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5 things you should know before signing a contract so your future home doesn’t turn into a nightmare project. We shopped around and spoke to a lot of contractors before committing to one and the following bits of information were helpful in finding the right fit.
First off, before talking to potential contractors, it’s a great idea to ask around in local groups and with friends/family to see if they recommend or don’t recommend someone and then create a list of questions so you’re prepared for your calls.
- What’s included?
This is a big question but you’ll want to find out what kind of standards your contractor includes in their cost to build. If you tell them you want standard or basic finishes, what does that boil down to? (crown moulding, style of interior doors, number of can lights, are the shelves in closets/pantry wire or wood, what type of shingles do we get, etc).
- Who Handles Permitting and Site Supervision?
You’ll want to know right from the start if your contractor will handle all the permitting for the entire project. Get specifics of what permits will be required for your particular build and lot.
We didn’t know that we were required to have a driveway approval from our state’s department of transportation since our property is directly off a state maintained road.
Who will supervise the build and how often is the site supervisor on location? Are you allowed to visit the site whenever you want?
Be sure to ask potential contractors if they have availability for the timeframe that you want to start your build. Don’t expect to start right away either; you should be contacting contractors several months before you want to start your project. Sometimes smaller builders will only take on a set number of projects and will have a wait list.
- Best Form of Communication
Ask what the best form of communication is. If you have quick questions or need to make a decision, how should you contact your contractor? You’ll also want to know if your contractor plans to send you status reports to let you know what’s been completed or if you will need to reach out when you want to know how things are going.
Communication is a big factor and you’re spending a lot of time and money on this home so even though you won’t want to feel like a pest, you should feel comfortable being able to reach out with questions and/or concerns.
- What is a Realistic Completion Timeframe
The key word here is realistic. Should you expect your home to be built and move in ready within 6-7 months or is a year + more accurate? How much of this time should you expect to be pre-construction or permitting time? How do you handle delays caused by sub-contractors?
I hope these tips will help you in your planning stages while you prepare to start your home build.