Looking to remodel or build a new home? Looking for a contractor? Not sure what questions to ask them? Here’s 10 questions to ask your potential builder no matter how simple or complex the scope of the project. These questions will give you a better understanding of the building process, as well as having expectations set before you begin the building process.
First of all, let’s chat about how to find the right builder. A builder should be able to tell you what makes their work uniquely superior, and what sets them apart from other builders. This can be by showing you previous projects they have done, explaining what it is that sets their product apart, or having testimonies from past clients. Is the builder you are considering quick to make the sale or do they emphasize building a relationship and executing quality craftsmanship? It is important for you as the homeowner to know what you value within your home, what is important and how you use your space. All of this plays into finding the builder that is the best fit for you. Different builders offer different products, and put emphasis on different things. Making sure you align with your builder on quality, craftsmanship, and design defines the experience. At Hagstrom Builder, we also believe that having good chemistry with your builder is vital to the experience. Do you naturally click with them? Do you communicate well? These are all important questions to ask yourself after meeting with a builder. Building a relationship with your builder, as well as the job supervisor, can define the entire experience. What sets Hagstrom Builder apart is that in building and remodeling homes it’s done on the foundation of our motto: No Shortcuts. Ever. and Impacting Families.
When a business owner is looking to hire a new staff member, asking a potential employee for a resume is expected for any company looking to invest in a new employee. It is equally, if not more important to require the same for the person building your home. You’ll want to see past projects in order to see the craftsmanship, quality of work, and if the work aligns with your design aesthetic. Having references also gives you the opportunity to see how past families have been impacted. This then plays into building a strong relationship with your builder, making the whole building process more enjoyable for all.
An essential part of the process of selecting a builder is ensuring that your builder holds a current contractors license, follows the city permitting process, and holds all necessary insurances. We’ve all heard about the stories of builders disappearing into the night with the client’s money and the work not being completed. Checking all these boxes avoids running into that issue. This also shows a different level of initiative to your builder, as well as your own attention to detail. Verifying this information isn’t the fun part of hiring a builder, but for your own protection it is an important step that must not be skipped. A builder with an established reputation will not hesitate to provide you with this information. At Hagstrom Builder, we welcome the opportunity to share our long history in this industry and believe building trust with our clients is an important part of the building process.
Establishing a reliable method of communication between you and the builder is essential. Whether this be phone calls, emails, or an occasional text, setting communication expectations early on is essential for a positive building experience. Will there be weekly meetings? Who should you email for updates? How will you be notified of any issues? Expressing your communication preference before the building process begins will make for simpler communication if any issues shall arise. Setting communication expectations early on is vital to the satisfaction of both the client, and the builder. Communication is the key in building a strong relationship with your builder, so their methods and willingness to consistently communicate is an easy way for a builder to stand out. If they seem hesitant to assure you that there will be consistent communication, take it as a red flag. The Hagstrom Builder team recognizes that communication is a key component to a positive home building or remodeling experience. This is why we put such an emphasis on building a strong relationship with our customers, so we can continue impacting families.
Cost, quality, and established relationships are the factors a builder should be using when choosing the subcontractors for your project. Are certain trades better for your style of home? What are their reasons for selecting them? Are you able to have any input on said trades? These are the questions that should be on your mind throughout the bid process. Cost, quality, and established relationships hold equal weight in how they will impact a project. In the estimating phase, builders will often use the lowest subcontractor bid to win a project, but there will be costs later on if the quality needs to be fixed multiple times. This can become problematic and more costly once the project is in motion. Make sure you’re aware of the builder’s plans and approve of them before they put them into action. If you have subcontractor preferences, communicate them early on, as well as ask for the builder’s input. This is a way to help your builder understand your priorities on quality and pricing moving forward!
Understanding the financial process of your project is vital to the building process. It is important to make sure you and your builder are clear on your budget expectations as well as payment early on in the process! This will avoid a lot of stress to have this clearly laid out before the project is underway.
Knowing the rudimentary schedule for your project is essential, and this goes beyond merely knowing the expected end date. A good builder will communicate frequently and effectively to notify you of your project’s progress, as well as be open to you checking in on the project as it is happening.
This is every bit as important as getting to know the person who runs the company. The job supervisor will be directing the work on your project from start to finish. Many clients get to know their job supervisor quite well, since they spend so much time making sure your project gets done well. Building a relationship with your job supervisor makes the process a more positive experience for both the client, and the builder. This is a great opportunity to ask what involvement the owner of the company will have in your project. Will they be on-site daily? Weekly? At all? Understanding these things early on is vital for understanding the process, as well as having expectations set from early on.
Not all companies offer guarantees, and if they don’t, consider this a red flag. This is why the question should always be asked. You have nothing to lose by asking it but you potentially have a lot to gain. This again helps set expectations early on, as well as helps you better understand your builder.
This question is surprisingly important, especially when living in a climate like Minnesota’s. The builders that construct energy efficient homes can stand to save you thousands of dollars in the future. If having an energy efficient home is important to you, make sure to communicate this early on in the process!