How To Hire A Home Builder: Questions You Need To Ask

Building your dream home in New Jersey can be a rewarding process. Have you ever considered having a custom home built for you and your family? If so, you will need to hire a home builder. You might get a referral from someone you know, see an advertisement in print or online or get the name of a reputable company from your local chamber of commerce. There are so many new and experienced home building contractors to choose from in NJ.

How do you know which one is the right builder for you? What questions should you ask them? In this blog post, we will discuss the questions that you should ask when hiring custom home builders.

What Features Are Included In The Price?

When you are trying to compare different builders, one of the first questions you need to ask is what features are included in their price. This can vary widely from builder to builder. Some will include everything in their base price, while others will have add-ons that will drive up the cost. You need to know what you are getting for your money so that you can make an informed decision.

How Much Can I Customize My Home?

This is an important question to ask because you want to be sure that the builder is willing and able to build the home you envision. If they are not willing or able to make changes to the plans, then you may make the decision to look for other builders who will be more open to your input. Consider finding a builder with an in-house architect.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the builder charges for customization. Some builders will charge a fee for making changes to the plans while others will include it in the overall cost of the project. Adding a basement to a plan that doesn’t include one won’t likely fall under the original quoted price. Keep expectations reasonable and understand that some customizations will add a great deal to the materials and labor needed to complete the project.

You should also ask about what kind of building materials the builder uses. This can impact both the quality and price of your home. If you have specific materials that you want to be used in your home, be sure to ask if the builder can accommodate your request. You can read about How to Choose a House Plan When Building a New Home? HERE.

Can I Request Upgrades After The Building Starts?

The answer to this question depends on the home builder you hire. Some builders may be open to making changes after the building process has begun, while others may not be as flexible. It’s important to ask this question up front so that you know what to expect during the build.

If the builder you’re considering is not willing to make any changes once the build has started, then you’ll need to be very clear about what you want before work begins. This means that you’ll need to have a good idea of your budget and what kind of upgrades you’re looking for. Once you have this information, you can start searching for a builder who is willing to work within your parameters.

Can You Provide Testimonials From Previous Home Buyers?

Any reputable builder should have no problem giving you references from past clients. These references can give you a good idea of what it is like to work with that particular builder. You can ask about things like communication, quality of work, and whether or not they stayed on budget.

Take some time to search online to find testimonials or reviews of the company you are considering. This is a great way to build trust with a company you’ve never worked with before because the owners don’t have the ability to remove negative reviews that get posted. If a builder does not have any references or online reviews, ask them why and be very careful moving forward from this point.

Do You Have Any Other Projects In Progress?

Hopefully the answer is no, or at least very few. If the projects are local and in different phases of construction, that would be preferred. A home builder who is currently working on other projects is not likely to be able to give your project the attention it deserves. You want a builder who will be focused on your project and will work diligently to complete it in a timely manner.

Can I Visit Custom Homes You’ve Built?

The builder should be able to provide you with a list of homes that they recently completed or are currently under construction. You can also ask the builder for locations of the homes in NJ that they have built in the past. This will give you an idea of their workmanship and quality. Builders should be able to provide you with references from past clients as well.

If the New Jersey home builder is not willing to allow you to visit a home they are currently working on or have worked on in the past, research the company and find out why. A reputable builder will have nothing to hide and will be happy to show off their work. Transparency is key when hiring a home builder.

Tell Me The Timeline For New Home Construction Phase?

Another important question to ask is what the builder’s schedule looks like. If they are already booked solid for the next year, you may not want to wait for them. On the other hand, if they have some flexibility in their schedule, that may work better for you. An outstanding company is likely to be busy, especially if you contact them to get started during the warmer summer months. Plan ahead as often as possible so that you can work with the builder you want without getting frustrated by a delayed start to your project. It all depends on your timeline and what you are looking for in a builder.

Will There Be A New Home Warranty Included?

If not, what kind of warranty does the builder offer? How long is the warranty valid? What does the warranty cover? These are important questions to ask a home builder before hiring them.

You want to make sure that you are covered in case something goes wrong with your new home. A warranty can give you peace of mind and help you avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Questions You Might Not Have Considered But Are Important To Ask

Tell Me The Type Of Houses You Build?

There are many different types of homes that can be built, so you need to make sure that the home builder you hire is experienced in building the type of home you want. You don’t want to hire a builder who specializes in luxury homes to build your modest starter home. Likewise, you don’t want to hire a builder who only builds small homes if you’re planning on building a large, custom home.

Ask the builders you interview what types of homes they specialize in building. If they build the type of home you’re looking for, ask to see some examples of their work. This will give you a good idea of their quality and style. If you are looking to have an energy-efficient home built but the builder you’re interviewing has no experience that may be a sign to keep interviewing.

How Long Have You Been Building Homes?

You want to hire a home builder who has plenty of experience. Building a home is a complicated process and you want someone who knows what they’re doing. Many times, contractor website or online profiles will mention the year the business was founded or the years of industry experience the owner has under their belt. Talk to the owner about their experience and when they got started building homes in New Jersey. The last thing you want is for your home to be a test project for someone who’s just starting out.

How Many Homes Have You Built?

In addition to the length of time of their experience, you also want to hire a home builder who has built several homes. It’s possible to have been a builder for 10 years but to have only built fewer than 5 new construction homes in that time. Asking detailed questions like this will give you confidence that they know how to handle different situations that may come up during the construction process. If a problem does arise, you want to know that your builder has the knowledge and expertise to fix it quickly and efficiently.

How Quickly Can Walkthrough Errors Be Fixed?

It’s important to ask a home builder how quickly they can fix walkthrough errors. Building a new home is a complicated process and you may not have an opportunity to personally see each step as it unfolds. Knowing that issues can be corrected quickly can make the process easier.

You don’t want to move into your new home and find out that there are issues with your new kitchen counter not being properly sealed. Or a closet door that just won’t close quite right. It’s important to make sure that the builder you hire is able to fix any issues quickly and efficiently so your entire home is exactly how you imagined..

Can You Tell Me The Long-Term Plan For The Neighborhood?

One of the most important questions you can ask a home builder is the long-term plan for the neighborhood. If the builder is the main contractor for a housing development, this will help you get an understanding of how committed they are to the area, and what kind of changes you can expect in the future. Sometimes a home builder invests in a lot to build on in an existing neighborhood – but they generally won’t do that far from where they are based and they certainly chose the land for a reason. A conversation about the neighborhood helps to give you insight into what to expect from your neighbors as well as opportunities for travel, shopping and recreation. Another relevant question is to find out if there is a homeowner’s association in the neighborhood.

It’s important to know that your builder is invested in the community and that they have a vision for its future. Are they planning to be involved with future projects in the area or is your home a “one and done” situation? The future value of your new home will greatly depend on the future homes in your new neighborhood.

Who Will Oversee The New Home Construction?

This is important for a few reasons. First, you want to make sure that there is someone who is responsible for managing the project from start to finish. Secondly, you want to be sure that the person who is overseeing the construction has the experience and knows what they are doing. Finally, if something goes wrong during the construction process, you want to know that you have direct contact with someone who can make sure it gets fixed.

Where To Buy Land To Build A House In New Jersey

Do You Have Insurance?

This is an important question to ask for your own protection. Make sure that the builder has insurance in case something goes wrong during the construction process. This will protect you from having to pay for any damages out of your own pocket.

Find the Best New Jersey Home Builder

Building a new home is a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. By asking the right questions, you can find the perfect builder for your project.

Don’t hesitate to ask a potential builder any of the questions listed above. And if they can’t give you a straight answer or seem evasive, that’s a red flag that you should keep looking. The last thing you want is to end up with a subpar home or worse, no home at all.

Hiring a new home builder can seem uncertain but by following these simple tips, you’ll be confident that you can find the perfect one for your needs. With so many things to consider, it’s important to ask the right questions when interviewing builders.

Are You Ready to Build a Custom Home? Call 732-905-0005 or Contact Us Now!


  • Michelle Garofalo

    Michelle Garofalo is the guiding force behind MSC Enterprises, LLC, a prominent custom home builder and real estate developer in Monmouth County and Ocean County, New Jersey. With over 25 years in real estate development, her expertise extends from a successful career in the solar industry, where she managed over 75MW of projects. Co-founding Infiniti Energy, Michelle now oversees day-to-day operations and leads business development, ensuring a seamless journey for clients. Her meticulous approach and commitment to excellence are reflected in MSC's residential and commercial properties, known for their quality, durability, and energy efficiency.