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Top 5 Questions: Builder References

 

I always hope that whomever we give a proposal for either construction of a new home or to renovate an existing home that they immediately move forward with Dickson Development and our trade partners.  But the reality is that many people talk to other contractors. Therefore the following are some specific things to consider:

You just left an impressive presentation with a professional homebuilder, one among the few you're considering for your project.

In addition to a brochure about his business and highlights of his recent work and the homes he built, he provided you with a list of recent clients for you to call or email to ask about his quality, ethics, skill, and professionalism.

Now the ball's in your court to actually reach out to those references and gain some valuable inside knowledge about your builder before you consider negotiating and signing a contract for your project.

But what to ask? We suggest a few questions to solicit the kind of information that will help you make an informed and confident decision. Of course, you may have your own agenda and priorities, which we encourage; if you need them, these questions just may help get the conversation going.

1. Was the company easy to work with? Ask how the builder managed communication with clients before and during construction. In addition discuss the selection and change order process and how records are kept of these decisions and transactions.

2. Was the jobsite clean? The best builders leave the job site clean at the end of each day. They sweep and haul their trash away, store or take their tools, and stack their materials. Not only does the jobsite look good (as good as anything can under construction), but also is one that's safer should the owners want to check out the progress of the job on their own after work.

3. Did they finish on time? Finishing on time reveals the builder's commitment and organizational skills. If the answer is "no," dig a little deeper into why; it may be that the owner made changes that caused some delays, or that bad weather was an unavoidable factor.


4. Did they finish on budget? Like finishing on time (or within the owner's expectations), finishing on budget indicates a builder's organizational and business acumen, specifically his cost-estimating skills. If the answer is "no," ask why and look for clues about change or special orders by the owners that may have been outside the scope of the original budget, or if the builder neglected to calculate a cost and tried to make the owners pay for it at closing.

 5. Did they disappear after move-in? Perhaps a homeowner's biggest worry is what happens after the work is finished. A builder who has been available to answer questions and respond to reasonable warranty issues is an important indicator of a builder's long-term commitment to the quality of his homes and the ultimate satisfaction of their owners.


This handful of questions probably does not satisfy all of your needs, but it's a start and often will inspire more questions that further reveal whether the builder you're considering is one you can trust and rely on to do the job right.
We at Dickson Development pride ourselves on not only the quality of our work but how we manage our projects and care for our clients. I know our readers will give us the opportunity to work for them. Please share this email with friends who might be considering a construction project. Referrals are always appreciated.
Warm regards,
 
Richard Dickson
Dickson Development
Corporation
666 Plainsboro Road, Ste. 2000F
Plainsboro, NJ 08536
(609) 799 0220 - phone
info@dicksondevelopment.com
www.dicksondevelopment.com

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