Moving into a brand-new home is an exciting event, but also a time where it pays to conduct your due diligence up front. Whether you’re a first-time or repeat buyer, the following questions will help provide important clues as to whether your new home builder of choice is worth the commitment.
- How long have you been in business?
Building high-quality, durable homes that cater to your unique lifestyle needs is a hard-earned skill built up through time and experience. Before committing to a home builder with a deposit check, do your research on how long they’ve been in business—and how successfully.
- How do you cater to local homebuyers?
Even if the builder’s headquarters are 2,000 miles away, your building representative should have knowledge of your local area. This question gauges whether they’ve been a stable and interested builder in the region.
- What types of floor plans do you build?
The more experience the builder has with varying styles—ranch, two-story, even multigenerational plans—the greater your options as you determine what’s important to you. If the type of floor plan you’re looking for isn’t available at the community you’re eyeing, ask if it’s built at a nearby neighborhood. You might discover an even better fit for your lifestyle (and your commute).
- May I select from a variety of design options, such as kitchen cabinetry or tile styles?
A good new home builder knows that buyers want quality standard features that don’t need to be upgraded, while also desiring the freedom to personalize key items. Find out what level of personalization is offered. Don’t assume all builders provide the same choices. They don’t!
- Do you offer quick move-in and to-be-built homes?
Seek out a builder with an attractive range of options that works with your moving timeline.
- Do you offer energy-efficient features?
New homes are generally more energy efficient than older homes, but builders vary in what features they offer. Ask if you can get projected HERS® ratings to help you compare homes on an apples-to-apples basis. HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System, a system created by RESNET®, which has become an industry standard for rating home energy efficiency.
- What is your warranty policy?
One sure way of knowing whether a builder is truly dedicated to your satisfaction is to find out if they offer a warranty.
- What does your post-closing follow-up entail?
As with the builder’s warranty, it’s also important to learn what services are available after you close. For example, receiving follow-up visits after you’ve moved in goes a long way toward ensuring your long-term satisfaction.
- How long will it take to build my new home?
If you have a certain move-in date in mind, this question is probably one of the first you’ll ask. If you’re on a short timeline, consider the advantages of pre-constructed spec home. If your timeline is flexible, selecting a floor plan and homesite and building from the ground up is a wonderful option. The estimated build time will vary by region, season and size of the home.
- Do you offer services besides homebuilding, such as financing or insurance?
Some builders offer more than just the physical house, providing a comprehensive one-stop shopping experience. Be sure to ask if financial services are offered, such as through an affiliate or subsidiary. For example, Richmond American provides mortgage services through HomeAmerican Mortgage Corporation and insurance through American Home Insurance Agency.
- After I move in, is there a clear channel of communication for emergency or warranty questions?
Choosing a builder that seeks a continuous relationship with customers is a reassuring sign that you’re in good hands. If you aren’t provided with the name of a specific contact, make sure there is a phone number or email address dedicated to addressing questions and concerns.
Gathering pertinent information at the outset will help you establish a good relationship with a trusted builder, freeing you to enjoy the homebuying process for what it should be—a wonderful and gratifying life milestone. So, ask away!
RESNET® has developed the HERS® index to indicate the comparative efficiencies of homes. It is no guarantee that energy efficiencies or costs or savings will be achieved. The vendor registered trademarks set forth above are the property of the owner, who is not affiliated with, connected to or sponsored by the Richmond American Homes companies.