Building a new home is exciting, joyous, nerve-wracking, overwhelming… all of the above and then some. When you opt for a custom home, you want to find the right builder to help achieve your goals and vision without compromise, without sacrifice, and without settling for what’s already on the market. But where do you start? How do you find the right builder? What else do you need to know?  

To help you navigate the process, we have compiled a list of two million questions… which should just about cover it. It can feel like there are two million questions racing through your mind, but when you have solid answers, everything else will begin to fall into place.  

A Much More Manageable List of Questions to Ask a Builder Before Building a New Home 

What is Your Experience? Are You Fully Licensed and Insured? 

Before building a new home, it is essential that you choose the right builder. It sounds simple, but do your homework. Ask about the builder’s experience:  

  • How long have they been in business?  
  • How many homes have they built?  
  • What styles do they specialize in? Have experience with? 
  • Do they have the proper licensure and insurance?  
  • Do they have certifications and designations from industry associations (e.g. National Association of Home Builders’ Graduate Master Builder, Certified Graduate Builder, Certified Green Professional, etc.)? 

Can I View Previous Projects?  

The builder should have a gallery of projects on their website and various social media profiles. But it is also important to experience a home for yourself. G&G, for example, works with several local vendors to showcase our homes. Visit one of our partners to explore flooring, appliances, fixtures, and more. Model homes allow you to get a sense of the builder’s style and the quality and craftsmanship of their work. 

Can I Speak to References?  

The only acceptable answer here is “Yes!” Ask for a list, and start calling or emailing. Be sure to ask references to tell you about their experience, the high points, what could have been better, if they are satisfied, etc. 

What Does the Process Look Like?  

Building a new home is an… adventure. It can feel more like a rollercoaster at times, but with the right builder, all the ups and downs are manageable. A streamlined process should put your needs and goals front and center and help you know what to expect throughout the home building journey.  

G&G intentionally selects a limited number of homes to build each year so each homeowner is given the attention, guidance, information, support, and time necessary to make well-informed decisions and actually enjoy the process. They work directly with owner Joe Garcia, ensuring the highest level of service, communication, and quality.  

How Long Will It Take?  

Good question! It depends. Typically, you are looking at one to two months for the design phase. After we break ground, the construction and finishing phase takes between eight and nine months. This will vary depending on factors, such as the size of your home and the weather. As you know, supply chain challenges have created delays and shortages; rest assured we handle ordering proactively and make every effort to complete your project in a timely manner.  

Where Do You Build?  

You have options here. The builder may focus on a specific community or communities, but ideally, they have the flexibility to build on your own lot as well.  

Who Is My Point of Contact?  

Having one person you can call, text, or email helps streamline your project. It keeps you from being passed from person to person as you seek answers or assistance, and there is never any doubt about who you can turn to. Your point of contact becomes an integral partner in the process. Ask who this person will be – and get a name! 

What Is “Standard”? What Is an “Upgrade”?  

In a full custom home, there is no “standard.” You are in control of each element that goes in, from flooring to fixtures. That said, G&G works with high-quality vendors and suppliers, including Therma-Tru, Carrier & Bryant, Pella, Anderson, Delta, Kohler, Thermador & GE, and more to ensure optimal results. 

What Can I Expect in Terms of Green Building, Energy Efficiency, and Performance?  

This is a priority for many homeowners. A high-performance home with a ThermoShield program, for example, is at least 15% more efficient than homes built to the 2012 Energy Conservation Code. This system delivers exceptional air sealing, insulation, windows and doors, HVAC, water management, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Green building techniques also focus on energy and water efficiency, resource-efficient building design and materials, air quality, and environmental impact. Ask about these solutions. 

How Do I Communicate with You and Stay Updated on My Project?  

Communication must be clear, streamlined, easy, and effective. To keep you up to date, and keep you as involved in your project as you want to be, G&G uses Buildertrend. This web-based service allows you to check out your building schedule, track spending, view photos, and communicate with your builder quickly and easily. 

Tell Me About Your Cost Structure? How and When Do I Pay?  

Use this helpful budget calculator to get a ballpark of your custom home costs. In terms of when to pay, builders require an upfront deposit (no more than 15%) for supply and labor costs. At key project milestones (e.g. framing, when the plumbers come in), there will also be required payments. Ask when, and how, you will pay.  


How Do You Handle Change Orders?  

Minimizing change orders helps keep your project on track and on budget. But they happen! How does the builder handle them? With G&G, you can view and approve change orders right on Buildertrend. Easy. 

Do You Offer a Warranty?  

Again, the answer should be “Yes!” Look for a 10-year insured warrant through Residential Warranty Corporation, one of the country’s largest providers of written insured warranties on new homes. Peace of mind is priceless.  

See more questions to ask before building a new home here. 

What’s Next?  

If you get the right answers – and the level of respect, attention, and information you need – feel confident in proceeding towards the next steps of your home build. What are these? Ask your builder how to get started, and how to proceed towards a successful project completion.  

You’ll notice that we didn’t include questions such as “Which light fixtures should I go with?” or “What color is best for my entryway?” or “What type of doors are right for my patio?” The answers will be highly individual and customized to your needs and preferences. And, in asking these questions, particularly in regards to the builder’s experience and process, you will find answers to all the rest as a team. 

Ready to talk? Contact G&G Custom Homes to ask any question you want!