«Return to Blog List Check Builder References! The Top 5 Questions to ask when Checking References

The Scenario:  A professional homebuilding contractor just made an impressive presentation to you and you are considering this company, among a few others, for construction of your new home.  In addition to a brochure about his business and highlights of his recent work and the communities in which he builds, he provided you with a list of recent homebuyers whom you may call or email to ask about the quality, ethics, skill, and professionalism of his company.

Now the ball is in your court to actually reach out to those references and gain some valuable inside knowledge about your builder before you consider negotiating and signing a contract for your new home.

But what questions should you ask? For many prospective homebuyers, we suggest a few informed and confident inquiries. Of course, you may have your own agenda and priorities, which we encourage; but incorporating the questions below will provide you with great insight into the builder’s working relationships and the quality of his deliverables. 

1. Was the company easy to work with?
Ask how the builder managed communication with the buyers before and during construction, ideally through one point of contact (typically the site supervisor) with the authority to make or negotiate decisions as opposed to a bureaucratic quagmire that is frustrating and confusing.

2. Was the jobsite clean?
The best builders leave the job site clean at the end of each day. They sweep and haul their trash away, store or take their tools, and stack their materials. Not only does the job site look good (as good as anything can under construction), but also is one that is safer should the owners want to check out the progress of the job on their own time.

3. Did the builder finish on time?
Finishing on time reveals the builder’s commitment and organizational skills. If the answer is “no,” dig a little deeper into why. You may learn that the owner made changes that caused some delays, or that bad weather was an unavoidable factor.

4. Did the contractor finish on budget?
Like finishing on time (or within the owner’s expectations), finishing on budget indicates a builder’s organizational and business acumen, specifically his cost-estimating skills. If the answer is “no,” ask why and look for clues about change or special orders by the owners that may have been outside the scope of the original budget, or if the builder neglected to calculate a cost and tried to make the owners pay for it at closing.

 5. Did the company disappear after move-in?
Perhaps a new homeowner’s biggest worry is what happens after they close escrow and move in. A home builder’s availability in answering questions and responsiveness to resolving reasonable warranty issues are important indicators of their company’s long-term commitment to the quality of their homes and the ultimate satisfaction of their homeowners.

This handful of questions will not cover all the questions you have, but they are important and will probably inspire more questions that further reveal whether the builder you are considering is one you can trust and rely on to do the job right.

John Kaltenbach Homes is a homebuilder based in Albuquerque, New Mexico who sets the bar high for quality, ethics, skill, and professionalism. If you are thinking about building a home in New Mexico, start developing your construction team with John Kaltenbach Homes. Our company is a custom homebuilder and contractor in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the surrounding areas. For almost 20 years, we have been known for livable homes and attention to detail in both design and construction, whether the style is contemporary, traditional, southwest or modern.

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Categories: Albuquerque, NM new home construction, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, New Mexico, NM New Home Construction Designs