How to Choose a Home Builder
Deciding on how to choose a home builder can overwhelming. Saskatoon is home to dozens of skilled builders. Like any other industry, there are also some you are best to avoid. While you’ll likely start by reading Google reviews, but there are a number of other things to contemplate.
Here are 6 critical factors to consider when selecting a builder for your home:
Use the Top-Down Approach
When choosing a home builder, some people start at the bottom and work their way up. It sounds like a bad idea and it generally is. Most people don’t even realize they are doing it. Many prospective new home owners will seek out a multitude of builders and ask only about the cost to build a home. Once they have collected their information, they meet with the builders presenting the lowest prices and select a builder from there. In this scenario, you risk settling for less – which is not a great way to start your homebuilding journey! It may sound cliché, but it’s true – you get what you pay for.
A better approach is to start with the best builder all around and bring out your yard stick. You’re better off finding the best builders you can and determining if they’re a good match based on your personal needs in regards to location, timing, price and any other factors that are important to you. The top-down approach is the way to go if you want to avoid second-guessing your decision.
Look for Proven Quality
Let’s be honest, EVERY home builder says they build high quality homes (yes, we do, too!). It is critical to ensure that your home builder isn’t all talk and no action. Ask them how they prove they build homes to the highest standards.
Some of ways you can verify their quality include:
- Ask them to show you what kind of quality controls/checks are in place that go above and beyond just relying on the trades doing a good job.
- Ask the home builder about their new home warranty claims record. Have they had claims against them? What was the ruling on the claims?
- Talk to the trades. If you know anyone in the residential construction industry, ask them about the reputation of the home builder you are researching. Saskatoon is a small city. Often the trades know who the good quality builders are.
We like to call this the ‘love factor’. Love might be a bit strong of a word, but regardless – you’ll want to investigate the builder’s reputation in the community. While google reviews can offer some insight, you’ll want to seek out other sources, too. Ask your builder if they can provide testimonials or let you speak with a previous client. Ask your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours if they have heard of the builder and if they have any opinions.
Remember Home Building is a Service
Construction of your new home obviously plays a big role in the overall journey. However, some people fail to realize that they should be looking at their new home project as a package deal – with both a product and a service being offered.
When you choose a homebuilder, you’re entering into a long-term relationship with the builder. Don’t stop at pricing, finishes and square footage. The service you receive is just as important as your new home. Ask about how they deliver high-quality service before, during, and after construction is complete. Services to inquire about include: design, finishing selection, construction and warranty services.
Remember, you’re not just buying a home – you’re buying a package of services that can help simplify and streamline your whole home building experience.
It is important to choose a home builder that is transparent. When it comes to questions about cost and what they cover, your home builder should be an open book.. Make sure you know exactly what is included in the quote and in your new home. We often hear of builders providing little details in a quote and the homeowners assume they are getting what they want. This can result in skyrocketing costs and/or finishing details that are lower quality than expected.
Be sure to ask about:
- Allowances: are they appropriate for what you want in the home?
- Detailed specifications: Are you given a full list of the home specs?
- GST: Is it included in the price, or do you have to pay GST on top of the quote for your home?
Listen to your gut
Above all else, your decision should feel right for you. We suggest you tour through one or more of the builder’s homes to get a feel for the quality, atmosphere, and style. You can also evaluate what your personal experience has been like in your interactions with the builder. What does your gut tell you after you piece all of the information together?
There is no shortage of skilled home builders in Saskatoon. A great place to begin your search is the Saskatoon Home Builders Association. There are also fly-by-night home builders, and some who focus on quantity over quality. It is important to be able to identify the dedicated and professional companies that are building homes for the right reasons.
Your home is a significant investment. Choosing a home builder deserves your time an attention. The pay off for the time you take in making this decision will be finding the perfect fit – ensuring at the end, you love coming home.