Property Developing can be a very lucrative business, however many developers who are just getting started get themselves into trouble due to the fact that they just don’t know what they are doing. Many find it daunting asking the questions they need to order to be able to make informed decisions, especially on choosing your team members. This is the first part of a two part series where John Marquez, a developer himself, explores the questions you should consider when finding a builder.

Here I will discuss some of the more important questions you will need to ask builders in order to be able to make a sound decision on who you will ultimately decide on to use for your project. You may think that since a builder does not come into the process until the construction phase that there is no need to source one this early in the process, but an experienced builder is someone that has a wealth of information which will be helpful before even sourcing your site. Build costs are one of the 3 big numbers you will need in order to assess the profitability of a site and one the builder will be able to help you with. The other two are the End Sales Prices of what you are proposing to build and the purchase price of the site. These 3 will dictate where you can afford to buy and what your development strategy will be.

So how do you source a good builder? One way to narrow down the field is to seek recommendations from friends and family, another is cold driving around the area you plan on developing and locate sites under construction, and ask to speak with the builder. Draftsmen or Architects in the area are a great source and may have the best advice, because they have worked with hundreds of builders in the past.

 

You should definitely interview multiple builders; I recommend at least 3-5 builders.

 

When you do find builders to interview, here are some of the more important questions to ask:

Are you a Registered Builder?
This is probably the first and most important question to ask. You will need to make sure the builder you are using is licensed and in this state, and that he has Home Indemnity Insurance which covers you for financial loss should the builder die, become insolvent or do a runner.
You can get further information by contacting the relevant building authorities in your state.

How many years have you been in business, and how many homes have you built?
An experienced builder did not just pop up overnight. It took him years to get experience and a good understanding of building practices. So ask how long they have had their Builders Licence for, and how many homes he has built.

 

An experienced builder did not just pop up overnight. It took him years to get experience and a good understanding of building practices.

 

Have you ever been declared bankrupt?
This may seem like probing or personal question, but it is important that you know. Having a clearer picture of the builder can help to mitigate risks and protect you. You can also contact the relevant building authorities to access this information. While you are at it you may want to know if there are any current or past building disputes underway with the Building Commission?

 

Click here to read Part 2 of Things to consider when sourcing a builder