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Key questions to ask your builder

Key questions to ask your builder

With the market full of builders offering new home designs and promotions, it can be a confusing and overwhelming time for both new and experienced buyers looking for the best deal.

When you have decided on your short list of preferred builders, what questions should you ask to help get you sorted?

Summit Homes Group Metropolitan General Manager Tony Harvie talks about the top questions you should ask.

History

Ask how long the builder has been operating in Western Australia and does it have a good track record? How many homes has it built and has it won awards for customer service, design excellence and professional builder accolades? Are its trades local and reliable, and have they been with the builder long?

Choosing a long-term builder should give you the confidence that it will be here to stay, long after it has built your new home.

This is an important consideration should you need any after-care service down the track, and should provide peace of mind that you are partnering with quality.

Feedback

Ask your builder if it can provide feedback from past and current clients. Of course, any builder will tell you it is the best, but reading the unbiased and unedited feedback from people who have experienced the process is what you want to gauge before you sign your contract.

Does your builder have a social media presence on ProductReview, Facebook or Instagram? Take the time to find out and discover what people are saying.

These independent reviews will hold way more credence than what any builder will tell you, because all builders will naturally tell you they are the best. It is important to note all builders will have the odd bad review, so what you should be looking for is overall trends and if the builder has taken the time to address any issues.

Online forums are a great way to find out more about your builder and ask others about their personal experiences, so take the time and do your due diligence before you sign.

Fast-track commitment

Ask your builder if it can give you a guarantee of when construction of your home will start on-site. You may find many builders can offer you a build promise, but the actual building might not start for another nine months or longer. Look for a builder that can offer a start date and a build time so you have the security and confidence of a set time frame. If you can get that in writing at the start of your journey, even better.

Ongoing communication

Ask your builder about ongoing communication after you sign the sales contract. How will you receive updates and when? Can you log in to a personalised portal to see updates in real time, especially when significant milestones are reached like when the slab is poured or when the roof is installed?

If you have a question, are you able to call your administration team or site supervisor direct? Building a home should be seen as a partnership, so look for a builder that can offer an ongoing communication promise as well as construction excellence.

Site cleanliness

Ask your builder for the addresses of some of the homes it is currently building for clients and have a look. Take the time to drive there so you can see first-hand the level of care and cleanliness kept on site. You should look for a builder that treats each home as if it were its own, so alarm bells should be ringing if it is left in a state of disarray.

If you are not comfortable asking for addresses, you can visit new estates that have many homes being built. Each builder will have a sign displayed on-site indicating it is responsible for that home. Look for sites and homes that have a strong sense of pride and indicate the builder can deliver the same excellent quality for your home.

Local, personalised and transparent service

Ask your builder about its process once the sales aspect has been completed. Some builders are not totally transparent in their offering and opt to use overseas resources and suppliers to build your home. Quality control is maximised when the process is owned internally, so partnering with builders who operate with a local commitment and transparent approach is the smart way to go.

Ask about the builder’s trades and what sort of quality standards they need to adhere to. You only want the best in building your new home, so be sure to ask to ensure you are getting that.

Don’t forget it is a buyer’s market right now. Many builders are competing for your business, so make them work for it. Put them to the test and you will see only the strongest ones survive.

Originally published in The West Australian Newspaper New Homes Guide on July 15th, 2017. To view the article online, click here.

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