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Finding a Builder and Architect

When you have made the decision to build a house, you have conquered an important hurdle, but definitely not the last one. Now you will need to find professionals to carry your plans from the idea stage to construction and completion of the house. If you are buying in an established subdivision, you may have to use a builder who has bought lots there, or you may be able to use one of your choice. If your are building a custom home, you will want to find and compare several architects and builders.

Finding Contractors and Builders

Unless you have plans of being your own general contractor (definitely NOT recommended if you are building your first home or unless you have extensive experience in dealing with subcontractors) you will need to find a contractor or builder to build your house. Finding a builder is not that difficult. Finding one that you have confidence in and who can meet your budget requirements takes a little more work. One source of information is those you know who have recently had houses built for them. Since the experience will be fresh in their mind, they will be able to give you a great deal of input regarding that particular contractor. Questions to ask:

  • Would you have the builder build another house for you? (This one will probably tell you almost everything you need to know!)
  • How was the quality of the work? Of the materials used?
  • How was the relationship between the builder and the subcontractors?
  • Was the house done on time? If it wasn't, was it the builder's fault?

Another source of finding builders is available on the Internet. ServiceMagic will work with you to find a pre-screened contractor who meets your needs for location, needs and budget. See the ServiceMagic site for more information on their service, customer testimonials and more.

Finding an Architect or Designer

If you want to start from "scratch" and custom build a house, you most likely will need to employ the services of a professional architect. An architect can take the photograph of the house that you have envisioned in your mind and turn it into a buildable blueprint. Just as important, an architect can not only make certain that your planned design is structurally sound but also make certain that it will meet the requirements of the various building codes in effect in your community.

If you are also shopping for a contractor to build your custom house, having the design work completed prior to meeting with builders means that you will get accurate--and comparable--bids on the job. When a contractor knows precisely what they are going to be dealing with as far as square footage, design attributes and amenities, they will be able to much more accurately put a precise price on the project.
 

There are a number of sources for finding architects and designers. Personal recommendations are a good way to go, since you will likely be able to get input as to ability as how easy they are to work with. Some of the questions that you should be asking when you are evaluating an architect or designer are:

  • Was the design work done in a timely manner? When there were deadlines to be dealt with, were they met?
  • Did the architect pay heed to your input?
  • Did the architect work well with your chosen builder?

If you want to locate an architect or designer in your area, ServiceMagic does the same screening process with these professionals that they do with contractors and builders. You can find more information here.