Builder Comparison: How to Choose Who Builds Your Home

What you should consider when choosing a builder.
Landconnect — 05 March 2020

Unlike choosing toothpaste, toilet paper, or what you'll eat tonight, selecting a builder is a process that you may only go through once in your life. And such an unfamiliar task can be understandably confusing.


When you start shopping builders, you'll be inundated with new information from prices to floorplan options, colour choices to what facade to choose. It is no wonder so many people just like yourself, feel overwhelmed by the decisions that lay ahead. 


You need to bring a bit of order to the process. You need to know the most important considerations so that you can easily compare one builder to another. So to help you do just that, let's take a look at the five things that you should focus on when shopping for someone to build your home.


Quality

You're not just buying a house; you're building what is likely your most significant and most important investment to date. So need to make sure you feel comfortable with the company you to choose to construct your home. Common questions that you may want to ask yourself; Are you happy with how the house is designed and flows? Does it suit your lifestyle needs, and is the house built to a high standard? 


How do you answer these questions before your home is built?


Display homes are a great place to start, giving you a tangible, real-world idea of what you can expect the final result to look like. Remember, that display homes may have many bells and whistles, so it is essential to understand what the upgrades are. 


When you walk through the display with your consultant, ask them to point out what the upgrades are within the home. 


Don't be afraid to ask what the cost of the home is as it is displayed. 


Then try to concentrate more on the layout and flow.


The best quality check you can do is to visit a customer of the builder - ask your consultant if they may have a couple of previous clients who are willing to show off their new homes! 


Reputation

While you're looking at their home, what does this previous customer have to say about the builder? With first-hand experience of both the process and the result, their advice can be invaluable.


Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to hunt down old customers in person either - simply Google a builder's name, and it will likely come up on several review or comparison sites.


When getting a sense of a builder's reputation, it's important to remember that people are far more likely to be vocal about a bad experience than a good one. 


For this reason, you should try to hear from as many people as possible. 


Be ready to disregard any who blame the builder for things that were out of their control.


The Quote


Historically, many buyers have had a far simpler system for selecting their builder: look at the big numbers at the bottom of the quotes, and choose the company with the lowest. But using such a system will rarely see you making the best possible choice. Firstly, price isn't everything (as this list shows), and secondly, what that price covers can vary.


What are the inclusions? Ensuring that your quotes all cover similar things, or that you get prices on the extras that aren't included, is vital if you are to get a firm idea of how much your home will cost to build, and how different builders compare. And is the quote fixed, or might it change in certain circumstances? 


Do all that you can to compare like-for-like quotes, as this will make your decision so much clearer.


Turnaround time

While turnaround time is far from the be-all and end-all, this is an essential consideration if you have limited time. Some buyers can't afford to continue to pay endless rent while they wait for their dream home to be constructed.


When comparing turnaround times, consider the following:


  • Volume builder time frames: Most volume builders will offer quite solid time frames for their different homes, e.g., this many weeks for a single storey home, that many for a double-story, etc.
  • Start dates: Some builders - usually the best - will have a backlog of work, and will only be able to start so many jobs per month. Check how far down the line your chosen builder will be ready to begin construction.
  • Title dates: Has your council granted a land title? If you've bought in a new community, you could still be waiting for a title, which will impact the start date of construction.

Communication

The construction of your dream home demands healthy levels of collaboration and communication. If you struggle to make yourself understood, or worse, if you feel as though your builder isn't bothering to listen, you're far less likely to get the result you were looking for.


The early levels of customer service and communication will give an indication of how attentive and transparent the builder will be throughout the process, so pay attention to their levels of consideration before you commit. When it comes to communication, there's a lot to be said for gut feel - if something doesn't feel right, that usually means something isn't right.

The biggest single purchase of your life deserves a healthy amount of consideration. By bringing some order to the process and comparing your options carefully, you can be confident that your choice will be a good one.