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Greenville builder dream home

Top Questions to Ask Right Now When Hiring a Builder For Your Greenville Home

Considering relocating to Greenville and looking for a South Carolina contractor to build your dream home?

Residential real estate in Greenville, South Carolina is appreciating quickly. Greenville home prices were up 17 percent in March of 2021, from March of 2020. Local newspapers have reported houses selling well over the asking price, due to high demand and low supply.

If you want to invest in a custom house you can to pass down to your children, hire a builder whose work will stand the test of time.

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First Off, Consider Budget Transparency

One way to ensure budget transparency is to choose a builder who uses a pre construction services agreement. Rather than ballpark a bid, we create a budget specifically for your project, based on actual material costs and ongoing conversations with vendors and subs. When you get a final budget from us, it’s very accurate. Multiple line items are spelled out, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Steps To Finding The Perfect Greenville Builder For Your Dream Home

1. Ask around.

Word of mouth referrals are a great way to find out who built the houses you love. Ask friends to recommend Asheville and Greenville contractors they enjoyed working with. Try asking on social media, such as Next Door and Facebook neighborhood groups.

2. Check out the websites and Instagram feeds of Asheville and Greenville builders.

Seasoned builders should have portfolio pages and a social media presence. If they don’t, they may not have built anything of substance. A missing portfolio page is a huge red flag.

3. Read online reviews and testimonials.

A reputable builder has online reviews and testimonials. Be wary of builders who have no reviews or reviews with stars but no text. For the record, we have fantastic reviews on independent sites, as well as on our own website and Facebook page. (Here are our  Houzz and Womply  reviews.)

4. Ask your architect.

Architects work with contractors everyday. They know which contractors do the highest quality work, as well as which to avoid. Unfortunately, many contractors shortcut materials or workmanship. Or they may make hasty, on-the-spot design decisions without consulting the home owner or architect. (We’ve worked with all the top Asheville residential architects, by the way.)

No architect? No problem! It’s actually a better idea to hire your builder first. A great builder knows which architects are experts at designing for your lot’s topography, as well as which architects specialize in the exact style you want for your new Blue Ridge Mountain dream home.

5. Talk to building inspectors.

Building inspectors know which local contractors routinely pass building inspections, and which contractors fail repeatedly before meeting code, wasting their clients’ time and money by having to redo portions of a job.

6. Choose a local builder that is publicly recognized as a building science expert.

Our founder, Kevin Reed, has been interviewed by Houzz on multiple occasions, most recently about the effects of Covid19 on the industry.

Additionally, our blogs are picked up by Build WNC, the premier design and build magazine for western North Carolina.

7. Ask prospective builders if they’ve won any awards.

We have.

8. Go with a builder who’s worked in the area for a long time.

We’ve been building dream homes for satisfied clients in Asheville and Greenville for 22 years now.

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Questions To Ask Your Prospective Greenville Builder

You’ve followed these steps, and now you’re ready to interview one to two builders. What do you ask?

1. Can you provide a list of references?

A reputable Greenville contractor should be able to provide contact info for 4-5  former clients, who are happy to chat with a prospective client.

Questions to Ask References
  • What was it like working with this builder? Did they listen to you and address your concerns?
  • Was the builder easy to get in touch with? Did they return your calls promptly?
  • How did the builder handle challenges when they came up?
  • Did the project come in over or under budget?
  • Did the subcontractors and other building professionals respect the contractor?
  • How do you feel about the final product, i.e. your new house?

2. What is your payment schedule/structure? Do you work cost-plus or fixed price?

Cost plus means that homeowners pay the actual costs of materials and labor, plus a well-identified and discussed mark-up to cover profit. Cost plus ensures that the builder always suggests the most appropriate materials and processes, and it lets clients see exactly how costs break down. It works very well for high-end custom homes, with lots of details and design choices, since it helps avoid big change orders.

Fixed price means the builder and the client agree upon a predetermined price for total construction. It encourages builders to keep actual costs low, in order to escalate profit. To this end, builders may choose lower quality materials and subs. And “fixed price” doesn’t mean the price is set in stone. When additional funds are needed, the builder must fill out a change order.

We use cost plus pricing and invoice clients each month, for the actual cost of building their home. We store invoices in the cloud, so clients can review them easily.

4. Can I see a sample contract?

A confusing contract is a red flag.  The contract should simply state the builder’s responsibilities, the client’s responsibilities, the payment schedule and structure, and the deliverables.

Still Want More Info on What To Ask Greenville Contractors?

We’ve written about this before. We also have a downloadable list of ten questions to ask a residential builder.

Red Flags to Look Out For When Choosing a Greenville Builder

Your prospective contractor has no online reviews and/or can’t offer references.

As we’ve already mentioned, either of these things should be a non-starter.

A Greenville builder low-balls a bid.

This builder either doesn’t know what they’re doing, or they’re making promises they can’t deliver.

A Greenville builder offers you a “deal.”

Don’t trust a home contractor who offers you a “discount” for something like providing a reference to future clients or using your house in marketing materials. You’re building a luxury home, not haggling at a street bazaar.

Similarly, if a builder pressures you to sign a contract before you’ve had time to do your research, they’re too desperate to trust. Top builders stay busy, and they’re choosy about the projects they take on.

Trust your gut. If it feels like you’re dealing with a “salesperson”—or if architects, vendors, or subcontractors describe a builder as a “salesperson”—walk away.

A Greenville builder isn’t able to show proof of insurance or workman’s comp, says you don’t need permits, or asks you to get your own permits.

Any of these are clear signs of incompetence and a lack of professionalism.

A builder seems unfriendly, uncommunicative, or difficult.

You’re going to be working with your custom home builder for a year. You need to feel comfortable with them, and they must be responsive to your needs and concerns.

A builder is focused on their vision, not yours.

You’re custom building your Blue Ridge Mountains dream home because you don’t want to compromise your vision. You don’t want a builder who disregards the building plans, makes changes without consulting you and members of your design team, takes shortcuts to save money or time and increase profit, or refuses to do what you want because they think they know better.

You want a builder who takes pride in their craft—but who understands that this process is about your dream home and your built legacy, not theirs.

What it comes down to…

Hiring a builder is tricky, because you’re buying a product that doesn’t exist yet. But it’s definitely a process you want to get right, since your custom home is likely one of the biggest assets you have. And, more than that, it’s the place where you will live and laugh and spend time with loved ones. It’s also your legacy, a gift that you will leave the generations who come after.

So be a responsible client and do your research. If it’s a good match, we’ll be happy to take it from there.