How To Choose A Home Builder

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Buying & Selling Your Home

Thursday, June 4th, 2020 @ 11:33am

Building a home from the ground up is an appealing process for many future home buyers. Think about it – you can really get involved in the home building process,, as opposed to buying a home that you need to renovate to achieve your vision. 

There are some great professional builders out there who can help make your dream home a reality. And there are also some who really shouldn’t be in business. So how do you choose a builder who will MAKE IT RIGHT? 

I work with builders across the country who are part of my Holmes Approved Homes program, and they are improving building standards everywhere – from using stronger building materials, using better building techniques, and adding in thorough quality control measures, including unbiased inspections.


To find a Holmes Approved Home builder in your area, check out the list of my builder partners

Here are some things to look for in your home builder:

1) They work with you directly & answer questions thoroughly

A good builder cares about the vision you have for your new home. With a new or custom build you can get a little bit more creative with the layout then if you were buying something pre-built. Not only will they help you achieve the vision you’re looking for – they should also be able to answer any questions you have as clearly as possible. It’s their job to help you feel comfortable with your purchase.

Remember – you can never ask too many questions. This is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make, so stay as informed as possible.



2) They perform third-party inspections throughout the process

A builder who invites a 3rd party inspection company to visit their sites during various stages of construction is a builder who cares about what’s behind the walls. Builders in my Holmes Approved Homes program invite MY inspectors to check everything from foundation to roof, electrical, HVAC, plumbing and conduct blower door tests as well.


Have your list of questions ready for when you do the final walkthrough before possession.



Most common issues uncovered during home inspections


3) They’ve been in the business for a while

A builder who’s been around for awhile will be more likely to build a quality home. Now, that’s not to say the new kid in town won’t build a great home – and the old guard may still be using yesterday’s building techniques. This is where you’ll still have to do your research – but if they’ve been around for a few years, they should have an impressive portfolio of well-built communities to show off.

4) They insist on transparency

A builder who is being vague in conversations with you is a builder I’d stay away from. You want a builder who will give you a clear, well-written contract. Not only that, you want someone who’s properly insured – and will show you proof that they’ve obtained general liability insurance for their team.



5) They care about the quality of materials used

The quality of the build will be dictated by the materials used to build. Not only are the best builders choosing stronger materials – they’re making sure they’re being properly taken care of during a build.

That means, they’re not letting wood stay out in the rain without being covered as shown in this progress photo of a Bernskoetter Home


Learn about Net Zero Energy Homes

6) Are previous clients satisfied?

It’s the age of online research, and that should be part of your research on your builder as well. Also ask for references from their past clients and if you can, get in touch with them to get their honest feedback.

Ask them about their general satisfaction with the home – but this is also your chance to ask a few specific questions about their commitment to quality and making it right. Were there any delays in the project? Find out how they communicated those. When they got the keys, were there mistakes that needed to be corrected? Ask them how quickly they resolved any issues – and if it was difficult to get them to come through with the solution.

Check out virtual tours if the builder has them, and i always recommend you visit their model home like Guildcrest Homes shown here.

7) They hire quality tradespeople

Your builder is only as good as the tradespeople they hire. If you can’t trust their choice of electrician, HVAC specialist, or roofer – move on to the next builder on your list. Builders that are local to your area should have a good rolodex of licensed and insured sub-trades to call on – they’ll know the best in the biz, and make sure to use them whenever possible.

When deciding on the type of home to buy, I highly recommend looking into High Performance Homes. In very simple terms, a high-performance home uses less energy, which keeping the homeowners healthy and comfortable. Read more about high performance homes here.

Want more information? Watch the video below to see Mike Holmes talk with Sue Wastell from Wastell Homes to discuss what they’re doing differently as a home builder.

Make It Right®