Buying a house is one of the most significant investments someone could make in their entire life. Building a house could cost even more money — and that’s why it’s important to find a home builder you can trust.
Here at Arbor Home Builders, we recommend people follow a six-step process you should follow when seeking a custom home builder you can trust to build your dream house or investment property:
- Know what you are looking for,
- Check your state’s construction board to see who is licensed to build in your area,
- Flesh out your list by checking each builder’s online reviews,
- Ask your friends and neighbors to see if they have hired a home builder, and whom,
- Talk to each home builder about the information you have found,
We’re confident that after you’ve completed this process, you’ll realize that Arbor Home Builders is a home builder you can trust. We would love to put our 12 years of experience building homes in Central Oregon to work on your next project and invite you to give us a call today.
What is a custom home builder?
Think about all the pieces that come together when you build a house. You’ll see:
- Pipes that connect your dishwasher, your sinks, your showers, and your toilets to the water main that brings freshwater into your house and the sewer line or septic system that carries the dirty water out,
- Wires that connect your home to the high voltage current that runs through your neighborhood and then carry that electricity to every outlet and device you plug into your walls,
- A heater to keep your home warm at night, an air conditioner to keep it cool in the summer, and a network of ducts and vents that circulate the air through every part of your house.
- Other building materials like asphalt, concrete, drywall, glass, paint, plaster, steel, and wood that can be fashioned into the foundation and beams that keep your home standing up straight, the deck where you have a barbecue for your friends, or that special feature people comment on as soon as they walk in your front door.
You can try putting all of these pieces together yourself; You can also hire a series of individual contractors to perform each task and a general contractor who can supervise the work each of these subcontractors does for you.
Or, you can hire a custom home builder like Arbor Home Builders that has a team of building professionals who work together well. As a bonus, custom builders will also present you with a single bill for their services — something that saves you from paying every person who works on your home individually.
Check your state’s contractor licensing board
Now that you know what you’re looking for, the next step when it comes to finding a home builder you can trust is to check the website for your state’s contractor licensing board.
These websites are a valuable tool because they provide a complete list of the contractors who work in your area. They also provide information about how big the company is, how long it has been in business, and whether it has ever been cited for violating the rules that govern your state’s building professions. Here is a list of the licensing boards in your area:
- California Contractors State License Board
- Idaho Department of Building Safety
- State of Oregon Construction Contractor Board
- Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
DO NOT HIRE SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A LICENSE. Hiring an unlicensed contractor may save you some money upfront. But even a simple mistake like mismeasuring a beam or failing to obtain the proper permit could cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to repair. There’s also no guarantee an unlicensed contractor has the money to compensate you for these mistakes because they likely are not bonded or insured.
Read the comments
State contractor licensing boards can answer some basic questions about the people who will build your next home. But they don’t tell you anything about whether the home builder finished construction on schedule, whether it kept you in the loop about the project’s progress, or even whether the company’s clients were happy with the homes it had just built.
Luckily, the Internet is full of websites where people share this information and organize it in a searchable database. Here are five customer review websites that you should visit:
And don’t forget to check your flesh-and-blood social network — your friends, your family, the people you see at work, the person who cuts your hair, etc.– when compiling a list of potential builders. A $5 cup of coffee with your neighbor’s brother-in-law could spare you a major headache when the move-in date for your dream home is five months behind schedule.
Ask the hard questions
Don’t forget some people complain about the quality of the peaches they buy in January or the sushi they find in a cooler at their local gas station. That’s why you should give every home builder on your list a chance to answer their critics,
Watch the sales representative’s reaction when you share the negative reviews you found online. Does the sales representative admit some commenters may have a legitimate concern, or do they blow the commenters off because “they’re crazy.”
What has the company done to address its negative criticism, and what steps, if any, has it taken to make sure it does not happen again. This final phase of the home builder interview process lets you check their most important attribute: Their character.
We hope this simple guide to finding a home builder you can trust. We’re also confident that Arbor Builders will make the final cut if you’re looking for a custom home builder with experience working in Central Oregon. That’s why you should meet with our team today.