The vast majority of builders are happy to provide prospective clients with a list of people for whom they have recently built homes. They encourage prospective clients to call these references and ask about their experience and level of satisfaction.
Homeowners who fail to check their builder’s references do themselves a disservice. After all, a reference check is an easy way to avoid trouble and an important confirmation that hiring a particular company is a good choice.
Reference call etiquette
Like you, our past clients are highly successful people who lead busy lives. When calling a reference, let them know who you are and the purpose of the call, ask their permission to speak to them at this time. Also be direct and respectful of their time.
Consider these questions as a starting point for learning more about your home builder:
- How was the overall experience?
- What kind of home did you build?
- Was the home finished on time and on budget?
- Would you recommend the builder to others?
Some additional questions could include:
- Is the company organized?
- Did the individuals within the company communicate well and keep you informed?
- Were the builder and his team pleasant to work with? Any construction project is a team effort, and the best contractors have good working relationships with everyone, including architects, interior designers and subcontractors.
- And lastly, Is there anything else you want me to know or something you would like to add?
Be sure to thank the reference for their time and information. If you do uncover a problem, don’t jump to conclusions and be sure to get both sides of the story. For instance, if the home went over budget, a follow-up conversation might reveal that the homeowners made a lot of costly changes after the home was underway. These types of conversations set the stage for honest communication. Any reluctance on the part of the builder to provide references is a red flag. A forthcoming attitude is a good sign that the builder values transparency and is secure in his or her reputation.