An inside look at Chicago real estate

Know What to Ask Your Chicago Home Builder

Mark.Miles By
Mark Miles
   | Buying

Preparing to custom-build your own one-of-a-kind dream home here in the city? Well, count yourself among the fortunate few. Happily foregoing the lengthy hunt through hundreds of Chicago homes for sale, you’re going straight for gold and designing your own. From top to bottom, you call the shots, and are sure to have a home that will specifically meet each of your needs.

But we want you to remember: just because you’re foregoing the house hunt doesn’t mean you forego the housing transition. For this project (arguably the greatest you’ll ever undertake), it’s crucially important to choose the right Chicago home builder—it could mean the difference between constructing a dream and giving rise to a nightmare.

Following is a list of questions you should review with any potential builder.

1. How many years have you been building?
2. On average, how many homes do you build every year?
3. What projects are you currently working on?
4. May I contact your references?
5. Are you licensed?
6. Are you insured?
7. How does your business philosophy set you apart from other Chicago builders?
8. What achievements has your company made?
9. Has your company ever operated under a different name?
10. If we start work from a pre-existing plan, can I make modifications to it?
11. Can you create a custom build design/blueprint?
12. How can we best communicate, and how often will I hear from you
during the construction process?
13. Do I have access to the jobsite during construction?
14. Which contractors will be assigned to work on my home and who will oversee them?
15. Will you provide me a schedule for when certain selections must be made?
16. How will you keep me updated about expenses throughout the project?
17. After closing, how do we get a hold of you for warranty matters?
18. How do construction loans work and who manages that process?
19. What is the average timeline for a project like mine?

Also, make sure you request a portfolio, or even a drive-by of select construction projects, to ensure the builder can deliver exactly what you want. Maybe even check their status with the Better Business Bureau. Beyond that, just ask them to walk you through the process and detail what role you’ll play, and then decide whether you’re comfortable with everything. And finally, get a quote. Then the decision is yours. Good luck!


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