Some of the best builders rely on referrals and do not advertise. Talk to friends, relatives and the folks at work who have recently built homes.
Area real estate agents, familiar with new home construction, can offer names and insights into quality and customer satisfaction.
Drive around. Check out various stages of construction. Visit communities on a Saturday morning and talk to any neighbors outside. Explain that you are thinking about having this builder build your home and could you ask a few questions. If they are happy, or even if they aren’t, they will most likely let you know.
After narrowing your builder list down, ask for customer references. Follow through with these references. Establish how this company treats its customers. Ask about warranty work and if a ten-year insurance protection plan is offered.
Check with the City of Abilene Building Inspection Department http://www.abilenetx.com. ALL contractors are required to be bonded. At this time, there is no builder/contractor license required.
Check with the Better Business Bureau http://www.abilene.bbb.org. Although, they do not recommend or evaluate, they can share information other customers have taken the time to report. Remember that a lack of negative reports is not a guarantee.
Meet with the builder. Ask about the things that are important to you. Look at floor plans and talk about the home you want. How well does this company listen? Are the builder’s suggestions and comments helpful and relevant? Are your questions answered clearly and promptly. Remember that your relationship will continue through the warranty period, so choose someone with whom you will be comfortable for the long term.
Does the builder schedule a pre-construction conference to review everything before starting construction? Are you invited at routine points to tour your home and have the builder’s undivided attention to discuss questions?
What is the policy on change orders?
Read the documents. Review the contract, warranty and warranty standards. Note the amount of detail. This same attention to detail usually flows through the construction of the home. How does this company determine a delivery date? Many factors outside the builder’s control can cause delays. Builders who promise a firm date too early often disappoint their buyers; but every builder can have a system for keeping you informed of the targeted delivery date.