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Educational Consumer Tips

Home Construction

Author: Better Business Bureau

If you are considering building a new home, the most important decisions will be made before you select a builder or location. You'll have to reconcile the features you want in a new home with the limitations of your budget. Quality and value will be the most important considerations in evaluating future decisions.

When you consider location, consider amenities like shopping, schools, and churches; infrastructure like highways, utilities, easements, and transit; taxing districts whether city, county or school; and zoning restrictions and property covenants which may govern outbuildings like sheds, pools, or types of fencing.

Select your builder with extreme care. Find someone who can sit down and talk with you at any stage during construction. To get references, use the BBB, the local homebuilders' association at, and talk with other people who have had their homes built by the contractor you're evaluating. Some things to find out about include: the length of time the builder has been in business; the previous customer's level of satisfaction; and availability for repair covered by warranty. With the thousands of components that make up a home, it is unrealistic to expect that workmanship will be flawless and every component of the house will function perfectly the first time. Also, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what to do when problems occur.

Begin a thorough filing system with separate folders for: contracts, loans and payment schedules, receipts, warranties, plans and blueprints, papers surrounding your existing home sale, moving contracts, and even a separate file for miscellaneous papers. Many papers of these will also be helpful for credit when completing your tax return.

Prior to closing, there should be a presettlement walk-through with detailed explanations of operation, finish standards, and a full explanation of all warranty agreements including those supplied by the manufacturers of items like appliances, roofing, or carpeting.

Before making any payments, you should expect to get sworn statements that all bills for materials and labor have been paid for by the contractor.

At closing, there will be a large number of papers to be signed. Stop the proceedings and make sure that you understand what each one means. Your signature on these papers mean that you understand, agree and accept what's on them - regardless if you have read the papers or not.

For additional information visit the National Homebuilders' web site at

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