In this article I would like to focus on choosing the RIGHT Owner Builder Service.
Formore information on what most of these services provide see my Owner Builder Home BuildingServices article.
As many of you already know I am an advocate of building your own home.
I built mine usingbuilding contractors and did some of the work myself.
This is my opinion is the best way tosave maximum money.
However, many of you may not have the time or just prefer having aservice assist you when building your home.
This approach may be the best of both worlds foryou saving money and having a professional service assist you.
Yes, you will not save asmuch money, but it may be the best route for you.
Choosing the right Owner Builder Service is paramount to the success of your new homebuilding project.
I would suggest doing the following:
- Find at least 3 home building services that you feel fit your needs and are in yourbudget.
Ask up front for a list of fees.
- Gather all the information on each of them prior to any meeting.
Do a Google, MSNand Yahoo search engine search on each of the services.
You would be surprised what willcome up on businesses today in rating services on the Net.
- Call the BBB, Chamber of Commerce and your local city, county and state governmentsand inquire about complaints that are outstanding and resolved.
Also find out if they are ingood standing with these organizations.
- After you have found 3 that pass your original inquiries and you are satisfied theyare good businesses, then go see them.
Don't do this prior to doing some research.
Don't letfancy websites, brochures, and smooth salesmanship influence you before you have some of thecold hard facts.
Remember past performance equals future behavior.
If they have had seriousproblems in the past you probably don't want to deal with them.
- Do not make a decision in the first sit down meeting with your choices.
Make sureyou do not sign anything and keep your options open until you have followed up with each oneand done further research.
Here are some ideas for questions you need to ask in your meeting with prospective OwnerBuilder Services:
- What do you charge for your services? Are the charges figured on a per square footbased on my house? Are they figured on total square footage (under roof) or living area? Or,is it a flat fee? Will you provide me with a written list of your total fees?
- Do you provide house plans? Are the plans custom house plans that are drawn for you?What are the fees for these plans? How many revisions do you get? What are fees for anyrevisions (if any)? How long will the plans take to be drawn (get this in writing)? How manycopies of the house plans do I receive? Are they complete sets of plans covering all of thetrades? What is my recourse if the plans are wrong?
- What kind of financing do you offer? Do you offer one-time closing options? Do yourun all your financing through one bank? Who is that bank? What are the interest rates etc..
andwhat is your commission for acting as my mortgage broker?
- Do you provide an approved home building contractor list? If so, do they workexclusively for you? Are they all bonded and insured? How big is the list, do you havemultiple contractors on your list in each trade? Can I preview the list in your office toexamine the size of it before I sign with you? What's going to happen if I have a problemwith a contractor? Will you talk with the contractors and help me resolve my problems withthem?
- Do you come to my building site to give me advice and direction? How often do youcome? Will you meet me there so I can learn from your expertise? What exactly will youpersonally do to help me build my home, i.
help me lay out my foundation plan, discussframing problems, etc.
- Do you offer support and assistance over the phone, by email or fax? How exactlywill you respond to me when I need you? Can I ask questions when I need to have themanswered? Will there be a qualified building professional available for me to be able tospeak to? What is the average response time?
- Have you, or anyone associated with you, ever been sued, personally or corporately?(If yes, what were the names, date(s), of the person(s) or corporations that were sued.
) Doyou carry professional liability insurance? May I please have a certificate of insuranceissued by the carrier that states the amount of the insurance? The insurance agent can faxit to your office.
- Can I have a copy of your client list both prior clients and current clients? Ifthey are a reputable service they will be happy to provide you with a list of several oftheir clients for you to call and ask questions.
Go back at least three years.
- Do you provide written building inspections during my building process and when I amfinished building the house?
Compare apples to apples.
Try to be asobjective as you can be.
Some services don't mind you tape recording the meetings and phoneconversations.
Keep a hard copy file of all e-mails.
Call the clients that have used the home building service in the past and the currentclients and ask them about their experience.
Take your time choose the best Owner Builder Service you can by researching and doing yourhomework.
After all, they will be helping you build what will be your new home.
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