Selecting a Builder for Your New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles
Sequim Home Builders and Port Angeles Home Builders
Are you building a new home or a custom home in Sequim or Port Angeles? If you've decided to build your next home, this article answers the question, "What is the next step."
Author Rick Anderson is the founder of Anderson Homes, LLC, and with over 25 years of experience he shares his insights in this six part series to guide you in this exciting process.
Part One of Selecting a Builder
Once you've made the decision to build rather than to buy a home, the next thing you need to do is find a builder who can make it all happen. There are many qualities to seek out when selecting a "good builder," and although the characteristics of a builder are sometimes difficult to evaluate, they are important.
First and foremost, you will want someone who can successfully manage a team of craftsmen skilled at constructing a quality home.
Because buying or building a home is such a considerable investment, you want a builder who makes you feel comfortable. Building your home from the ground up is an emotional experience. You should feel at ease asking questions, and confident that there will be open communication throughout the entire process. A builder should be honest and fair, with the ability to listen, and the willingness to be a partner with you in solving problems along the way.
Building a New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles, the second article in a series on Selecting a Builder by Rick Anderson.
Part Two of Selecting a Builder
Thoroughly investigate at least three to four references for each builder you consider. The references can be local real estate agents or mortgage lenders, but should include people for whom the builder has completed construction of a house.
Simply phoning and asking a few questions is not enough. Arrange to visit the homes of references so you can check for signs of good construction.
Spend time with the references, either in person or on the telephone, to discuss the builder's honesty, patience, ability to listen and problem solving skills. Be sure to do this when the builder is not around; his presence may inhibit the homeowners from giving you the candid answers you need.
Specific questions you should pose to references include:
- Did the builder clearly define the scope of work to be completed on the home and site?
- Did the builder provide a project manual listing all the components to be included in the construction of the home?
- Did the project run smoothly? If not, what went wrong?
- Did the job finish on schedule? If not, what held it up?
- Were the cost estimates accurate? If they went over, where and why?
- Was the builder helpful in solving budget or layout problems?
- Did he make helpful suggestions or bring up new ideas? Were his explanations clear and logical?
- Was he frequently present on the job?
- Have you had any major problems with the house during the time you've been occupying it? If there as been a problem, was the builder efficient in answering your calls and following up with you?
- Ask the owners if they would buy another house from this builder.
Ask your prospective builders if they belong to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or any other national or local organizations. Then you can check with that organization to see if the builder is a member in good standing. Keep in mind that there are many good builders who choose not to affiliate themselves with any industry association. Your decision on which builder to select should not be based on this type of credential alone.
Building a New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles, the third article in a series on Selecting a Builder by Rick Anderson.
Part Three of Selecting a Builder
Match the Builder to Your House
Match the Builder to Your House
Look for a builder who constructs the type and size of house you want built. Builders often have areas of expertise. If you want to build a house from stock plans for $100,000, don't talk to a custom builder who designs high-end $400,000 homes.
Although it is difficult for a good builder to meet all the requirements that are demanded of him in the industry, it is even more difficult for a charlatan. There is nothing wrong with hiring new builders, but this may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to build your own home. Choose someone with proven experience. Ask the builder if he lives in the community. Is his company local? What quality control systems does the builder have in place? What assurance does the client have that the builder is paying the suppliers and sub-contractors who provide products and services for the new home?
Building a New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles, the fourth article in a series on Selecting a Builder by Rick Anderson.
Part Four of Selecting a Builder
On the Job Site
On the Job Site
Ask the builder how often he'll be on the job site. And verify his answer with his references. You deserve and are paying for the builder's time and attention. Ideally, he should be on your job site every day. In some cases, his presence two or three times a week is acceptable. If the builder's daily presence is important to you, experts suggest selecting a builder with a small company (fewer than 20 employees) who can be on the job all the time because your project will be a major one for him.
Signs of Roof Leaks
Do the roof shingles lay flat? Leaks can be revealed from discolorations and stains in the interior ceilings or walls caused by water seeping through cracks and into the house.
Signs of Good Construction
When you walk through the house of a "reference," you may need to look for signs of good building construction. these are often not obvious. At first you may feel embarrassed having to ask the homeowners you are visiting if you can open their windows or doors, or look in the closets, but remember that when you build your own house, you are making the investment of a lifetime. Who you choose to be your builder will affect the quality of your life for man years to come. That alone is worth taking a closer look.
Building a New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles, the fifth article in a series on Selecting a Builder by Rick Anderson.
Part Five of Selecting a Builder
Check that the walls are straight. Find an area or corner, typically in the kitchen or bath, where a row of floor tile or a patterned sheet of vinyl flooring meets a wall. If the last row of the tile or vinyl patterning that is closest to the wall runs uniformly parallel to the wall, chances are good that the wall is straight. If the tile strip is wider at one end and narrower at the other, then the wall may not be straight.
Appliances and Fixtures
Does the toilet flush properly? Is it evenly set on its base? Check the faucet fixtures to see if they are sealed tightly.
Quality of the Paint Job
Check the quality of the paint job. If the builder does the job right, he does it right everywhere, according to one expert. Look at the backside of doors. Step inside a walk-in closet and make sure the door casing on the inside is caulked and painted properly.
Building a New Home or Custom Home in Sequim or Port Angeles, the sixth article in a series on Selecting a Builder by Rick Anderson.
Part Six of Selecting a Builder
Windows and Doors
Test the windows and doors. Pull the windows up and down, and push the doors open and closed. Do the windows go all the way up? Do they close and seal properly? Are the cracks around the door uniformly spaced to indicate that the door is hung well and the doorway is standing properly? Interior doors should open and close easily. But the tighter the house is constructed, the better it will hold up against heat, cold and other weather conditions--and the harder it will be to close the exterior door. Because it is fitted with weather stripping and is meant to be a protection against climatic elements, the exterior door shouldn't close with the push of a fingertip.
Level Countertops and Tight Seams
Do objects on countertops remain stationary or upright? or do they roll or topple because the counter isn't level? Tight seams on countertops will prevent dirt from building up in them, and the countertop materials from being damaged with daily use. If laminate is not properly seamed, for example, it will absorb water and swell.
Cabinetry and Woodwork
Check to see if the cuts and patterns are clean, consistent and well-detailed on the moldings and trims. Are the baseboards set evenly against the floor with no gaps? Do the cabinet doors and drawers open and close smoothly?
Ask the homeowner about their heating bills. Have any energy efficient features been installed? Are there drafts from the windows?
The builder should offer a comprehensive written warranty. A financially sound builder will offer a quality product at a fair price and will remain in business throughout the warranty period. Also, quality builders will be in the best position to do business with the best sub-contractors and suppliers.
Call Rick Anderson today for an appointment to discuss building your dream home in Sequim or Port Angeles. His phone number is 360-452-4641.