When you decide that you want to look for a dream home builder in Maryland or Washington DC, you’re making a big decision and entrusting people you barely know with your life’s savings. Building a luxury home is not only an investment, but it also requires thoughtful organization, planning, and execution. So the first step on this journey is to choose the best home builder for your needs and expectations.
We’ve been helping Maryland and DC families build luxury custom homes since 1990, so we’ve been through this process and heard lots of feedback from our clients on their experiences with other builders too. Combining those experiences, here’s a checklist to help guide you through choosing the best custom home builder:
Research Home Builders
The number one thing to do is research, which should begin with looking for a contractor’s online presence. A good website should not only include a list of services they offer, but should also have a portfolio of their work. The latter is especially important, because it allows you to determine whether you think their work is up to your standards. You will be making a significant investment, so you should be sure that your project will be in the right hands.
As part of your research process, be sure to check whether the builder is part of any local associations. In our area of the Mid-Atlantic, memberships should include at a minimum: NARI, U.S. Green Building Council, Certified Green Professional and National Association of Home Builders.
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Especially with a building project with a budget upwards of $1 million, you need to be sure that your professional partner will work within the regulations and responsibilities in the local area. This means that along with certifications, be sure they have the proper local licenses.
Home Builder Reviews
Another crucial element to look for are customer reviews and testimonials. These are a great tool to use because they are an independent reflection of how others felt about their experiences with the home builder you are considering. Reading reviews that are positive while highlighting the various features of the contractor and how they conduct business is a great way for you to begin understanding what your professional relationship will look like.
You can read unsolicited and unbiased reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook for most builders. Reviews posted on a company’s website are helpful too, but more difficult to verify as authentic. Google has strict criteria for accepting and publishing reviews. That’s why most companies have a relatively low number of reviews. This makes the feedback more trustworthy. To see any company’s google reviews, just “Google” their name and city or go to Google Maps and search for them there.
Visit Current Home Building Projects
This may be the most revealing step you take when researching a home builder to see what they are really like. We encourage you to do some legwork on the builder’s actual projects. Visit current projects (if possible) to observe the site in progress. Check out the contractors, quality of work, cleanliness of the site, and ongoing progress. You can even talk to the contractors hired by the builder to get a feel for their attitude toward the builder and their perspective on quality too. Also, be sure to call or visit current and past clients of the builder directly to ask pointed questions about their specific experience with the builder and if they’ve had any follow up issues that needed addressing.
Get Face Time
Lastly, you should meet with the contractor in person. Doing so will enable you to feel comfortable and confident with the entire process – or it will help you run for cover before investing any money. By talking to the potential home builder, you’ll be able to discuss your expectations for your home, what they can do, the price, the strategy, and a potential timeline. As a result, you will gain a sense of how they will conduct and manage your project.
No matter where in the Bethesda and Greater Washington, DC area you live, you deserve to have a beautiful home that is exactly what you’ve envisioned. Finding the right builder will set you on your way to living in your dream home for years to come. To discuss your home building ideas, please contact us. We specialize in luxurious custom home building and remodeling.
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