How to Choose a Builderfacebook

The following information is a summary of hints on how to select a builder. For more details on this topic and others related to purchasing a home, visit the For Consumers section at NAHB.org.

To select a builder, begin by thinking about yourself. What kind of customer are you? If you have purchased or built other homes, recall which aspects of those experiences you enjoyed most - and least. What would you like to repeat? Avoid?

Beginning Your Search…

Your search begins by discovering who is building in the area where you want to live. Start with preliminary list of candidates from a variety of sources.

  • Florida builders are required to have a license. Check to make sure their license is active.
  • Our website can provide names of companies who are members of the Builders Association of North Central Florida in its
    Directory of Members.
  • Scan advertising in newspapers. Listen to ads on radio or television. And search the internet. Some builders rely on referrals
    and do not advertise. Talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers who have recently built a home.
  • Area real estate professionals, familiar with the new home construction, can offer builders’ names and insights into quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Drive around. Directional and entry signs will call your attention to communities under construction.
  • Ask for references from the builder of people he/she has built for and call them.

Narrowing Your List….

Look closely at each builders’ finished work and work in progress. Think about quality. Your definition of quality is unlikely to match anyone else’s exactly. Identify the specific characteristics you equate with the quality. Consider aesthetics, function, maintenance needs, and environmental impact.

  • MODELS. Look carefully, then return to those you like and look again. Sit in each room, stand in every corner. Sit on the floor and look up. Listen to sounds that carry through out the home. Notice how doors and windows fit. Notice wood trim installation, and wall
    coverings.. Examine the exterior.
  • OCCUPIED HOMES. Custom builders are less likely to have model homes. They can often arrange appointments for you toview an occupied home their company built.
  • HOMES UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Even builders who have model homes seldom offer a sample of each floor plan, but you may be able to tour homes under construction to experience a life-size example. Seeing homes at the frame, mechanical,insulation, and drywall stages offers an opportunity to see the quality inside the walls.

Meet your Builder…

Ask about the things that are important to you. Ask to meet the person who would be in charge of building your home. Think of this meeting as interviewing a company. Look at the floor plans and talk about the home you want. How well does this company listen? Are the builders’ suggestions and comments helpful and relevant? Are your questions answered clearly and completely? Remember that your relationship with the builder will continue through the warranty period, so choose someone with whom you will be comfortable for the long term.

Other Helpful Resources

Resources for Consumers

Home Buyers Dictionary

How to make a "Green" Home