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10 Helpful Tips For Working With A Builder To Build A House

Building a new home is STRESSFUL, being prepared CAN REALLY HELP. Here’s 10 helpful tips for working with a builder to build a house.

Tips For Working With A Builder To Build A House

If you’re ready to build a new home, or about to start a major home remodel with a contractor, I have a handful of tips to help prepare.

It’s always best to have realistic expectations for huge projects, like a new home build, before starting.

And, while you can search Yelp and Google for the best builders and contractors in your area, there’s a lot about building a new home or home remodeling that can be surprising.

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10 Helpful Tips For Working With A New Home Builder!

Today, I’ve got 10 tips for working with a builder or contractor that you probably haven’t read anywhere else. These are the kinds of tips that you really don’t learn until you’ve worked with a builder, or two.

Luckily for me, I grew up with a Dad that built custom homes, I’ve flipped a few homes, and I’ve hired out for huge remodeling projects too.

So hopefully, I can help you get a little more ready for building a new home or starting a new home remodeling project. Let’s get to those 10 Tips!

1. Know Your Budget And What You Want Beforehand

Before approaching any builders, you should know exactly what you can afford and pretty much what you want.

Decide how much you can spend on a monthly mortgage, real estate taxes, and home upkeep. Then work with your bank to be sure you can afford the home loan before you approach a builder.

And, do your research on new builds too. Tour some Model Homes to research builders and to see how much home you can get for your budget, in your area.

You should also get a rough idea of the type of home you want too. Ranch, Two-story, number of bedrooms, type of design, location, etc.

You want to be about 80% sure about your budget and what you want to build before working with a builder or contractor on bids.

White walls kids bedroom for boys with blue velvet curtains, dark blue space themed bedroom quilts and NASA and cool outer space decor and wall art.
Do you prefer to have your kids sleep on the same floor as you? Have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for before you start looking at plans and builders to avoid wasting time. See more of this room in Easy DIY Space Themed Bedroom Makeover For Kids – It’s SO COOL!

2. Do You Like The Builder?

This is important, guys! Pick a builder with a good reputation and work history. Don’t just pick the cheapest bid.

You want a person you can see dealing with for 1 to 2 years. If the builder is a jerk to you or keeps you waiting BEFORE you’ve hired him, pick a different builder.

Google the builders name along with words like “money”, “debt”, and “paid” to check for anyone complaining about the builder not paying them,

You don’t want to worry that the builder will go bankrupt mid-build. I’ve seen it happen to people multiple times, it’s always a nightmare.

Picking the right builder or contractor can make or break a job. Take your time and get recent recommendations from people you can trust.

Image of a dark brown wood stain with a brown glaze on a kitchen island. Kitchen island design ideas.
We had a construction crew in our home for nearly 3 months when we did this huge kitchen makeover. Make sure you get along with your builder or contractor before hiring them. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them!

3. Carefully Pick A Floorplan

Picking the right floorplan is SO IMPORTANT. Once your new build starts, you can’t change the floorplan, guys.

In fact, you probably can’t change the floorplan once you’ve signed the contract because your builder will start buying materials specific to the floorplan.

So, take your time picking the right floorplan. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Where will the bedrooms be, upstairs or downstairs?

Should the guest room be next to the Master Bedroom, kids rooms, or by itself? Will you still want to be dealing with stairs in 10 years? Can your family grow into that floorplan?

Picture yourself inside each room and really think about whether or not it makes sense.

Image of a kitchen with white inset cabinets, Lusso Quartz, undermount sink, with a gas grill stove.
Carefully think about work flow in a kitchen or just bathroom and bedroom access before you pick a floor plan. You might want to read Where To Put A Kitchen Sink And Appliances: 10 Super Helpful Tips.

4. Make Sure The Contract Spells Out Every Little Detail

When it comes to building a new home, you WANT a long, detailed contract with the builder. A properly designed contract PROTECTS you and the builder.

If a builder doesn’t provide you with a detailed contract, I’d assume it’s a sign of their inexperience and move on to another builder.

Whenever you’re working with a builder on a new home, be sure the contract spells out all included items in the price of the build.

The contract should specify the types of materials to be used EVERYWHERE. Or, it should specify how much the builder will pay for a specific item. You can’t be too specific. Just include everything.

For example, the contract might specify a certain grade of countertop will be used in the kitchen or baths OR it might state a maximum dollar amount to spend on those areas.

Make sure you carefully read the contract and agree to everything in it before signing.

Marble Look Quartz Counters with a rectangle undermount sink and dark blue vanity. See all the details for this bathroom makeover here. #AbbottsAtHome #Quartz #Marble #Countertops #Bathroom #InteriorDesign
It took a few days worth of trips to quartz and granite suppliers for us to pick this quartz for our Master Bathroom makeover. Make sure you know exactly what you want to use when your builder asks for final decisions on products. Waiting for supplies slows the build down.

5. Be Ready To Make Decisions

Whether you’re working with a neighborhood builder that works on dozens of homes at once or a custom home builder, you have to be ready to make decisions when they ask a question.

If they say they need to know what paint color or countertop you want to use, assume their guys need it the next day. You should figure it out ASAP and let them know.

Picking most of this stuff before it’s needed is actually your best bet, so you don’t feel rushed into the wrong choice.

Any changes you want to make or delays in picking things can cause an unexpected work stoppage at your build.

Your contractor has to keep his guys working. So, an unexpected delay on your job may mean he has to send his crew to another job for a few days or weeks before he can leave that job to come back to yours.

So, try to not change big things mid-build unless they are really important to you.

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Your builder might be able to help you get discounts at some of their suppliers. Check with them before shopping for things like beautiful light fixtures and faucets.

6. Builders And Contractors Get Discounts

Don’t run out and buy appliances, tubs, faucets, or anything before finding out if your builder gets a discount anywhere. Often builders are happy to pass on a contractor discount to their customers.

Builders and contractors often have a plumbing supplier, cabinet supplier, lighting supplier, and other suppliers they get a discount with because they buy from them so often.

So, it’s worth asking before you start picking out everything you’ll need in your new home.

And, if you already have picked out some MUST HAVES, your contractor may be able to get you the same thing cheaper or a similar and higher quality option with their suppliers.

So, it never hurts to ask. My favorite tips for building a new home or planning a remodel always involve saving money.

Magnolia Homes by Kilz paint color Duke Grey on Bookshelves. I am LOVING this Before and After Family Room Makeover Transformation! Check out the amazing pictures and budget friendly DIY projects.
Sometimes builders and contractors recommend lighting placement, flooring types, closet layouts, and many other things. They have a ton of valuable experience to learn from. Ask why before deciding what you’ll do. You can see more of this Family Room makeover in a previous post.

7. Listen To Your Builders Recommendations

Listen to the contractors ideas and recommendations when it comes to anything. Ask questions and stay open-minded, after all, they have loads of experience when it comes to building a new home.

So, if your contractor says that he’s had problems with Bamboo floors in the past. Or, he suggests picking a porcelain tile for durability, think about what he’s suggesting before making a decision.

But, that doesn’t mean that you have to agree with all of their suggestions. In the end, you have to live there. So, stand up for the things that you really want.

Try this Simple DIY Coffered Ceiling Design I used to give my Dining Room ceiling a beautiful new look. Includes lots of pictures and a how to video. DIY Ceiling Design Ideas. DIY Ceiling Makeover Ideas.
Something like this DIY Flat Coffered Ceiling is pretty cheap, when it comes to materials. But, if you pay someone else to do it, you have to pay for their time too. That would add hundreds and hundreds onto a big impact project like this.

8. Don’t Assume The Cost Of Anything

Before you start working with a builder on a new home, make sure you actually research the costs of everything you want beforehand.

Some of those older HGTV shows made certain home remodeling projects seem cheaper and easier than they are in real life. Nice cabinets often cost a lot more than Home Depot cabinets.

Don’t assume that a $2,000 kitchen countertop allowance will get you that fancy marble countertop you’ve always wanted. Check out what $2,000 will really buy you before getting your hopes up.

When you’re getting bids on your new house build, you’ll often find what you really want costs a lot more than you expected. So, don’t set your expectations too high before seeing the bids.

Image shows beautiful wood built ins in a home office with three piece crown molding.
Custom details like this Beautiful Three Piece Crown Molding and those Cabinets That Look Like Built In Furniture cost A LOT more than you’d think from watching certain HGTV shows.

9. Visit The Job Site Often

Here’s another big tip when it comes to working with a builder on a new home, you should visit the construction site often. That way you’re always available to answer questions.

And, you’ll be able to catch potential mistakes as soon as they happen.

You can do this DIY Shower Niche Installation in less than an hour. This video shows you how easy it is! Plus, check out the bathroom after demo, with a framed in tub and shower prepped for tile. #BathroomRemodeling #BathroomMakeover #BathroomRemodel #ShowerNiche #Remodel #AbbottsAtHome
Visiting the job site often helps the contractors get quick answers to questions. And, you’ll be able to quickly spot mistakes or things you overlooked. Just, stay out of the way and be respectful when you visit busy contractors. Check out my steps for installing a DIY Shower Niche – How to Frame & Placement Tips in a previous post.

10. Be Respectful And Kind

And, last but not least, you might get annoyed or frustrated from time to time with a builder. BUT, as they say, you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

So, keep all conversations with your builder and his contractors respectful and kind. You don’t want them to slow down work at your site. And, you don’t want them afraid to talk to you.

If you want to get the best end result, keep everything courteous when working with a builder or contractor. You can always avoid ever seeing them again once the new home is built!

More Helpful Tips For Building A New Home

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Feeling inspired? That’s it for working with a builder on a new home! Let me know if you have questions.

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