How to Select a Builder?
Checklist for Hiring a Builder or Remodeler
Do your homework before having work done on your home.
Use this checklist to help you select a home builder or home remodeler to work on or build your home.
- Contact the OBHBA office for the names of member builders and remodelers. You can also ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations.
- Make sure the builder or home remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.
- Find out how long they have been in the building business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. You want to make sure they will be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties.
- Check out the company’s rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org.
- Make sure the builder/remodeler has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
- Ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with names of previous customers. If they won’t, beware. If they do, ask the customers if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
- Ask to see the builder/remodelers work, both completed and in progress. Check for quality of workmanship and materials.
- Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home.
- Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract including the specifications for materials and a draw schedule if you are paying the builder directly. The contract will benefit both of you. If you are having a new home built, get and review a copy of the home warranty and homeowner manual as well.
- Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Keep in mind that less expensive does not necessarily mean better!
- Verify that your remodeler is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator if you are planning work in a pre-1978 home that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home or 20 square feet on the exterior of the home. Learn more about the EPA’s lead paint rule.
Why Use a Member of the Outer Banks HBA?
Many times it is tempting simply to go with the lowest bidder. However, when your purchase involves the quality of life you will live, or the largest investment you will ever make, the low bid may be a big mistake—the kind of mistake you will have many years to live to regret.
You may (or may not) get the lowest bid from an OBHBA member, but your reasons to use a particular contractor or vendor should go much beyond the dollar figure. The following characteristics of OBHBA members are reasons why, when you choose a member of the OBHBA for your project, you can rest assured that you won’t be regretting the choice.
OBHBA Members are Professionals
• They have the necessary licenses for their profession
• They carry insurance—not only protecting their own business, but also your project
• They work to develop reputable businesses that can stand the scrutiny of peer review.
• They commit to a standard of ethics in the conduct of their business.
• They invest time and money into taking classes that improve their ability to make a better product.
• They commit to researching new products and new techniques
OBHBA Members are in it for the Long Term
• By joining the association they are showing a commitment to long-term development of their company.
• They seek opportunities to interact with those in the industry who have run successful businesses for years.
• They believe that expending time and money on continuing education will pay future dividends.
OBHBA Members work to Keep Housing Affordable
• They know that excessive regulation threatens the ability of average wage-earners, like teachers and police, to afford a home.
• They support legislative efforts to restrict regulatory bureaucracies from growing in a self-serving manner at the home-owner’s expense.
• They support fiscally responsible government efforts to promote housing (like the Housing Trust Fund).
• They research new technologies and developing products to find more efficient ways of building homes.
OBHBA Members are Community-minded
• They may be your next-door neighbors, and they live in and care about their, and your, community.
• They provide necessary support for vocational education programs.
• They encourage the vocational education teachers in high schools and community colleges.
• They provide college scholarships through their support of the Educational Foundation.
• They volunteer in community service projects, like building handicap ramps or making urgent repairs for those in need, often through other service organizations, etc.
• Like you, they want a healthy, safe, caring community for their kids to grow up in.