A Southwest Colorado dream home about to become a reality—what’s more exciting than that?

It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and be impatient to break ground.  But, before you sign a contract, take some time to evaluate Archuleta and La Plata County home builders.  The process is vital to the success of your project.

Here are top questions you should be asking each candidate you consider.

1. What can you tell me about your credentials?

It may surprise you to learn that in Colorado, contractors are not licensed by the state. Home builders in La Plata and Archuleta counties follow the International Building Codes (IBC)—read more about this here.  You can ask your candidates about their experience with the IBC and with local regulations and building departments.

You should also inquire about liability and workers’ comp insurance they carry.

Plumbers and electricians are required to carry a state license.  Make sure your builder will work with only licensed subcontractors in these trades.

2. Do you belong to any professional associations?

This is a good way to find out more about whether your prospective builder is in good standing in the community. When you choose an HBASC member for your homebuilding project, for example, you’ll know they have undergone a rigorous peer review process.

3. Do you have any areas of specialty I should know about?

If you’re looking for a Southwest Colorado home builder who’s an expert in green building practices or constructing homes suitable for aging-in-place, asking about this kind of skill is a no-brainer.  But even if you’re not expecting this expertise or some other particular training, knowing that your candidates have invested in education is reassuring.

4. Could I talk with former clients?

Asking to contact references makes a whole lot of sense.  Write down questions for them, from the general (was your home delivered approximately on time?) to those that are personally important to you.

5. How many homes do you have underway right now?

This is a sort of “Goldilocks” question—ideally your builder says they have a few projects underway, indicating they are popular, but not so many as to swamp the company.  Compare the answer to the size of the organization and ask how your build will fit in the picture.

6. How long can I expect the house to take?

Of course you will inquire about the duration of the project—this will probably be one of your first questions.  Be wary if they can’t give you even an estimate, or if the timeframe seems unrealistically short.

7. How will you prepare for the fall/winter season?

Winter poses issues for home builders in Archuleta and La Plata County.  It goes without saying that the typical build cycle is late spring/summer/early fall, with at least exteriors completed before it snows.  Talk with your prospects about this and ask how they might handle an early winter.  Also find out if they will need time out during the fall hunting season.

8. How do you handle custom features and modifications?

Especially if you’re aiming for a high-end custom home in Southwest Colorado, ask builders if there’s a limit to the features you can include.  Most custom builders can accommodate just about anything, but it’s important to check.  Also get a feel for how flexible they are when it comes to in-progress modifications.

9. Is there an escalation clause in the contract?

You’ll want to know if there are circumstances that would increase the cost of your home unexpectedly, in other words, you need to know if there’s an escalation clause in the contract and what it covers.  It might make sense that you would pay more if the builder finds unexpected boulders while digging the foundation, for instance.  But if materials costs rise mid build, most buyers would not expect to cover the difference.

10. What type of warranty do you provide?

Reputable builders generally provide at least a one-year warranty on the home.  Strong warranties indicate that the Southwest Colorado builders you’re evaluating have confidence in their work.

Go a Few Steps Further

As you’re interviewing at least a couple of home builders in La Plata or Archuleta county, talk with them about your own personal style.  Do you appreciate working with a professional who can make suggestions for an upgrade or cost saving, or do you prefer your builder follow specifications to the letter?  How often would you like the builder to check in with you, and what’s the best way to reach them?

Finally, we encourage you to contact us as you make a list of Southwest Colorado home builders to consider.  Not only have our members been through extensive screening, they come with their own networks of skilled designers, subcontractors, landscapers, and other professionals you can trust.

Best of luck with your Four Corners dream home!

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