When it comes time to finally hire a custom home builder in Monmouth County NJ, emotions can run high, and every decision you make will seem like a huge decision at the time. You have likely spent years or even decades saving up enough to afford that brand new home, so when it comes time to start building, you want to make sure your money will be well spent on the right builder.
While there are tons of excellent home builders out there (we can recommend several), there are also many builders with less-than-stellar reputations that should be avoided at all costs. The problem is, it’s tough for people who aren’t involved in the industry to know what to look for and what to watch out for.
That’s why we wanted to create this brief guide, to help you ensure your first experience with a NJ home builder is a positive one.
Choose a New Jersey custom home builder with a good resume and track record
This one should go without saying, but too many people seem comfortable picking a Monmouth County custom home builder based on price alone, without checking out their previous work or references. Any builder that stands behind their work should have no problem showing you some of their previous work, or putting you in touch with past clients they have worked with.
It might feel intrusive to walk up to the home of one of their previous builds and ask the owners how their experience building with them was, but lots of people are less bothered by this than you might expect. In fact, most homeowners were either so happy or so disappointed by their builder, they will be more than happy to share their experience, helping you gauge whether or not you should work with them.
Make sure they can build the type of home you’re looking for
Most home building and design companies specialize in one or a few different types of homes, and can do them well, but may have trouble with other types. For example, a builder who specializes in townhouses might not be as well prepared to build a house made mostly from brick, or an old-fashioned Victorian style home.
When interviewing and choosing a builder, make sure to be clear about what type of home you have in mind, and check to make sure that they are capable of building that type of home. Some builders might be overconfident or overly hungry for work, so ask to see examples of prior work in that style, instead just taking their word for it that they are capable.
Definitely ask for a quote, but be wary of any that seem way below market rate
Most home designers and builders in Central NJ will be more than happy to provide you with a quote, and most will want their quote to seem competitive with other builders. That’s fine, but keep in mind, a quote is just a quote, and there’s no guarantee you’ll actually be paying that amount by the time the house is completed.
You’ll probably receive a range of different quotes from several different builders, and most will be in the same ballpark range, provided you gave them all the same specs and outline for your home design. You should be careful of simply choosing the cheapest one and even more careful if one of them is much cheaper than the rest. The quote is not legally binding and some builders will offer a low quote to get your business, and then come up with many excuses to inflate the amount you pay in the end, knowing you’ll likely be too far along in the process to switch builders.
Make sure warranty terms are clear from the very beginning
The last thing you want is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, move into your brand new home, find out it’s falling apart from day 1 and have no legal recourse. All reputable builders will provide some sort of warranty or guarantee on their work. While it’s unreasonable to expect that warranty to go as long as 30 years or so, you should expect your warranty to get you through to a point where normal wear and tear won’t be a result of shoddy building practices.
Make sure these terms are clear, and written out in a contract from the very beginning, before you start building. All builders will have different terms for their warranty, so make sure you choose one that you’re comfortable with. A builder that charges $20,000 more but has a much longer and more reasonable warranty might just end up saving you well over $20,000 if you end up having structural damage while still within their warranty period.
Beware of no contracts or a poorly written contract
No matter what builder you decide to work with, you should always have a contract in place. Any builder that refuses to provide you with a contract should be dismissed immediately from your consideration. The presence of a contract alone should not make them a good choice. However, the contract needs to outline all the things that are important to you.
Most builders will have a standard format for their contracts which they will present to you, and you can review before getting started. Of course, you might not consider yourself to be a “standard” client and might have special needs. You should feel in the right to add things to the contract, and any builder that won’t allow you to do so should also be dismissed from your consideration. Don’t take a verbal agreement for any of the things you feel will need to be done – make sure it goes on the contract so they must follow it.
While there are hundreds, even thousands of things that separate the good and bad builders, the five things above should get you started to making an informed selection. Always remember to interview each candidate thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to walk away if things don’t feel quite right.
NJ Custom Home Builder Guide – Conclusion
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I totally agree when you said that the home builder that w should be hiring must have a contract before hiring them. I will definitely check this document when I look for a contractor. We need to hire a contractor by the start of the year 2019 because we will have the house built by then. This has always been our dream ever since we started dating officially back in 2005, so we are excited to finally have our own house constructed next year.