What Questions Should You Ask a Potential Home Builder?

Seeing your new space take shape is an exciting experience, but before that happens, you have to choose a home builder to bring your vision to life. It can be scary to put your project into someone else’s hands, especially a big project like a new home or a whole house remodel.

Working on someone’s home is a big responsibility. You deserve an experienced contractor who takes that responsibility seriously, and who has the necessary expertise to do a fantastic job and communicate well with you throughout the process.

As you meet and interview potential home builders for your project, here are some questions we recommend asking to help make sure you hire the right person:

The Basics

What to ask:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Will there be a warranty?
  • When and how will you determine the price for my project?
  • How long do you expect my project to take?
  • What sets you apart from other home builders?

Whether you need a home builder for a home addition, whole house remodel, new construction, or something smaller like a kitchen or bath remodel, you need to know your contractor is up to the task. You also need to find out if they’re a good fit for you, your budget, and any timing or schedule constraints you’re facing.

Their Process

What to ask:

  • Can you tell me about your process from beginning to end?
  • How will you handle any permits and inspections I’ll need?
  • How flexible are you when it comes to designing and customizing my space?
  • Do I need to work with your architect/designer or can I choose my own and bring the plans to you?

Some home builders have a formulaic process that they expect you to adhere to. They might require that you work with a specific architect, choose from their plans, and accept their timeline. Others are more flexible. At Hamish Murray, for example, we prioritize flexibility and are willing to do whatever we can to make sure your home is all about you. If you don’t have an architect yet, we’d be happy to connect with one of our long-standing partners. If you already have an architect/designer, that’s great too! You can bring your own plans or work with our extended team to develop them.

It’s important to make sure your home builder’s process aligns with your needs, or that they’re flexible enough to make their process work for you.

Skill and Experience

What to ask:

  • Do you have expertise in this type of project?
  • Have you worked on similar projects before?
  • Can I see examples of your past work? Do you have a portfolio?
  • Do you have testimonials from past clients?

Most home builders have a portfolio on their website where you can filter photos by the type of project you’re interested in. If you are interviewing someone who doesn’t have an online portfolio, or you’re not seeing the type of project you’re looking for, ask if they can send or show you photos.

Customer reviews on sites like Angie’s List are another good way to gauge a company’s past work. You can also ask to speak to references for a first person account of what it’s like to work with a particular builder.


What to ask:

  • How will you keep me updated about my project at each stage?
  • Who will be overseeing my project, and will I be able to reach them easily?
  • Will you be available to address any questions or concerns I have during planning, construction, and cleanup?

Communication has a huge impact on the success of any construction project, especially large projects that involve new construction or major remodeling. Poor communication from the start can be an indication of potential future problems. If your home builder is hard to get ahold of, or you’re not sure who to direct your questions to, it’s time to be concerned.

A communicative and well-organized construction company will usually assign a project manager who will be closely involved in your project from the very beginning. Your project manager should be open, honest, easy to reach, and available to answer all your questions.

Other Questions for Your Home Builder

You have your own vision for your home that’s different from anyone else’s, which means you probably have many other questions that are unique to your project.

Given that the majority of materials used in home construction today are eco-friendly, many of the people we work with have questions about sustainability. People often ask about how they can customize their home to be more energy efficient and how that can save money in the long run.

Whatever your individual needs and desires, don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to ask to make sure you’ve chosen the right person to work on your home.

We build beautiful homes in the Portland area

Hamish Murray specializes in new construction, whole home remodels, and home additions, as well as smaller remodeling projects. We bring together careful planning, architectural integrity, and a willingness to go the extra mile for our clients. We’ve worked hard to become the most customer-focused home builder in Portland, Oregon, and we do everything possible to make your dream a reality — exactly as you envision it.

We’d love to answer all your questions to help you decide if we’re the right fit for your project. Get in touch today.