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O/T Questions to ask builder

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Old 01-08-2004, 08:17 AM
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Default O/T Questions to ask builder

As many of you know, I'm looking into building a bigger house and I don't have a lot of background on it all so I tend to ask some stupid questions to all my fellow OSO'ers

I'm meeting with a builder tonight to show him our plan and to get a quote from him on it. I really don't know what all questions I should be asking......I plan to ask how much per square ft. and just general stuff like that but what are some real good questions that I should ask to see if he is the right guy for the job?

As far as the house here's where we are so far. We have out lot picked out and it is pending a soil test, which shouldn't be a problem. We picked out a plan from the internet which just so happens to be a local guy, we plan on modifying it a little and will go to him for the plans to be drawn up. I have taken the plans to one builder so far and we liked what we saw, however the budjet was a little high I thought. I have a friend that also builds houses, but does not have his builders license, basically he just is the contractor i guess you could say. He has built 5 houses so far and I have been really impressed with them so far. I was thinking of just using him because it would save us a lot of money. Anyhow, if any of you guys can think of some questions or anything else I should know about choosing a builder, please post it.
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:20 AM
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get everythng in writing
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:27 AM
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$ per foot is sometimes misleading cause what ramps up costs on a home is items like Bathrooms & Kitchen that are relatively small areas but really expensive, regarding the overall.
Questions;
-How Long business?
-Homes he has built locally?
-Phone numbers of clients for you to call?
-Phone numbers of his sub-contractors and suppliers for you to call also? this one is important and sometimes GC's won't give you but they are the ones doing the work. (Carpenter doing rough and finish, electrician, plumber, HVAC, Foundation, Wood supplier, Concrete supplier...)
-Determine the charges attached to changes once you are into a contract with them. (Preferably cost plus but this issue is very important). The best way is for you NOT to make changes once the contract is signed but sometimes it is inevitable. (like plug location, wall indents, door location...)
-Ask him for a defined schedule for your house and have him show you a schedule for a recent house he built and call the client on it or even knock on their door to see if he adhered to his schedule.

Give me a seconfd I'll keep going here...

Last edited by GLH; 01-08-2004 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:38 AM
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Dealing with your friend can be different give me a call if you want to talk about that I am getting cramps typing!!!

One thing to remember if the tought of contracting it yourself runs into your mind; DO NOT do that. You will end up paying more than if you hired a GC taking more time and getting at least one divorce!!!

Hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions. I'll dig here I answered someone here about building his own house once.
Take Care,
G.L. Harvie
802-734-8284
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:46 AM
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re read your thread here good information also!

http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/s...&postid=808984
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Old 01-08-2004, 09:08 AM
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This is some really useful info for me. The builder I'm talking to now said he'll take care of the whole deal, he's the main point of contact, now I know that probably means me paying more money. I just know and have been told to be sure to do my homework b/c there are a lot of people out there today that will take you to the cleaners if you let them. The builder I'm talking to now is building a house in the location I'm looking at right now so I'll be able to see his progress as we go. I know this is going to be a chore, but we're committed to seeing it through and no way will I contract my first house.....maybe the 5th or 6th when I have some background on it all.

ps. My friend that basically is the contractor said he'll charge 15K to do it all....basically cost/plus type of deal.
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:37 AM
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Make an agreement with whomever you have build your house...... Anytime he supplies materials.... or subcontracted labor.... he has to supply a "lien waiver" for what you are paying for.... that way you won't have any problems later if he somehow... "forgets" to pay a supplier or subcontractor. Always get a lien waiver from the supplier or subcontractor.... OR NO MONEY! I've known too many people that thought their house was paid for.... and weeks later several liens drop into place on the title. Good luck! In some states if you hire an unlicensed contractor to do the work... or you hire two or more contractors... YOU ARE DEEMED UNDER THE LAW AS THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR .... and any flaws or defects in the finished work are your problem.... AND FOR GODS SAKE... MAKE SURE HE HAS WORKMAN'S COMPENSATION INSURANCE! The last thing you need to have happen is have a workman get injured on YOUR project and sue you !

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Old 01-08-2004, 11:41 AM
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Great advice Reed, thanks a lot. I had a friend that just built a house and now people are coming out of the woodwork asking for money left and right b/c the builder went over budjet and didn't inform him, what a nightmare.

As much as I'd like to use my other friend that builds, I'm skeptical. He's not licensed and I'll pretty much be going by "his word". I've known him a long time but when it comes to a big time deal like building a house that I plan to stay in, I want somebody thats reputable and knows what he's doing. Now my friend has built 5 houses but he stays in each one less then a yr then sells to make profit. The houses that I've been in look real good but again just like you mentioned I could be deemed the general contractor and any flaws will be my own problems. Of course I'd like to pay as little as possible but when it comes to building what my wife and I are planning to stay in for a long long time, I want it to be right. He's basically building to make a profit and move on to the next.
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Old 01-08-2004, 12:49 PM
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video tape or voice record all of your meetings!!

i had several problems with my builder because he agreed to do something then did not. Since we established a pattern of verbal approval -- he was basically allowed to get out of the contractual obligations that were in WRITING. my attorney said since i had given him several verbal approval for changes -- i was sunk trying to get the ones that he had in writing -- that did not get done.

it was not a pleasant experience

on second thought -- don't verbally agree to anything -- make sure there is a change order for EVERY change during the build process -- trust me - you will have tons of changes.

most builders say you will go over by 20% -- that is very close to accurate
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 97BossHammer
ps. My friend that basically is the contractor said he'll charge 15K to do it all....basically cost/plus type of deal.
Sounds cheap but maybe he's a really good friend. On a $300k+/- 25k(cost only not with my fee) house when someone asks me I usually will charge $40k, I tell this after going thru a budget sheet and schedule, they then have a better inkling off what is involved. Also they don't hit the floor quite as hard after fainting. ON spec homes I've sold between 380k to 500k our minimum would be 18%. It might vary in areas homes are more expensive than down south here. Those numbers include land and septic or sewer connections.
Hope this helps.
G.L.
PS: ask about bank and lender references from your GC also.
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