Des Moines Home and Remodeling Show

Home and Remodeling Show News

Your resource for information on this year's Home and Remodeling Show.

Choosing a Builder

Selecting the person who will build or remodel your home isn’t a choice to be made lightly.

Making the right decision is important financially, of course, but it also affects your peace of mind. You should seek a positive relationship, a partnership in which you and your builder communicate well and trust each other. After all, your goal is a home you can enjoy for many years to come.

Local building experts say the best way to end up a satisfied customer is to do some prep work up front. Check with the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines to see if the builders you are considering are members, and be sure your builder has a contractor’s license and appropriate insurance. Ask people whose homes you like for the names of the builders they used, but keep in mind that some builders specialize in only one type of house. If you taste runs to contemporary, for example, the person who built your neighbor’s Colonial might not be a good fit.

Next, check out other examples of the builder’s work. Tim VanderPloeg, who owns a design and drafting business in Des Moines, says reputable builders should be happy to give you the names and addresses of former clients. After you take a look at those homes, follow up by asking the homeowners how they would rate their building experience.

You’ll want to get in estimate of the cost of your project, and here VanderPloeg warns, “Don’t do too much shopping around.” It takes a lot of time for builders to prepare detailed cost estimates, and if they see they are just one of many builders being surveyed, they’ll be less likely to put in the time it takes to get an accurate estimate.

As in most relationships, good communication is key, VanderPloeg says. Don’t expect your builder to read your mind. If you yearn for a certain level of elegance (crown modeling, designer drawer pulls, expensive countertop material), put your wish in writing before the first shovel hits the dirt.

Adding “surprises” as you go along guarantees shock and disappointment when you see your final bill.

It’s best to iron out all details of payment beforehand, says Colin King, co-owner of K and V Homes. Most builders give a one-year warranty on their work, King says, Find out about the subcontractors they use, he advises, and ask about how easy it will be to makes changes along the way.

Make sure you feel comfortable discussing items that concern you during the building process, and ask your builder’s prior clients how quick the builders were responding to calls. You are establishing a relationship that could last from four to eight months, sometimes even longer, so do what you can to choose a builder you will enjoy working with.

Finally, if you have drawings, pictures and descriptions of custom features that are a must for your new home or renovation, look to see if your prospective builder has dealt with that level of customization in prior projects. Not all builders choose to work on highly customized projects, King points out. Some prefer building house “on specs” instead.

Builders, architects and designers at the HBA of Greater Des Moines want to make sure you enjoy the process of building your homes as much as you enjoy living in it once it’s finished.

This entry was posted in Remodeling Tips and tagged , . Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.