Before You Build: 6 Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

You’ve decided to build a home, but you don’t want to dive into the process without asking the right questions.

To protect your home and avoid issues down the road, ask your home builder six simple questions before you build.

1) Are you a “fixed cost” or a “cost-plus” builder?

A fixed cost builder will agree to a fixed price with the homeowner. With this arrangement, the homeowner covers the cost of any expenses beyond the original scope of work agreed upon between the builder and homeowner.

Alternatively, In a cost-plus arrangement, the builder makes a set percentage from every cost incurred throughout the home building process.

If you know the scope of work you want done up front, working with a fixed cost builder tends to be best. However, if you are unsure of the total scope of work (remodel or renovation) the cost-plus arrangement will typically be best.

*Note: Cahill Homes has been a fixed cost builder since 1977


2) How long will it take to build my home?

A reliable timeline can and should be established early in the planning process. Building a home is a well-timed dance that your builder should have down to a science. Ask your builder for clarification about the timelines and scheduling involved.

Keep in mind that slow responses, changes to the plan, and changes to the scope of work by the homeowner can change the timeline of building.


3) Who is my primary contact?

You always want to know who to call that can get things done. Find out the best way to communicate with them (email or phone), to ensure follow through and execution.

Many builders will request that you communicate with the project manager on-site. Some builders have a dedicated Client Manager that is available to make sure that all of your wishes and desires are implemented, by communicating to the project manager on your behalf.


4) Who supervises the construction of my home?

Some builders only supervise the building of a home every few days. There’s a lot that can go wrong in a few days – so you want your builder (or their PM or superintendent) on your site every day that work is being performed.

Here are a few reasons why having someone onsite daily is a necessity:

– They can help keep the timeline on track.

– Quality control: correcting problems immediately instead of in the aftermath of a mistake.

– They can answer the subcontractors’ questions immediately, to ensure things are done correctly the first time. If a builder (or their representative) is not there to answer questions, the subcontractors are left to guess.


5) Can you give me references to speak with?

Most home builders should be glad to refer you to people they’ve built for in the past.

At Cahill Homes, we always aim for a heartfelt handshake when a home is complete. We want our homeowners’ expectations to be exceeded.

Unfortunately, many builders don’t hit this mark. A builder may start well, but they ultimately don’t deliver on the promises they make.


6) What is included in the price of my home?

Every builder should be able to produce specs (or specifications). This is a detailed document that outlines everything that goes into your new home.

In the specs, you’ll see details like:

– appliance model numbers

– who’s making the cabinets

– the location of wood, stone floors, and carpet

– whether or not there’s a fireplace or water feature

The specs are a comprehensive document that will provide every detail you’ll need.



Asking your home builder the six questions above will help ensure you’ve selected a competent builder with a great reputation.

If you’ve gone through the process of building a home, and your builder did something you loved…we’d love to hear from you. 

Head over to our Facebook page and tell us your story!


  • Jun. 2, 2015
  • Category: Blog