Homeownership is the foundation of the American Dream and with dwindling inventory across the country many potential buyers are breaking the barrier into building the homes they can’t find on the market. This isn’t a task to enter into lightly, there’s plenty of horror stories to be found about buyers being scammed or having contractors walk away in the middle of the job whether they’ve been paid or not.
Due to the lack of inventory any good builder is going to have a pretty hefty pipeline and likely not enough help to keep up with the demand so it’s important to do a lot of research on your own before venturing into this territory.
It’s a good idea to start by collecting photos of home and features you’d like to include and a budget you know you can work with. Every feature you want, or need will go back to that budget.
The best way to find a good builder is by word of mouth but the NH Home Builders Association also keeps a full list of builders that you can choose from. As tempting as it may be, don’t lock yourself in with the first builder who says they can work with your budget and get started right away, that could be a red flag. If they really are a good builder, why are they readily available? Talk with several different builders and really listen to their feedback about your design, budget, and timeline. Ask them for several references and photos of their work.
It goes without saying that you should do your own background work on liability insurance, etc. Find out if they guaranty their work, a good Contractor will stand behind their work for one year after completion and handle problems that may arise during the project such as weather or loss of their own staff. Find out what, if any, trade associations they may be members of. Contractors that are members of the NH Builders Association tend to be more reputable, educated and stay on top of their work and design trends.
It’s important not to just choose the lowest bidder, do your homework then analyze the information to ensure you choose the builder best suited to work for you. Low bidders often don’t complete projects or cut corners to save money. Make the best investment in your largest asset and choose a qualified builder that meets your needs.