Once you decide to build a home, there are a million choices to make. If you choose to use a design-build firm (like TailorCraft), one of the first — and most important — decisions is which company to use. Especially for first-time home builders or renovators, it can be an intimidating process. Here are some tips on how to choose the right design build company.
Make a list
Ultimately, the key to choosing the right design build company is research. To start, make a list of the design build companies in your area. Check with your local homebuilders association, browse your local newspaper’s advertisements and classifieds section, talk to friends and neighbors, and see what you can find online.
Check them out
If it’s a long list, you’ll want to narrow it down to your top 3-4 options. Check their websites and social media pages to get a feel for their work quality and style. Any reputable design build company should be proud of their work, and have their portfolio readily available for you to view. Online reviews can be useful, but in-person recommendations are usually more reliable. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau document any formal complaints that have been filed against a company, and provide reliable ratings systems.
Once you’ve got your short list, meet with your top candidates in person. Get a list of references, and make contact with those former clients. If the design build company won’t supply references, regardless of the reason, that’s a red flag. There’s no better way to gauge how closely a company comes to meeting its promises than from past experience.
Along with references, don’t be shy about asking your design build company questions. If you’re not sure where to start, the National Association of Home Builders offers these suggestions. You will definitely want to get a feel for how much flexibility you’ll have throughout the design and build process, how they communicate about changes in the project or its cost, and other details. And, of course, can this design build company fit into your budget? Also ask if they offer warranties, what their financing options are, and how they handle any zoning/permitting obligations that may come with the project. If you have some part of your project that’s especially unique or challenging, make sure the company can accommodate your idea, or if not, find a suitable compromise/replacement.
Trust your instincts
Your meet with the design build companies is also a good time to get a feel for how well your personality and vision matches theirs. It’s not just about cost and work quality -- building a home is a very personal endeavor, and it takes a long time. You want to find a design build company with whom you’ll enjoy working. If you don’t click with the team during early meetings, don’t brush aside your feelings and hope for the best. Home building projects can be wonderful with the right team in place.
Still have questions? Let us help! Contact us here.