Signing a contract on the construction of a new home can be an exciting, but daunting process. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you ask the potential home builder a few questions.

Buying a pre-built house versus planning the building of a new home are two different processes. You want to know the hidden fees, what’s included, and what’s not. As simple as it sounds, the hiring of a home builder is more in-depth than you’d expect.

At first, you won’t be speaking with the builder themselves. Most of your questions will be with the builder’s sales representative. Early meetings are the time to ask all your questions. From labor to materials, and other valuable information, know what you’ll be spending your money on beforehand. Make sure you really have an image for your dream home in your mind before you get in talks with people too. Hamill Creek builds Timber Frame Homes, which are a great option for those looking for a nice wooden house.

If you’re not sure what you should be asking, don’t fret. Write these eight questions down before and ensure you are satisfied with the answers you get.

1. What’s the Final Price?

In 2017, the average cost of a new home was $360,000. The cost of your future home depends on the size, the land it occupies, and what features you choose.

Different home builders will create an evaluation based on their time and your expectations. If you consider the figure above, it costs about $136 per square foot to build a home.

Know what you can afford before agreeing to a contract and find out if this is a hard price or if it’s subject to increase throughout the process.

2. What’s the Expected Build Time?

This is one of the most important questions to ask before work begins. You want to know the expected completion date of your new house, but remember it takes time.

On average it could take anywhere from 10 to 16 months to build a home. This is dependent on a few variables: home size, production, builder skills, etc. More time means more money spent.

3. Does Your Home Builder Offer Warranty Programs?

In order to protect your investment, another one of your questions to ask a home builder should be their warranty programs.

Builders of owner-occupied new homes whether it’s single-family, townhouse, duplex, or another form should be registered with a warranty program. Builders that fail to register or maintain their registration could face fines.

Warranty coverages are limited by law to the agreed purchase price or the fair market value of the home after it’s built. You can always purchase your own warranty programs, but builders should cover you in some aspect for the first few years.

4. Do I Receive Credits for Materials/Appliances?

Consider the cost of your new home.

Does this include an appliance at X amount, but you’d prefer a different model? If your upgraded refrigerator costs $200 more than what you’re quoted at sometimes home builders offer credits for upgrades that were self-purchased.

Credits are a nice addition but don’t happen often. Don’t go into a meeting expecting credits. Most home builders won’t drop the price below the base cost.

5. Is Lot Cost Included?

A base cost covers the structure, base interior, and exterior features. What might not be included is the lot you’re building on.

Make sure you inquire about the cost of the land and if there are premium costs for specific lots if it is included. In this fine print, there are sometimes costs you can opt-out of like wider yards or windows in your basement.

6. Do You Have References?

As much as this is you selling someone on what you want, the home builder should be doing the same. Asking for previous references or build models you can tour are common questions.

It might be difficult to imagine your home on paper. If it’s similar to other homes that the builder has done before odds are you’ll have an opportunity to see a home that was built for one of their previous buyers.

Knowing whether or not these home builders are reliable is very important.

7. Can I Supply My Own Plans?

If you’ve seen previous homes completed by the home builder, but you have your own vision, ask if they take custom designs.

This will run you a bit more, but if they agree, you’ll have your own home built to your standards. The process of building a custom home is much more in-depth and involves a lot more work from you than predetermined plans.

Depending on how many choices you want to make/ your design input, choosing a custom home builder might be in your best interest.

8. Are There Major Development Plans for the Area?

There’s nothing worse than building your dream home and seeing traffic pile up around you.

Before signing the contract, ask your home builder if there are development plans for the area. Knowing if large commercial development/retailers are in the works could make or break your decision. Determining any businesses or homes that could pop up near you will also tell you a lot about how your neighborhood will develop.

These are all questions that could take years to come to fruition. Be prepared before ground breaks.

Ask the Right Questions

Before you sign your contract with a home builder, jot these questions down.

There’s a lot of steps and information that goes into the home building process. Be prepared when planning an investment for your future. These questions to ask a home builder will create an outlined plan en route to new construction.

Take the time to do your research and plan ahead for your new home.

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