Choosing the Right Builder for You

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choosing a builderI’ve been in the real estate and new homes industry for more than 10 years, so it’s no surprise that many of my friends and colleagues come to me for advice when it comes to buying new construction. One of the most important aspects of buying a new home is the builder. They are the ones that make the entire process happen, so don’t just settle for the first builder that comes your way!

How do you pick the right one? Well, after working with many builders in the past, here are some qualities I look for in a good builder.

• Available: Answers their phone or is in the community regularly to address any of your concerns.
• Communicative: Follows up with you on the progress and alerts you of any hiccups. This is especially important when building a custom home.
• Experienced: Look into their background and ask about their history as a builder. Generally, experienced builders have a portfolio of communities. Also, some builders win awards for their work, which definitely gives them a leg up.
• Active: Your builder should definitely be a member of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (GAHBA). As a member of the organization, they are held to a higher set of standards. They should also be active in the community.
• Certified: I strongly recommend that the builder has gone through the Certified Professional Home Builder (CPHB) program offered by the GAHBA. With this simple certification, a builder proves himself as a professional on many levels. Certified builders must participate in continuing education, provide references, adhere to a code of ethics, and even maintain a positive Better Business Bureau rating. Ask your builder if they are CPHB.
• On the cutting edge: Experienced home builders generally keep up with the trends that are going on right now. Whether it’s the types of features (no more laminate countertops) or general building practices (green and energy efficient construction).
• Include a warranty: Professional home builders generally include two warranties that can make you a happy buyer while easing your stress: The 1 year builder warranty and the 2-10 home warranty. The 1 year builder warranty allows you to call the builder with any issues with the home. The 2-10 home warranty is a 2 year mechanical and 10 year structural warranty.
• Attitude: Make sure that your builder is friendly, upbeat and treats you with respect. Remember, they are providing you with a service and building your home, you don’t need to put up with a bad attitude.

Don’t be afraid to interview these guys. If they can’t sit still for a little while, they obviously don’t need your business. In today’s market, there’s always another builder available around the corner.

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One Response to “Choosing the Right Builder for You”

  1. Nancy Meeks Says:

    As of July 1, 2008, the state of Georgia requires all building contractors to be licensed in order to pull any construction permits. The Secretary of State’s office administers licensing in Georgia. More info at http://sos.georgia.gov/plb/contractors/default.htm.

    The Certified Professional Home Builder program’s requirements go above and beyond what the state requires for licensing. CPHB program requirements and participating builders and remodelers can be found at http://www.cphb.org.

    As Michael points above, interview any builder, remodeler or trade contractor you are considering working with. There is no substitute for doing your homework.

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