Getting Started
With a wide selection of builders in Tippecanoe County, it’s easy to see how a buyer can feel overwhelmed. Of all the decisions you’re about to make, one of the most important is choosing the right homebuilder. With so many builder options, where do you begin? Touring model homes and seeking referrals is a good start, but to really be sure you get the best value, best quality for your dollar you must become educated.
How to become an educated buyer.
Get to know a few builders.
What experience do they have? How knowledgeable are they about new technologies? What affiliations do they maintain (NAHB, BAGL, BBB, etc.)?
Define the scope of their business.
Will they help you design a home? What blueprinting and rendering services are available to you? Do they help you select a lot, secure financing, complete landscaping, etc.
Understand their bid process.
How well do they seek to understand what you expect before they offer a price? Is your specification list documented? At what point do you sign a contract? What fees are involved?
Read the fine print.
What are their specifications? Do they use allowances? Are the allowances realistic and sufficient for your desires? What’s excluded from the bid (site prep, permits, concrete, landscaping, etc.)?
Tour model homes.
Don’t get caught up in the décor. Examine the details: drywall, paint, trim, tile, insulation, HVAC, etc. Does the home design flow well; live well? Is the quality distinguishable from other homes in the neighborhood?
Seek referrals.
Contact previous clients, building inspectors, lenders and even real estate agents. Seek builder reputations for high resale values.
Know their availability.
What is their average construction time on projects similar to your desired scale? Can they start when you’re ready?
Examine jobs in progress.
Is the site clean and secure? What’s the quality level of work in process? Is work progressing steadily?
Understand how their building envelope works.
The overall efficiency of the home is a critical part of your long-term homeownership costs. Does the builder utilize new insulation technologies? Do they only use quality exterior finishes, structure reinforcing OSB, and highly efficient windows and doors? Is the heating and cooling system energy efficient, or simply baseline?
And finally, review the relationship you’ve already developed.
Are you comfortable with them? Do they listen to you? Is there a support staff to guide you through the process? Will the relationship continue long after the home is complete?