As you vet potential home builders, take any opportunity to ask a variety of questions to gauge the company’s professionalism, communication style, service level, efficiency, and affordability. As the National Association of Home Builders points out, you should feel comfortable asking a potential home builder any question you find important, and true professionals will be more than happy to provide you answers.
Building a house in Texas is a process that provokes many questions. Besides “when can I move in?” and “how much will this cost?”, here are 12 questions to ask a builder before hiring them to build your new home. Not all of them might apply to each company you interview, but they cover a wide range of topics that can give you confidence in making an informed decision.
1. Is the home site included in the quoted price of the house?
The standard floor plans offered by new home builders each come with a base cost. Ask if the estimate you are quoted includes the price of purchasing the home site, or property on which the house will be built. Additionally, ask the home builder if there are additional costs associated with premium lots located in certain developments.
2. What options are available with the standard floor plans?
New home builders in Frisco will have a set of standard floor plans from which you can choose. However, there may be certain features you want – such as patios, fireplaces or a specific color pallet – that can be added to better appeal to your lifestyle. Ask questions to gauge your latitude for personalizing the home.
3. Does the builder offer a warranty program?
Even with a newly constructed house, problems can arise that need to be fixed. Fortunately, your new construction house should come with at least one warranty to protect you in the event something breaks or is damaged early on. Short-term whole-house warranties and longer structural warranties are common types of warranties offered. Ask your home builder if they provide a warranty or what their system is for ensuring you don’t have to pay out of pocket to address a major repair on your brand new home within the first year or so of owning it.
4. Are you permitted to purchase your own appliances and/or materials, and if so, will you get credited?
If you have your heart set on certain features or finishes that aren’t offered by the home builder, ask if you can provide them yourself and then have the builder install them. Even if they don’t allow you to purchase your own materials, they may permit you to provide your own appliances that are upgraded or different versions than what they offer. Some builders even offer credits for self-purchased appliances or materials. However, that is not the industry standard, so it’s better to check before making an assumption you’ll get the cost of the standard appliances you didn’t use knocked off the base price of the house.
5. Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
Ultimately, you need to know what you’re getting for the cost of the house, and that includes landscaping. Ask the home builder if the price they quoted you for a specific floor plan covers landscaping and if you have any control over what the landscaping looks like. If the home does come with landscaping, find out what happens if a system fails or plants die within a year of completion.
6. Is there a homeowners association? If so, what will the dues cost and what do they cover?
Many quick move in homes are built within neighborhoods managed by a homeowners association that monitors and enforces certain guidelines to enhance the quality of lives for residents. However, monthly or annual HOA fees and some regulations are also part of the bargain. Before you hire a home builder, find out if the homes they construct are in neighborhoods with HOAs and what specific amenities and facilities are included in the HOA fees.
7. What are the estimated taxes on the property?
When you own instead of rent you become responsible for property taxes. Based on the school district and county where your new Frisco home is situated, you will be subjected to certain tax rates. Your home builder should know the current tax rates that will apply to your home.
8. Does the contract include a cost escalation clause?
While home builders may have factored a certain estimated cost for materials into the base price of your house, there is a chance market prices for the materials will increase during the months it takes to complete the project. If the home builder includes a cost escalation clause, you will be responsible for covering the cost of heightened market prices for materials. If you want to avoid price volatility, you can ask this question to find a home builder who offers a contract without a cost escalation clause.
9. Are there established financing options available?
Most new home builders will offer financing options or refer you to a specific lender. While you may have a company you want to work with on your mortgage, it is worth finding out if the home builder offers any financial incentives or discounts for using their preferred lender.
10. Will you give me references of recent buyers/occupants?
Any time you are transitioning to new circumstances – whether that be a home or a place of employment – it’s a good rule of thumb to speak with people who are currently living in those circumstances. Speaking with homeowners who recently worked with the home builder you’re vetting will give you more honest and accurate information based on their experience.
11. How is the school system rated?
If you have young children or are planning to in the future, it’s advantageous to find out a bit about the local education system. Ask which public school district your home will be situated in and how it measures up.
12. What emergency facilities, grocery stores, and other establishments are nearby?
Part of the draw of building a new home is finding a neighborhood you like and that offers convenient access to the establishments and public amenities you use, such as libraries and parks. You should find out what emergency facilities – including fire departments, hospitals, and law enforcement – and other important institutions and establishments are in close proximity. Another question to ask your home builder is whether there are any major development plans for the area in the next few years.
How to Choose a Home Builder in Frisco
Building a new home is a big undertaking, but with the right home builder by your side, you can have confidence the project will meet, if not exceed, your expectations. Don’t be too quick to select a builder to construct your new home in Frisco. Do research, shop around, ask plenty of questions, and tour existing properties to find the right one for you.
“15 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Home Builder.” New Home Source. Accessed online at https://www.newhomesource.com/guide/articles/questions-to-ask-your-builder
“10 Questions to Ask When Buying New Home Construction.” Moving.com, part of the Realtor.com Network. Accessed online at https://www.moving.com/tips/10-questions-to-ask-when-buying-new-home-construction/
“Questions to Ask Your Home Builder.” National Association of Home Builders. Accessed online at https://www.nahb.org/consumers/home-buying/questions-to-ask-your-homebuilder.aspx