Selecting a Builder

Building a new home is a big venture. You've planned and saved for it and you want it to be perfect. But often, there are hitches. Small setbacks due to material availability are not uncommon. However, one of the greatest factors affecting the quality of your experience is the builder you choose. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a builder:

1. Do your research on the builder
* Ask the builder whether or not there is a written description of the home-buying process provided
* Ask whether there is a homebuyer's manual that answers frequently asked questions and can give you names to call for service
* Ask whether you will sign off on a list of items to be completed before closing
* Ask to see letters of recommendation from previous clients
* If possible, try to contact someone who has dealt with the builder
* Ask them about their home building experience.

2. Visit the builder's design centre

* View all the products the builder has to decorate the home
* Here, you can obtain decorating and finishing ideas for your new home.
* You will also be able to get an idea of which features are trendy and which are valuable to potential future buyers

3. Walk through a model home
* Tour a model home to get design ideas for your new home
* Take a pad of paper and make notes of the features you like and dislike
* Visualise how you would like to furnish the rooms
* If the builder does not have an actual home you can walk through, ask if he has a 3-D computer program that will allow you to take a virtual tour.

4. Find out whether your builder has on staff architects

* Your builder should either have an architect on staff or have an ongoing relationship with an outside architect that he trusts.
* It is important to be able to ensure that any designs changes can be accommodated in a short period of time
* Look for a builder that offers flexible designs with a variety of options to allow for customization

If you take the proper precautions to ensure that you are hiring a reliable builder, building a new home can be one of the most satisfying and exciting ventures you ever undertake.