Not to cause panic, but this decision could make or break your building experience!
You hear the horror stories all the time, the nightmares of building a house.
I had heard them too, and was concerned about how this was going to go. I kinda like my husband, and didn’t really like the idea of fighting for the next year as we tried to build a home!
Mark had worked on a house framing crew when we were going to ISU, but neither of us knew ANYTHING about building a house beyond the framing aspect. Plus we live in a very rural area, so it’s not like there are home builders around every corner!
my Tips for choosing the right builder
Tip #1 - Don't be afraid to Ask Around
I’m more of an introvert, hard to believe I know! LoL! I used to be so shy about asking questions! Not anymore!! Now I’m pretty sure I bug people with all my questions, but that’s how I learn.
When building a house, you can’t be afraid to ask question! Seriously, no question is dumb and you just have to ask them in order to understand what in the world is going on!
We started asking everyone we came in contact with if they had any suggestions on a good builder. We were super lucky that our good friends and neighbors were building a house. After getting some names, we started making phone calls.
Take note of who returns your calls and how promptly. We left messages with lots of people and never heard back/or took forever to get a return call from most. You will be working with these people VERY closely, and you want them to be accessible.
Tip #2 - have your floor plan in hand
Remember in the previous posts I kept saying, “this will help your architect” or “this will help you pick a builder”?
Well, this is where those statements come into play. We had a very good idea of the floor plan we wanted before we called any builders. When we “interviewed” some builders, let’s just say they were not very enthusiastic about our floor plan. We knew they built solid houses, but their lack of excitement over our choices was a real downer!
Building a house is sooo exciting and it can be sooo fun, if you have a builder that’s onboard with you.
Our neighbors that were building a home suggested we call their builder. Within a day, we had an appointment set up to meet with Todd Redig of Nordaas American Homes. The prompt response from them was definitely a good sign (add a point in the score column for Nordaas).
When we met Todd the first time, we showed him our floor plan idea and he smiled and said, “this is super cool you guys!” (Hmm, add another point in score column!). He was very enthusiastic about our design ideas and was more than willing to work with us on our “wants” and “needs” on our floor plan.
Click on below image to read the post on your perfect floor plan
tip #3 - understand each of your roles
Huh? What does this mean? Well there are so many ways building a house can be done. It’s important to understand what your builder expects your role to be and what you expect your builders role to be.
For example, Nordaas follows an Owner-Contractor concept to building, which we LOVED by the way! This allows the customer to be totally involved in the planning and building process.
Basically, they provide assistance with estimating cost, selecting and coordinating subcontractors. The owner (us) was allowed to interview and hire the subcontractors that we wanted. This kept us very involved in the process. But, if we ever needed help with a subcontractor, Nordaas had our back and let me tell you, that is worth its weight in gold my friends!
If you’re keeping up on the score card, Nordaas is doing pretty good!
tip #3 - visit their homebase
This isn’t always an option, but if you can visit the builder’s “homebase” do it! You’ll get a chance to meet their team and see first hand how they’ll be organizing the details of your build.
Nordaas is located about 1 1/2 hours straight north of us up in Minnesota (yes, use the Fargo accent when saying “Minnesota”)! We drove up there to visit and were thoroughly impressed.
From the minute we walked into their building we felt comfortable. We both felt like we could ask any question, no matter how silly it seemed, and always felt like they had time for us.
Plus, their technology is amazing! They have 3D Virtual Reality so you can put the goggles on and “walk” through every inch of your house. Does this VR walk-through help? YES! The first time I did my “walk” through, I changed things that I had not noticed on the flat blueprint. Way better to make changes before the actual walls are being built!!
We left feeling absolutely confident that they could handle any building situation in a professional manner, had the right contacts needed, and most importantly wanted to build a home that WE wanted.
The fun stuff you get to play with at Nordaas!
So who did we pick for our builder?
Pretty sure you've got this one figured out!
Yep, we signed with Nordaas American Homes out of Minnesota Lake, Minnesota.
They were so wonderful to work with; always accessible, willing and helpful. We can joke around with them and honestly we feel like part of their family now.
So when I’m asked if building a house was a nightmare, I honestly can say it was not!
We actually really enjoyed the process, but I’m very aware that it was such a great experience because of Nordaas!