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If you were in the market for a new car you’d never just walk into a dealership, randomly point to a car in your favorite color, and tell the salesperson, “I’ll take that one, as long as it’s in my budget.” You research makes and models, analyze features, read reviews, compare price points, and take test drives to determine which vehicles best suit your needs and meet both your budget and checklist of requirements. Choosing a custom home builder is no different. You’ve got a lot at stake here! Take the time and effort to research your options before signing on the dotted line.
As the saying goes, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Builder A may quote an attractive price on home that Builder B can’t match on a home of similar size and quality. Dig a little deeper; is Builder A including architectural and engineering fees in the quoted price? What about the building permit, and water/sewer tap fees–are those included? These few items alone can account for as much as 4% – 7% of the cost of a home. What about the quality and types of the finishes in the home? Ask for a list of base home specifications and compare them from one builder to the next, and remember not to assume that a model home is built using the base specifications, as most are shown with upgrades. And, while it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics of the home, don’t neglect to research and compare the types of materials and craftsmanship the builder employs behind the walls.
In addition to the the quality and price-point offered by the builder, consider these non-cost-related items when choosing a contractor: