Selecting A Builder

Are you shopping for a new home?  Start by shopping for a professional builder first.  Whether you are buying a townhouse, a detached home in a subdivision, or a custom-built house, the construction quality of your new home will be determined by the quality of your builder.

Start your builder-search process by calling your local home builders association, The Wichita Area Builders Association.  They can give you the names of reputable builders in your area.  Ask friends and relatives about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for the names of acquaintances who have recently built a new home.

The Interview Process

Once you have developed a list of builders who are building the type and price range of home you are interested in, research their reputations and the quality of their work.  The best way is to visit homes that they have built and talk to the owners.  Ask the builders on your list for the addresses of their recently completed houses, subdivisions, or townhouse communities.  At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.

Look at homes that are the same style as you plan to buy.  A good time to visit is on a weekend morning when people are outside doing chores.  Introduce yourself and explain that you are considering buying a home from the same builder who built their home.

Ask about their satisfaction with the home and whether the builder delivered what was promised in a timely manner.  Ask if they would buy another home from this builder.  People will generally tell you if they are happy with their purchase.

Quality and Value

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features:  the cabinetry, carpeting, trim work, and paint.

In viewing a home, you must determine whether it lends itself to the type of lifestyle you want to lead.  Look at the amount of interior living space and how efficiently the space is used.  Find out if the builder is incorporating state-of-the-art energy efficiency features, both in appliances and insulation.

Service after the Sale and Home Warranty

While you are shopping, ask about the builder's service after the sale.  Most builders offer some form of warranty.  Many builders back their own warranties on workmanship and materials, typically for one year.  Other builders offer warranties backed by an insurance program.  One of the most important criteria for selecting a builder is the warranty protection provided on the home.  Ask for a copy of the builder's warranty.  Read the document thoroughly and be sure you understand what protection is provided.  If you have any questions about the coverage, talk to the builder prior to finalizing your purchase.

Be Thorough

When selecting a builder, be thorough and ask a lot of questions.  Get as many specifics as possible.  If you receive the answers verbally, take notes.  Never hesitate to ask a question because you are afraid of sounding "stupid" or uninformed.  What seems like a "stupid" question may yield a very important answer.

Buying a new home is probably the biggest and most important purchase you will make in your lifetime.  By doing your new "home" work to select a builder, you will instill in yourself and your family a sense of confidence and knowledge that you have made the right choice.

If you have additional questions about selecting a builder, contact the Wichita Area Builders Association, 265-4226.  Ask for a builder list that identifies the price categories and subdivisions in which they build.  Be sure to tour the Parade of Homes in the Fall and Spring.  It is an excellent way to get familiar with the housing market in this area as well as individual builder's products.