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Home Builder Tips

5 Top Home Building Tips from Westcoast Moulding

At Westcoast Moulding & Millwork Limited, your comfort and convenience is our priority. Hiring someone to build your home project, or supervising the project yourself? Are you letting the contractor handle the home finishing touches, or are you "hands on” about the details? Regardless of your approach to home building or renovation, it’s important to know potential issues to watch out for. The more aware you are, the more comfortable you’ll be that you’re making informed decisions about your home building project.

For more tips and product advice, email us today or visit the Westcoast Moulding and Millwork showroom to speak to one of our representatives.

1. Understand Your Contractor

Ask for references so you can talk to former customers and see the work of the home builder first hand, to ensure the quality of work and to see if their style matches what you are looking for. Get estimates from all the home builders you contact, and determine which of them will give you the most for what you can afford. Ensure the contractor is bonded and insured, and get the name and location of the insurance company. Ensure that the home builder’s crew are experienced and covered by Worker’s Compensation, and that the contractor is regularly on-site to ensure the work proceeds as scheduled. Questions to ask:

  • Did the home builder finish on time and on budget?
  • What were the additional costs or changes, if any?
  • How were conflicts or problems resolved? If the home builder does something in a way I don't like, will the house be completed or will something be left out?
  • How often was the contractor at the work site?
  • Am I allowed on the work site to inspect the work as it progresses?

2. Understand Your Contract

Read your contract carefully and understand what you are paying for and responsible for, and what the contractor is responsible for. The more time and effort you spend up front establishing project specifics, the better the chance for a smoother construction period and a satisfactory result. Questions to ask:

  • What exactly am I getting from the builder?
  • Who is responsible, overall, for my building project?
  • What are specifications, and does the home builder write and provide them?
  • Is landscaping included, and are landscape features guaranteed?
  • When will the house be finished?

3. Keep Record of Materials and Costs

Track of anything you add, delete or reduce to your home building project, especially after the contract is signed. Follow up verbal discussions or instructions with written verification. Keep receipts, phone call records, correspondence, the model/type/style numbers of approved samples, and sales slips. Keep costs in perspective: you pay for every square foot of space built, so ensure that the plans show that every square foot is used efficiently for your needs. Watch out for expenses that are not what you want or what you asked for.

Questions to ask:

  • What problems have I experienced in past homes that I don't want to repeat?
  • What does that line on the drawing mean?
  • Will I be able to change this feature easily or cheaply after it is built?
  • What is "an extra"?
  • Is that a good material, since I've never heard of it?
  • Who picks the color of the paint, wall coverings, and home finishing materials?

4. Ensure Building Compliance

Don’t get distracted by or overspend on fancy home features or home finishing touches instead of ensuring you’re paying for and using the right quality materials for basic construction—such as installing a spa shower stall and high-end fixtures in a bathroom that has an improperly installed plumbing system, constructed with poor quality or inappropriate materials. You should reasonably expect a substantially built project, including a properly designed and installed structural system that is free of defects and in compliance with all applicable building and materials codes and regulations. You should get proof from the contractor of such compliance.

Questions to ask:

  • What is a building code and how does it affect my project?
  • What is a dispute or a lien?
  • What is a good design for my needs in a home?
  • What are good sizes and proportions for rooms? What style do I want?

5. Be Flexible and Professional

Be ready and prepared to compromise during the construction process. Your idea of absolute perfection may be unachievable due to site conditions and human error, but be wary if the home builder proposes using an unheard-of new technology, untested materials and equipment, or unskilled workers. Regardless, be professional when you deal with the home builder and the crew, even if a friend or relative performs part of the work. Treat everyone the same way, i.e. have a contract and a completion schedule.

Questions to ask:

  • Where can I find answers and help? How do I make my desires known?
  • What if I disagree with the builder? Can I stop the work?
  • I really want this feature or material in the home, instead of what the contractor wants to use; how do I get exactly that?
  • I can buy the light fixtures from a relative or elsewhere for a great price, but will the contractor install them?

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