How to Find A Home Builder in The Raleigh-Durham Area

December 1, 2023

Looking for the best home builder in Raleigh-Durham? Learn how to research and evaluate builders to find the right partner to construct your dream home.

If you’re relocating to Raleigh-Durham and if you are tired of losing to competing offers, building may be an option.

There are many talented builders in Raleigh-Durham who can help you create the home of your dreams.

The best way to find the right builder for you is to create a list of potential builders. Start by researching local home builders and asking for referrals.

If you know people who have recently built a home or remodeled one, ask them who they hired and if they were happy with the results.

Here's a couple things you can do to identify and research builders that could be the best fit for you.

Create a list of builders

To find the right builder for your project, you'll want to create a list of potential candidates. Start by doing some research online and checking out reviews from past customers.

Check out their portfolios and get in touch with each builder to see what type of services they offer, as well as their rates and estimates.

All reputable builders in every market are members of the Home Builder Association in Wake County. Click here for the Home Builders Association of Wake County.

If you visit our local builder association website, you should be able to locate all of their members.

You can also look in our local newspapers and search builders and projects.

Once you’ve decided on an area and the type of house you want you can make a list of possible builders that could deliver what you want.

Scan through the list of builders

Once you have a list of builders, it's time to do some research.

Look into their experience, read customer reviews, and compare prices. You should also make sure to check that each builder is licensed and insured.

You should set up in-person meetings with the builders to get a better sense of who they are and what they do. Ask questions and make sure you feel comfortable with them.

You will also discover the types of homes they are building, the communities they are building in and their price points.

Make a list of builders who build the type of home you're looking for in your price range.

Seek a Raleigh-Durham Realtor to help you with your search.

Builders build large networks with Realtors for several reasons. The obvious reason is that they would need someone to help them sell their products.

The not so obvious reason why builders may know a lot of Realtors is because most builders are licensed real estate agents.

Try seeking out an agent that has knowledge of the building activity in that area, ask for a list of their favorite builders and ask why.

You'll want to get an understanding of their experience and expertise, and an agent can best help you find out if they are the right fit for your project.

Also be sure to ask to see examples of their work, as well as a list of references.

After meeting with potential builders and having an agent help you with your due diligence, you should be able to make an informed decision on a builder as well as a good lot.

With the right Realtor on board, you'll be well on your way to creating your perfect home.

Do Your Homework

When you’ve created your list of potential builders, it's time to start asking lots of questions. You should inquire to the potential builders and their past customers.

Interview each potential builder then, visit the communities of the builder’s most recent products. This is the simplest way to determine what is the best home builder.

The best time to drive  by is on a Saturday morning when the homeowners are doing weekend chores.

Introduce yourself and mention that you are considering using the builder that has built their home. Talk to several owners and try to get different perspectives.

The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression you’ll get of that builder.

The questions worth asking the homeowners are: Are you happy with your home? What was the reason you selected this builder?

If you had any problems, how responsive was the builder? Would you buy another home from this builder?

Typically, you will get a favorable response if the homeowners are pleased with their homes and the process.

And if they aren’t, they'll probably want to tell you why.

If you’re not the type to drop by a random stranger’s house unannounced, at the very least, drive through the community and see if the homes are aesthetically appealing.

Take notes and record as much as possible so you will have information to make your comparison later.

The more reputable builders pride themselves on having a great customer experience, so read through each builder's customer reviews.

Shop for Quality and Value

Pay attention to homes on the market. Attend open houses and look online to get a good idea of how homes are built and designed.

New community model homes typically have all of the upgraded bells and whistles which can distract you from assessing the quality of the build.

Ask the builder to allow you to see homes that haven't been staged and perhaps homes at the end of the build process.

When you are examining the home, pay attention to the home's features.

Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, exterior finishes, flooring, surfaces, hardware, trim work and paint.

What usually sets one builder apart from another is the floor plan. Pay attention to the flow of the floorplan and the builder's unique approach to functionality.

Ask the builder or the builder's representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible.

If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question.

There is no such thing as a stupid question. The smallest question could make the biggest impact.

Final Thought from Tim

As a real estate agent with 17 years of experience in the Triangle area, I've helped many clients find the perfect home builder to create their dream houses.

My top recommendation is to take your time doing research to find the right partner.

Visit model homes, drive through communities, and ask neighbors pointed questions. Dig into online reviews but also meet builders in person.

It's key to get a sense of their communication style and expertise.

I always advise clients to create a list of must-haves and make sure the builder can deliver those.

Whether it's high-end finishes, smart home technology, or a particular architectural style - don't compromise.

Also, ask about warranty coverage and what's included if any issues arise down the road.

Building a custom home is a big investment so maximize peace of mind by finding someone you connect with and fully trust.

With the right builder-client relationship, the process can be smooth sailing. My team is here to offer trusted guidance at every step.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for when choosing a home builder?

Look for relevant experience, positive reviews, clear communication, and examples of quality workmanship when vetting potential builders.

Make sure they listen to your wants and needs too.

How many builders should I interview?

Aim to interview 3-5 builders to give yourself enough options. More than that can get overwhelming.

What questions should I ask potential home builders?

Key questions include: How long have you been building?

How many homes have you built in the last year?

Can I see examples of your work and talk to past clients?

What is your building process like?

How do you handle communication during the project?

Do you provide a warranty?

What should I avoid when building a custom home?

Avoid builders who seem inflexible about your design ideas or don't communicate well. Also beware of extremely low bids - they may signal cutting corners.

Should I work with a real estate agent to find a builder?

Yes, experienced agents often have deep connections with reputable local builders. They can provide referrals and advice.

What should I look out for in model homes?

Look closely at finishes, materials, cabinetry, trim work, and floor plans. Also notice if the home seems optimized for everyday living.

Should I visit a builder's current construction sites?

Absolutely. Seeing works in progress gives you the best sense of their skills and how they operate.

What contract terms should I clarify upfront?

Nail down timeline estimates, payment schedules, change order processes, insurance coverage, and provisions for dispute resolution before signing.

How much input can I have in home design?

Many builders offer robust customization options. Be clear about must-haves upfront so they can meet your needs.

Should I ask for referrals from past clients?

Yes, speaking to past clients gives first-hand insight into the builder's quality and service. Take time to contact them.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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