. Each builder should be able to talk about their years of experience building homes in Wisconsin. Avoid hiring a builder that doesn't have experience constructing residential structures. A contractor may have many years of experience building additions or remodeling existing structures, but unless they've got experience building homes, they may not have the depth of knowledge required to make the building experience a success.
Professionalism. When you're meeting with builders, assess their professionalism. Are their offices comfortable and clean? Were they prepared for the meeting? Did they bring resources - such as pictures, diagrams, and brochures - to walk you through the home-building process?
Be Prepared for Your Meetings With Builders
Just as home builders must be prepared for your meetings with them, you must be prepared as well.
Have a list of questions. Know what you plan to ask each home builder before going into your meetings. Some good questions to ask include:
- How long have you been building custom homes?
- How much money do you require as a down payment?
- Do you offer realty services?
- Is landscaping included in the construction and design?
- Are you bonded and insured?
- What makes your business different from other custom home builders?
- Who will be working on the job site: subcontractors, employees, or both?
- Who will be my point of contact during the home-building process?
- Do you offer design services, or must I find my own architect?
- What's your process for making changes once the construction has begun?
- When can you begin?
- How long will home construction take?
- How does pricing work?
- Can you help me make my home energy efficient?
Take notes. Depending on how many builders you're able to meet with, you may have a hard time remembering your conversations and your experience with each potential builder. Take notes to help you remember what each builder said and what made each meeting different.
Once you've met with each builder, you may have a favorite or multiple favorite builders. Now is the time to start making decisions. One way to find out which builders have the best reputation in your area is to contact references. This will tell you what kind of experiences home buyers have had with that particular builder. Never hire a home builder that can't supply you with at least three references - preferably from recent projects.
Some potential questions to ask references:
- When did you work with this home builder?
- Did your project come in under or at budget? If not, why not?
- How long did home construction take?
- Would you hire this home builder again? If not, why not?
- Would you recommend this builder to someone else?
- Did your home builder encounter any problems during your project, and, if so, how did they resolve those problems?
- Are you happy with the quality and construction of the house?
Another way to gauge the experience that clients have had with your potential builder is to look at online reviews and testimonials. It's important to keep in mind that people who leave online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, as the reviewers may not be verified.
When reading online reviews of home builders, watch for patterns. Reviewers that consistently state they had a good experience with a particular builder are probably speaking the truth.
Look At Their Website and Portfolio
One more way to find out whether a builder is a good match for you is to look at their website and portfolio. You can learn a lot about a builder just by looking at their webpage. An experienced builder should have pictures of previous work on their website, as well as information about their business. They may have posted designs for clients to look at, information about the home-building process, and more.
Read the Contract
After meeting with builders, you may be provided with a contract to review. Read the contract thoroughly. Ask questions if you have any, and never sign a contract that contains information you can't understand or disagree with. The contract is a binding document that protects you and the builder from potential misunderstandings. Make sure you know what you are signing before you sign.
Need a Custom Home Builder in Wisconsin? Contact Sugar Creek Homes Today
At Sugar Creek Homes, we're committed to ensuring that our clients enjoy a streamlined, low-stress home-building process. With a focus on customer service and nearly 20 years in the business, we're proud to be a home builder in the state of Wisconsin. To learn more about building your new home with Sugar Creek Homes, contact us to make an appointment for an initial meeting and consultation.