Finding the right design build firm is vital for any home builder. They should be reputable, qualified, within your budget and match your personality and communication style. To determine who matches all those criteria, you’ll need to do a lot of research. While your research must include some good old-fashioned phone calls, the internet can also give you a good head start. But, do reviews matter when choosing a design build company? Here are some tips to help navigate online reviews.
Where to look
You can start with any internet search for design build firms, and see what comes up. For a more focused search of professional services, trade sites like Houzz provide large databases of established companies. You can search for firms in your area, and see their overall rating and read reviews. The Better Business Bureau can also tell you if a company has a history of poor performance, or if formal complaints have been filed against them.
How to interpret what you read
While services like Yelp, Google Reviews and social media can be a great way for everyone to have a voice, you have to be careful not to let the angry voices dominate the room. Pay attention to not just what people write, but how they write it. Check for things like spelling, grammar and whether someone was willing to leave their full name (not a screen name). Generally, take anonymous reviews with a grain of salt. And take note of what they’re actually reviewing. The work quality? Price? Efficiency? Communication styles? Customer service? But more than anything, don’t let just one person’s review — whether positive or negative — determine your opinion. Nearly every company will have a negative review posted somewhere. That can happen for a number of reasons. But if the majority of their reviews are positive, then the company likely does good work. That’s why composite scores — usually how many stars they have on a site like Houzz or Yelp — can be helpful.
While reviews can be a great starting point, you’ll still want to meet prospective design build companies in person and ask them plenty of questions. The National Association of Home Builders has a list of suggestions here. With a little time and research, you can sort through the noise and find the design build company perfect for you.
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