Home, Garage and Shed Builders in Virginia Beach
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Building a new structure is exciting, but can be overwhelming, too. A lot of the stress falls under the heading of “finding good help,” and no help is more important during the process than your builder.
On this page we’ll look at how to find a builder that you’ll work with well, who will complete your job on time, while respecting your budget.
Depending on the length of your project, you may be working with this person for a long time.
They will need to understand your needs and what you hope to avoid with the project, so you will want to find someone you work with well.
If you’re a conscious homeowner, you’ll also want to be as easy to work with as you can.
We’ll take a look at how you can make sure that your builder gets paid on time and in the manner they prefer, as well as strategies that will keep you accessible without being underfoot.
How To Choose A Builder
The first step in choosing a builder is finding a pool of possible contenders. Obviously, if anyone you know has used one and been happy with them, you’ll want to take those reviews into account. Another resource for finding potential builders is with local construction companies, architects, designers, and contractors. These sources will be able to tell you what your builder is like to work with. If they’re recommending someone, it usually is a good guarantee that they’ll be reliable.
After you have your initial pool, it’s time to start narrowing it down. You’ll want to have an informational meeting with each prospect and have them take a look at the land where the structure will be built as well as the plans for construction. Here are some important questions to ask that can give you an idea of whether or not this builder has the experience, expertise, and temperment that are going to work best for you:
- How long do you expect this project to take? What are some possible delays I should be on the lookout for?
- Do you think the budget I’ve planned on is reasonable for this project? Are there red flags or unforeseen costs that I’ve missed?
- Have you worked on this type of project before? Are there photos of similar jobs you’ve done that I could take a look at?
- Do you have contractors that you prefer to work with? Will that work for my timeline and budget?
- How does your payment and billing process work?
How Do Builders Get Paid?
This last question brings us to our next subject, which is making sure your builder gets paid correctly. There have been some recent shifts in what’s the accepted industry practice here, so let’s jump into the options so you know what answers you might expect from this conversation.
There are three ways that builders price and bill their services. We’ll break down each one below.
This means that you’ll choose from a set of plans that have set prices and timelines. Each one will have a set price, and that includes everything you’ll need to pay your builder, on whatever timeline the two of you agree to. Frequently, (especially with homes) these plans will leave room for some customization, although they will never be as fully customizable as your own plans. If this is worth the trade off for you, turn-key pricing can be very attractive in terms of convenience.
Cost Plus Percentage Pricing
What this means is that the price is calculated by adding the total cost of construction to a percentage of that cost that constitutes the builder’s fee. The pros and the cons of this are almost two sides of the same coin. You have more flexibility because the builder’s pay is tied to the scale of the job, but that also introduces temptation to change plans mid-stream, when it may be more costly. You have more time to make selections, as you don’t have to choose everything up front, but this means that the budget will need to be watched closely to make sure it doesn’t balloon out of control.
It’s also important to know what your builder’s policy is on working with other design professionals. In some cases, it is standard for decorator’s fees to be added into the cost of the job, which would require you to pay a fee on them as well. For example, if a landscaper charges you $1000 for plants to be installed during the construction process, that may be added in to the cost of the job, which means you would have to pay your builder’s fee on top of it.
Cost Plus Fee Pricing
This pricing model means that the cost of the job is paid to the builder in addition to a pre-negotiated flat rate that constitutes the builder’s fee. With this method, you don’t have to worry about the builder’s fee increasing just because the cost of the job increases. You lose the flexibility of percentage pricing because the scale of the job is locked in at the beginning of the project, but that may provide some needed structure so the job doesn’t get out of hand.
Staying Sane Through Construction
Some basic tips can make the process of living through construction much easier. Even if all the construction is taking place outside your home, as in the case of an outbuilding, you’ll still want to be as prepared as you can. If your construction is a new home, you may be tempted to hang around the site and watch your new house be built, but this isn’t realistic! You’d be in the way. Here are the top 4 things you can do to keep your sanity during the process and not drive your builder crazy:
- Get a firm construction schedule. Knowing what days crews will be working, and what times, will allow you to plan your days so they’ll cause you the least disruption possible. Additionally, this will let you be near on days you know might need your presence or approval on something.
- Ask your builder if there are live-in fees. Some builders charge a surcharge to make up for the inconvenience of a family staying in their home during construction. If yours does, that might make it actually cheaper to stay out of the house during that time.
- If your kitchen will be out of service during any part of the construction, plan to build in summer if possible. This allows you to cook outside at home, saving eating at restaurants every night.
- Be away as much as possible unless you’re specifically needed. If you need to sign for the custom built stove, obviously you should be on site. But outside of specific needs, the more you’re away, the more the builders will be able to focus on their work.