5 Ways To Check If Your Potential Home Builder Is Credible

January 17, 2018

You’ve decided you want to build your next home. First, it is best to do a little research and find a couple of promising builders who service your local area. But how can you ensure that your potential builder is credible – are they trustworthy, experienced and reliable?

How many times have you heard horror stories from family and friends about their experience renovating or building a new home? To avoid the same scenario, it is vital to find out key information about the builders that you’re interested in before deciding. Hiring a credible builder means the entire process from design to completion will be timely, cost-effective and stress free.

Here are some key things you should be looking out for when researching and engaging with your builder.

1. Ensuring your builder is licensed

This is the first question you need to ask. This may seem like a no-brainer but sometimes people get distracted by low prices and great promises. As a result, they don’t think to find out if their builder is fully registered, in the correct category. They also don’t check to make sure the builder does not have any VCAT orders or reprimands from the Building Commission.

In Victoria, builders who perform domestic building work that costs more than $10,000 must be registered with the Victorian Building Authority. To find out more about the different types of registrations and to check if your builder is licensed, visit the Victorian Building Authority’s consumer resource page.

2. Is your builder highly experienced?

There are a lot of builders across Victoria with varying degrees of experience. If you want your new home to be premium with specific design requirements, you want a builder with the expertise and experience to successfully build a high-quality home.

You want to ensure that your builder has experience building the kind of home that you are seeking. Scott Hansen, who has over 20 years’ experience in home building had this to say…

“Individuals who want to build a luxury custom home can’t hire any local builder. The builder needs to have thorough experience and expertise to be able to build a home that adheres to design specifications within a predefined cost”.

The best way to check their experience is to review their past projects and also ask to speak to previous clients about their experience before engaging the builder for your project.

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3. Adhering to a contract price

This is probably the most important factor when determining whether the builder is credible.

Beware of low prices. Low quotations can be a sign of multiple problems to come. A builder may provide their client with an amazingly low quote for the job in order to win the work. The builder will then either cut corners to try to get the job done within budget or they will raise variations for items that the client assumed were included in the quote.

This can obviously have disastrous effects on the client’s budget and whether they end up with a dream home or a nightmare that has caused them huge amounts of stress. Scott Hansen has seen this happen all too often…

“A builder may underquote a job and the client is over the moon at the low cost. The builder has done this to win the job initially, and then will try to sell the client a number of ‘must-have’ variations, which end up sky rocketing the price”.

This is another case of needing to do your homework. Make sure you talk to former clients about their experience with the builders quoting process and don’t get sucked in to thinking the cheapest quote will actually end up resulting in the cheapest finished project cost.

4. Who will be supervising the building construction?

This is extremely important as the construction supervisor or general manager of construction manages the day to day site work and ensures the builders uphold a high standard of work.

Ask the home builder directly who their supervisor is and how long they have worked in the business.

5. Ask to look at recently completed projects

If the home builder has no previous completed work for you to look at or does not want to provide details or photos, then this is a big warning sign.

Viewing their previous work gives you the opportunity to assess the quality and style of the work and see if it’s similar to what you’re looking for. You may also ask for the builder’s past client names and get references. A tip from the National Association of Home Builders is to ask the builder for the addresses of previous work and drive down to see for yourself.

“Drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing. When you talk to the builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later.”

Research and take your time!

Building your next dream home is a huge decision and an important financial investment. Make sure you do your research, ask as many questions as you need and take your time. The more you plan and prepare in the initial stages of the process, the easier the build will be and the better the end result!

Ready to take the next step and want to start discussing your dream home? Have an obligation free chat with Scott Hansen to find out more!

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