Building Construction

5 Pro Tips for Choosing a Building Contractor for Your Home

how to choose a contractor to build a house

how to choose a contractor to build a house

There are tons of building contractors available for hire. As long as you’re willing to pay, there will always be someone willing to work.

When it comes to your home, you need a project that brings to life all your imaginations and hopes for an ideal living space for you and your family.

You don’t want to hire just anyone but the right one.

Likewise, you need a contractor that will bring your construction vision(s) to life and make the entire process easy and hitch-free.

The tips that we shall discuss below will help you identify the perfect building contractor. They’ll navigate you through the whole process, helping you make your final choice and earning you a long-term contractor if you intend to venture into the building construction business in the future.


How to Choose a Reliable Building Contractor

1. Make Up Your Mind on Time

You should not wait until you have started DIY-ing the project to decide you need a building contractor. The earliest time to start searching for a building contractor to hire is now.

It’s admirable that you want to complete the project yourself or with as minimal help as possible. However, it is an intensive process that requires professional know-how.

You are paying your building contractor for the skills they have learned and honed over the years. That is their ability to be far-sighted, easily predict sticky situations early into the project, and step up to the challenge that arises. They will also identify things that can prove detrimental to the project's success that you are oblivious about.

None of these are things that an hour or two on the internet can give to you. You get value for what you pay for, especially when you pay the right person for the job. That is why this article exists, to ensure that you make the right choice.


2. Exhaust Your Options

Resources are scarce but equally abundant. You just have to put in effort to acquire them. The same applies to manpower. Seek as many sources as possible, and gather as many prospects as you can find.

Start from those around you, then widen your search. Referrals from people you trust are by far one of the most reliable sources of contractors. The first person to consider is one who has a clear picture of your aspirations for the home. Your architect fits the bill perfectly. They put the image you have of your home on paper, so they probably have a clearer grasp of what it will take than anyone else.

And if you are not their first client, they most likely have a sizeable number of trusted building contractors that they can recommend.

Also, tell your loved ones, neighbors, co-workers that you need a building contractor. Give them an idea of the project and let them know you're open to referrals and recommendations. They most likely know one or more people who fit the bill. Gather them all into a list. 

While you await additional referrals, go to the internet and use your specifications as a guide to search for prospective contractors for hire. Your specifications could include their proximity to you, the kind of project you need them for (in this regard, your home), and other things peculiar to you.

There are many reputable sites to conduct your search, and in a short time, you should have a sizeable list.


3. Make your pick

This stage is where the real work begins. With your exhaustive list at hand, you have to start screening to see which contractor best fits your needs as a homeowner. Below are some strategies to make your pick.

how to find a contractor to build a house

Be Systematic

Before you delve in, it is best to put your options out in a systematic order to make the process as thorough, effective, and seamless as possible.

Create a list of non-negotiables and negotiables. Also, highlight your goals and anticipations for the project.

Curate a questionnaire by using your notes and lists as guides. The questionnaire should target discovering the candidates that can properly execute your demands in terms of the functionality and aesthetics of your home.

It should also target their suitability in terms of your budget, temperament, work ethics, and others that assure you a hitch-free working relationship and the project's overall success.

You will need your lists and questionnaire throughout the search process for your ideal contractor.


Don't Cheat Experience

A building contractor with experience under his belt is an invaluable asset in building your dream home. It's not necessarily determined by how many years they have spent working. Instead, it could be the number of projects they have under their belt, especially projects similar to yours in size, style, or budget.

Doing this will assure you of their competence, and you will find they can advise you on areas you might have overlooked or areas that would add more perspective to the project.

They might also have connections that would make some processes less tedious, thereby saving you time and money.


Start Sorting

You can do this by informing your selected contractors about your offer and asking them to send their bids or proposals. Doing this allows you to cross out obvious misfits among your candidates easily.

You can then have phone interviews with the shortlisted candidates and assess their suitability further. You should have a considerably shorter list by the end of the calls.

After that, arrange for the shortlisted candidates to have a one-on-one physical meeting with you.


4. Never Lose Focus of Your Reason for the Selection

how to choose a contractor to build a house

This stage requires you to be merciless because, at this point, you have the best candidates, and you have to choose the one that best fits your profile.

Remember, your ultimate goal is to find the building contractor that can best bring your dream home to life, someone you can easily work with, and ultimately, the one with whom the project’s overall success seems the most achievable. Never lose focus of this.

Before you meet, inform them beforehand to come with proposed budgets for the house, work contracts, terms, and conditions if they have any.

You should also allow them to sell their brand. Give them room to pitch and note without bias, every single detail. Let them show you that they have properly understood your vision for your home and are the best person to actualize it.

Doing this allows you to assess their communication skills, professionalism, and familiarity with the job at hand.

In addition, you can prepare possible questions to ask them. Leave no stone unturned. Let them know your concerns and pose questions that test their ability to handle unpleasant and unprecedented events.

Ask about their team and seek insight into how they source them and if they are reliable. Talk about damages and deadlines. Express your expectations and see if they have clear outlines and the capability and willingness to meet them.

Furthermore, talk about money and the budget. Break it down and speak about payment expectations. Go back and forth on the technicalities and note them all. Ensure you both align financially and the interests of all parties are adequately protected.


4. Play Investigator

The final pro tip for choosing a building contractor for your home is to go a step further in ascertaining that the person you selected is a trustworthy individual by doing a background check.

You need to investigate to confirm they are who they say they are. Below are some points to help you scale through it all.

Follow what Your Candidate Gave You

If they say that they are licensed, check with the board of licensed building contractors. If they have indicated references, follow up on the references. Also, if they have attached contact details of previous clients, speak to them.

Check their websites if they have any contracts reviewed. Collate the response(s) and compare. You can also invite your partner or friend to give their opinions. It gives a fresh perspective and ensures you're not being biased.


Trust Your Guts

All successful investigators do. You know what your visions are for your home. You've personally interviewed your finalists. And you've taken into consideration a second opinion. All you have to do is trust your instincts and go for the candidate that made the most impression.

After properly assessing, arrive at your final decision and give your winning contractor the good news.


Take Away

Building a home is not an easy feat; likewise, picking the right team or contractor for the job. The tips above should ease your path to choosing the right building contractor for your home. Use them when you need a gentle nudge to get started and brace yourself for a fulfilling home construction project.


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