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7 Steps to Select a Home Builder and Build your Dream Home

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Building a home is a significant investment, and selecting the right builder is critical to ensuring that your dream home becomes a reality. Choosing the right builder can be daunting, but with careful planning and research, you can find the right builder who can bring your vision to life.

When you’re ready to reach out, it’s important to do your research on contractors in your area. You can start by asking friends and family whom they recommend or by searching online for custom home builders in Charlotte or other cities near you. Home Builders Association of Greater Charlotte (HBGC) is a great resource to help find local home builders. It’s also beneficial to read the reviews of each contractor and look at their project specialties.

Here are seven steps to selecting a home builder:

1. Determine your limitations (feasibility)

Before starting your home-building project, you need to determine your limitations, such as feasibility, budget, and land ownership. Determine whether the land you want to build on is in a flood zone or a historic district, through your county website, such as Mecklenburg GIS. These limitations will help you to understand the scope of the project and set realistic expectations.

2. Budget

Setting a budget is an essential step when building a home. Consider talking to a home builder or architect to understand a ballpark cost for your project. Talk to your bank or financial advisor to see what you can borrow or spend responsibly. From the reviews of several of our clients, South State Bank has been wonderful to work with in getting their project; renovations, additions and new builds financed. It’s always a good idea to leave a cushion for any upgrades you may want along the journey.

3. Basic Scope (be practical)

Start by determining the basic scope of your home, including your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Having references of your inspiration is very helpful for conveying your ideal design aesthetic to the GC's and their design team. Pinterest and Instagram are great places to start if you're unsure of the design direction you want to pursue. Sketch a layout either on paper or online with basic dimensions to help you visualize your project. This step will help you to manage your expectations and set a realistic deadline.

Now is a good time to contact a contractor and your bank to understand a ballpark cost for your project before investing money into plans.

4. Detailed Scope (be specific)

Hire an architect or drafter to develop detailed plans for your project. You can also buy plans online. After you have architectural drawings you must get the plans engineered. During this time you can make all of your design selections. If you are looking for further inspiration and want to visit a store to speak with the experts, Pro Tops, Impeccable Closets, Queen City Appliances, and Blackhawk Hardware are two great distributors of countertops, cabinets, and hardware in the Greater Charlotte area. When making material selections, Pella (window & door inspiration), Queen City Stone & Tile, and James Hardie are all great resources to help you in your design process.

5. Make Arrangements

You will need a place to live during the project, so make arrangements accordingly. A lot of homeowners in South Charlotte choose Strawberry Hill Apartments. Talk to your homeowner’s insurer about a builder’s risk policy, which will protect your property during the construction process. Finally, send out your bid package, including specifications, plans, designs, and materials.

6. Select a Builder

When selecting a builder, it's essential to do your homework. Ask for references, walk their other job sites, and check the proper licenses. Since you already have a detailed scope, you won’t need to worry so much about pricing fluctuations. If the scope is vague, it is also hard to determine if the contractor is at fault if you don’t like the finished product. Consider whether you want a fixed price or a cost-plus contract.

7. Close on Your Financing

To close on your financing, you will need your contractor awarded. To close on your financing, you will typically need to meet with your lender or mortgage broker to review and sign the loan documents. During the project, the bank will send an inspector to verify the completed work and disperse funds directly to the contractor. You will be responsible for any funds above and beyond what is in the loan so please be sure to get the total scope and costs finalized before closing the loan.

If you don’t have time to manage these steps and you can go straight to a Design/Build Contractor can be a great option. Design/Build Contractors like QC General Contractors can help walk you through the whole process, from

  • Pre-construction evaluation

  • Full-scope design with 3D renderings

  • Referring trusted local architects

  • Finally helping to provide the necessary paperwork to close on the construction loan.

Building a home is a significant investment, but with careful planning and research, you can find the right builder to create your dream home. Following these seven steps can help you navigate the process and ensure that your home-building project is a success.

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