Of course everyone wants the best but ultimately the decision in choosing a builder rests in how much design input you would like to have, what land you have bought and how much you have to spend.
Start with budget, you simply can't choose a builder outside your budget. Get a clear idea of your finances and find out from a bank or lender how much you can afford. This will determine the type of build available to you.
1. Project vs Custom builders
Project Home Builders typically have a library of designs to choose from, and display homes you can visit to get a good feel for their design and quality of inclusions. Look at the floor plans first, before you start looking at the features. Visit a few displays and talk with the builder about the options available, what you need and what you can afford.
Some Project Home Builders limit the amount of customisation options available. For example, you might be able to modify the kitchen layout, however not extend the master ensuite. Make sure you discuss any customisation you require early in the process to find out if there are extra costs involved and if what you want to do is possible in that particular plan.
Many Project Home Builders have limitations on what land you can build on, especially sloping blocks. Check with the builder about site costs to prepare the land and extra costs.
Custom Home builders create a one-of-a-kind unique floor plan which suits your exact needs. The options available are a lot broader and you will be a lot more involved in the process if that's what you want. Typically custom home builds are only restricted on your budget and building limitations.
Check into the builder’s past work. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder for references that you can call yourself.
You can also check review sites like Product Review who have thousands of customer reviews about new home builders.
Get a good idea of not just the builders great reviews, but how they handle mistakes. No one is perfect, mistakes can happen, but there is no excuse for poor communication.
3. Credentials & Warranty
Before you start into discussions with a builder make sure your builder is adequately licensed and insured.
Check their cover of warranty insurance to cover defective and incomplete work. Pay particular attention to the duration of specific types of coverage. Your builder is obligated to provide you with a defects or maintanence period following the handover to give you an opportunity to call out concerns and have them repaired by the builder. This can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months or longer, check the building contract. Warranty periods cover major structural defects and vary from state to state generally around 6 years. Registered builders must also have domestic building insurance for all work over $16,000 to cover you if they go insolvent or disappear. But this insurance only gives you limited cover.
4. Building Inspections
Although builders have to employ surveyors to do allocated building inspections throughout the build, these can be limited to only certain stages. At Homeshelf we always recommend employing your own building inspector to make an independent inspection of every build stage to ensure your peace of mind that everything is up to code.