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Choosing A Florida Luxury Home Builder: 7 Questions To Ask

Jun 1, 2008
Choosing a Florida luxury home builder can be a difficult decision, made more so by sales tactics. Although it is in your best interest to interview half a dozen or more builders before making your choice, the salespeople are usually trained in ways to convince you that you don't need to keep looking.

The best way to beat such tactics is to have a list of questions to ask, followed by a written reminder to keep looking and compare notes between builders before making your decision. Here are seven questions that should be on your list.

1. How much experience do they have? Some people may take a chance on an inexperienced Florida luxury home builder and come out of it okay, but others may not be so lucky. To protect yourself and your investment, you should look for a builder who is experienced in building the type of custom home you are looking for.

2. What kind of reputation do they have? This is where things such as referrals and word of mouth come in handy. If you know someone who has hired a Florida luxury home builder and been very happy with them, that is probably one of the best recommendations you can get. Likewise, stay away from builders that have generated many complaints.

3. What building plans do they have available, and can they be customized? Not every custom home is completely original, so a wide variety of building plans is a must for a good luxury home builder. The custom part comes in when you make subtle changes to a floor plan to make it more like what you want. For instance, you can make rooms bigger or smaller, upgrade appliances, and add cosmetic things such as moldings and trim work. The more freedom a builder allows you, the more custom your home will feel.

4. Can they help choose an appropriate lot? Choosing an appropriate lot can be difficult for someone who is not a professional Florida luxury home builder. The way a lot is laid out can impact the floor plans that can be used on that particular lot -- and there is nothing more heartbreaking than finding out your dream house just won't work on the lot you've chosen. Many people therefore feel more comfortable if the builder helps them locate an appropriate lot. If this is important to you, you will want to be sure to ask potential builders if they offer this service.

5. Can they build on a lot that has already been chosen? Most builders should be able to build on a lot that you have already chosen, but still, it's good to ask. As already noted, the lot may affect what can be built there, so be sure you discuss your housing plans with the builders as you are going through the interviewing process.

6. What warranties do they offer? Experienced, reliable home builders stand behind their work. With each Florida luxury home builder you visit, ask about the specifics of their warranties: what is covered, and for how long. Then compare these and eliminate the builders whose warranties are noticeably less generous than others'.

7. Can they provide references? Happy customers are a sign that the builders are doing their jobs correctly. Be sure to always ask for references, and be sure to follow through once you've asked. If you speak with the references in person, be sure to ask about specifics, such as whether they have had any problems and how the builders handle it if they do. However, remember that the builder is most likely only going to give out names of people whom they know will give glowing references, which is why a builder's reputation and word-of-mouth referrals are also very important.

Building your dream home is an emotional as well as a financial investment, and it is therefore important to find a Florida luxury home builder that you can trust to do the job right. By interviewing numerous builders before making your choice, and asking each builder a list of questions that you have come up with ahead of time, you make it more likely that your ultimate decision will be based on things like quality and value, rather than sneaky sales tactics.
About the Author
Andy West is a freelance writer for Arthur Rutenberg Homes, a Florida luxury home builder.
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