How to Compare Home Builders?

How do you choose the perfect homebuilder to make your dream home a reality? This is a question plenty of prospective homebuyers are faced with each and every year. While building your forever home from the ground up is certainly an exciting time, it also has the potential to feel a little overwhelming! Particularly in a growing market like Kansas City (and the Northland, in general), there are plenty of choices to be made before you actually get to picking out the materials. If you have kids, you’ll surely want to build in an area that feeds into a reputable school district. Just about everyone will want something in a city that’s growing to ensure it maintains (or increases) it’s home value. Last, but not least, you most definitely want to work with a builder that can deliver a consistent product in a stress-free manner!

Our team at Hearthside Homes takes pride in following a tried-and-tested process that keeps our customers in the loop every step of the way! Having said that, this week’s blog post will cover the homebuyer’s journey in finding an ideal builder for their project. We’ll cover the various topics you should consider when comparing builders and ultimately, what you should be looking for to separate quality options from lackluster ones. 

Experience & Reviews

Our first comparison tip might seem a bit obvious, but simply cannot be understated! When it comes to any type of construction or trade-related project, you can’t discount the value of experience. In your initial meetings with a builder, ask them questions like: How long have you been in business? How many years have you been building a particular floor-plan? While answering this with a large number of years doesn’t completely give you the green light, it does help alleviate some concerns.

Another platform you’ll want to examine is their reviews or testimonials. Even though there’s a countless number of sites that track reviews (Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Houzz, Yelp), you don’t necessarily need to check everywhere. Although if you have the time and want that extra piece of mind, feel free to do so. However, a great starting point for reviews is on Google. Their platform has become the “cream of the crop” for accumulating feedback on a business’s ability to follow through on what they sell. Examine things like the frequency in which they receive the reviews and what context is included in the actual reviews.

Do You Actually Like the Builder?

As mentioned in the introduction, for some buyers, it can be difficult to differentiate between builders. There’s no denying the fact that markets the size of Kansas City boast plenty of quality home building companies. Many of these may offer similar styles, in the same ballpark price figures, with plenty of experience and building within the same general areas. 

It is in these types of scenarios where you must examine some of the intangibles. No matter how you slice it, building a home from the ground up is a long process that’s always going to take at least 6 months, if not much longer! With that said, communication between the home buyer and the builder is critical. Because of the complexity of this project, any discomfort you may feel toward the builder can turn the entire process into a true nightmare! 

The best way to compare this amongst local builders in your area is to carefully examine how they interact with you, the buyer, as well as interacting amongst their own team. You want someone that listens to your questions and truly displays a willingness to have your best interest in mind. While you’ll never know for sure what they’re like in the building process until you get started, you can tell a lot about their overall persona in these initial consultation meetings. Additionally, add this concept to your list of things to be mindful of when analyzing reviews. Do any of the individuals leaving the reviews say anything about interacting with the builder team? Do they mention statements like “easy to work with” or “stress-free?”

What If Something Goes Awry Later On?

When building a new construction home, you obviously don’t expect anything to be wrong when it comes time to move in! However, there’s always going to be that possibility of a hiccup a few months after closing. The odds are probably slim with quality home builders, but there’s still that slight chance. Any builder you consider should understand that their responsibility doesn’t technically end once construction is completed. With this, we’re referencing that they should have some type of warranty in place. It should be completely clear what is covered, how long the warranty is active for and so on. If a builder doesn’t have a printed warranty that clearly covers what is included, move on to the next builder on your list right away! Trust us, it’s way too big of an investment to leave any of that in limbo!

Do Your Homework!

Based on the magnitude of a new home build purchase, it’s important to make sure you are 100% confident before deciding to proceed with the project! With that in mind, it’s never going to hurt to do a little additional research in addition to the items mentioned above. Here’s a few more items to keep on your list in comparing homebuilders:

  • Digital Brand: Yes, a fancy website and cool marketing content doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best builder in the city, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t either! It’s no secret nearly all businesses are aware of the need for creating a digital brand behind their business. After all, it’s something every company (no matter the industry!) should be focused on in 2020! When viewing a builder’s Facebook and Instagram pages, use this as yet another resource for understanding their style. It should serve as inspiration for ideas you would like to include in your own home!
  • View Model Homes: One of the easiest ways to detect the quality put forth by a particular builder is by seeing their homes in-person. For any builder you’re considering, check out model homes they have built. It’s a great way to analyze their attention to detail and craftsmanship.
  • Chat With Real Estate Agents: As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, any feedback you can receive from a builder’s past clients is well worth your time! Another potential avenue to reach out to are new construction real estate agents. Many of them have plenty of experience showing homes from various builders and likely have solid opinions of who is best at what!

Build With Hearthside Homes!

Here at Hearthside Homes, we’re thankful to have had the opportunity to work with thousands of Kansas City homeowners over the years. We understand the entire home building process can seem a little daunting from the on-set. After all, you’ll have the opportunity to customize everything from the paint color to the granite countertops! As evidenced throughout this article, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make early on is, “Who will be responsible for turning this vision of a dream home into a reality?” Selecting a builder is similar to any other service provider you may hire for a project, just on a much larger scale! 

If you’re looking to build in the Northland area, you’ve come to the right place! Our team builds throughout Kansas City, Kearney, Liberty and Parkville. This includes homes in a number of different price-points, as well as various floor plan styles. If you would like to take a look through our current listings, click the link here. Additionally, for those interested in speaking with one of our homebuilding experts, feel free to fill out the form here and we’ll be in touch!