Building a home is an incredibly exciting prospect for any family. Whether it will be your first home, or your dream build that you’ve been thinking about for years, you have the chance to custom design a space specifically to your family’s needs and tastes. Yet there’s no denying it – it’s a very stressful process, even if it all runs smoothly. The right builder can turn your dream into reality, whilst the wrong choice can be far more hassle than they’re worth. If you’re looking for answers before you commit, here’s everything you need to ask a potential home builders.

1. Are you a licensed builder?

This is the single most important question you could ask a potential builder. Never work with anyone who isn’t licensed, even if you’re trying to save costs or work with friends or family. By taking risks, you could be forgoing insurances and warranties, and you don’t have any guarantee about the quality of work you’ll receive.

2. Have you ever built a home like ours before?

This way you can see how well your home builder executes a particular style, such as heritage, ultra-modern, or even eco-friendly. Don’t work with a builder who says they can do ‘anything’, because you need assurances that your builder can handle your home, rather than making it up as they go along.

3. Do you have client references and testimonials?

If they have built homes in a similar style, ask for references and testimonials. This way you can see how other clients felt while working with them and you’ll know what to expect when you begin working together. Where possible, ask to visit their most recent projects or jobsites.

4. What is the typical construction sequence?

This question may come as a surprise to many home builders, but they should be able to answer it easily and confidently. Experienced builders generally follow the same process for each project, and they can walk you through that, so you envision the actual experience of having your home custom built.

5. How will you determine the exact cost?

Financial conversations are always uncomfortable, but when making such a large investment, it pays to ask. An experienced team should be willing to disclose how they reach a final figure, and help you get the most bang for your buck.

6. Who will be supervising the build?

With larger companies, the head builder won’t necessarily be on site the entire time. You should be able to meet – and feel comfortable with – their site supervisor. After all, they are the ones who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the build, and they’re the first to know if something’s gone wrong.

7. Will there be contractors on site?

In general, most home builders don’t have all the trades on their pay role. Instead, they contract out to other companies when they need plumbers, electricians and the like. Your site supervisor will be overseeing their work, but you may want to look into these companies as well to ensure they meet your standards.

8. How do you deal with difficulties and setbacks?

This is another question that your home builder may not expect. If they try to tell you that setbacks don’t happen on their sites, they are lying to you. No matter how qualified the team, something will always go wrong, and it’s important that they communicate these issues openly and promptly.

The key to interviewing potential home builders is to be prepared. Often, they don’t expect you to ask tricky questions like what their construction sequence is and how they deal with setbacks. A fully qualified and experienced building team won’t just know the answers to these questions, they will be happy to share them. Once you’ve found a builder you’re satisfied with, you’ll be able to turn your dreams into a reality.