So you’re thinking of building a new home. You’ve dreamt about it for years and know exactly what you want. But how will you know if you have a quality builder? How can you be sure your dream home won’t become a nightmare? How will you know that you’ve chosen one of the best home builders in the Milwaukee Area? Before you sign on the dotted line, there are ways to choose the right builder and know you’re getting quality craftsmanship.
What is Quality Construction?
Recognizing true quality can be difficult. What seems reasonable to some, may be considered shoddy to others. Truthfully, there is a minimum standard, beyond regular building codes that all contractors should meet. Unfortunately, many people choose a contractor before asking any questions as to how the builder defines quality and how quality is used in their home construction. Excellence doesn’t have to equal expensive. For example, brick siding can be very expensive, but if it’s installed improperly and without quality work, it’s worthless.
Ways to Ensure Quality
Before you hire a builder, tell them precisely the kind of quality you expect. Take some time to research things such as what thickness, width, and type of material you want for your walkways and driveways (cement, stone, brick?), or what kind of siding you want (brick, stone, wood, aluminum?).
And then there’s insulation. What is R-value? Do you want the type that’s blown in or the kind that’s rolled out? What variety of finishes are you looking for? Do you dream of crown molding? Solid wood floors? Copper pipes or PVC?
The choices might feel endless, but if you do your research and make a list, the building process will be much smoother. Besides, both you and your contractor will know exactly what you want. No surprises. Also, talk about what you consider quality work; what kind of craftsmanship you’re looking for. This should all be part of the bid package and final contract. If the contractor balks, this is not the person to work with.
How Can You Tell If a Builder Builds Quality?
Looking for Quality
How can you tell if a builder has quality construction? Many potential customers tour model homes. This is a great start, but don’t get distracted by all the beautiful decorating. Take a closer look at how the house is built – like the plumbing or electrical box. It’s not the “pretty” parts that are important.
After touring a model home, ask the builder if you can look at a house that’s not finished yet. That way, instead of looking at windows, flooring, or room sizes, you can see how the home is constructed. Look closely at the drywall, the trim, flooring, etc. Does the molding look thin and cheap? Does the builder cut corners to save a few dollars? You’ll be able to tell easily enough in a house that’s not complete. Unfortunately, if you wait until your dream home is finished to talk about quality, you may not be happy with the results.
Warranties and Specifications
Asking for a copy of the builder’s warranty and a list of specifications is another excellent way to review the quality of a home builder. These should state what is covered in case of problems and what products they use. In a good home warranty, there is a list of tolerances.
For example, when you move into your new home, you notice a bow in the basement wall. The builder’s warranty should explain how much of a bow is acceptable, how big the bow must be before they’ll fix it, and how they’ll repair it. Builder’s warranties and specifications are dry to read, but it’ll give you an excellent idea of what to expect regarding quality and craftsmanship.
Don’t be afraid to show up at the job site occasionally. Walk around and look closely, especially while the foundation and walls are being set. Once the walls have been rocked, it’s too late to ask about electrical switches. Meet the tradespeople. Let them know you’ll be around, so if they have any questions, they’ll know who to call. Don’t make them guess.
If you’re seriously thinking of having a custom home built, do yourself a big favor… before you sign a contract, learn about quality and what it is that you really want. And if you’d like to learn more about quality construction, be sure to contact Cobblestone Builders. Established in 1990, Cobblestone is one of the best custom home builders in Southeastern Wisconsin. They’ve been building energy-efficient, high-quality homes for nearly 40 years. Cobblestone Builders also host their own television series “Talkin Construction.” Call today!