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Checking Your Contractor's References

After compiling a list of potential builders or contractors and subcontractors, request a list of references from each. Take the time to check their references. It will help you narrow down your choices and ultimately lead to your selection of the building professional who will construct your home.

This Contractor References form will assist you when contacting each reference and help you keep this stage of the building process organized. In addition to the simple questions on the Contractor References form, you may also want to ask more detailed questions about each residential building project to get a good feel for each building professional. The following list provides other possible questions you may want to ask when checking references.

  • What type of work did the contractor or subcontractor do during the construction process of your home?
  • When did the building professional work for you?
  • How did you learn about this contractor?
  • Was your home built using a set of stock house plans? If so, was the builder comfortable using them?
  • Were you provided with a detailed bid or estimate?
  • Were building costs kept within the estimates? Explain if not.
  • How close was the final cost to the target price on the bid?
  • If any additional costs above the estimate arose during construction, how were they handled?
  • Were the materials specified in the bid used for construction? If not, explain.
  • Was the labor completed as specified in the building contract? If not, explain.
  • How detailed was the contract or building agreement?
  • How were change orders handled? Were they put in writing?
  • Was a building time line provided?
  • Did construction go as scheduled? Did it begin and end on time? Were there any delays? Explain.
  • Did workers arrive at the job site on time prepared to work?
  • Was there enough staff to handle the construction project? Were they focused on your construction project instead of talking on cell phones, closing other deals, etc?
  • Did the contractor apply for appropriate building permits?
  • Did the builder follow local codes?
  • Were you welcome at the job site to monitor progress and walk through the home at various stages of construction?
  • Was the contractor open and responsive to your questions and concerns? Were you satisfied with the answers you received?
  • Did your building professional make any construction decisions that did not meet your approval? If so, explain.
  • Who was responsible for cleaning up the job site?
  • Was the work completed as specified in the contract?
  • Did the quality of work meet your expectations upon completion?
  • How satisfied were you with the builder?
  • Does the contractor provide a warranty and have you had to use it? If so, explain.
  • Would you hire this contractor again?

For more information about hiring a builder or contractor, see Choosing a Contractor and Tips for Hiring a Builder or Contractor.

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