How to Choose a Home Builder: The Only Check-List You Need in 2022

The time has come to build your own dream home and you've worked out exactly what you want and you have a budget. Maybe you even have an architect and all the plans drawn up, or the design is still in your head. Either way, the time has come to find the right home builder. So how to choose the best builder in 2022? First, you need to draw up a shortlist of all the options and then narrow it down to the best builder for you.

At Fortress Home in Chicago, we're always happy to discuss your new house plans and answer all your questions. Contact us at +773-770-8607 or [email protected].

Do your homework first

The first stage when thinking about how to choose a home builder is putting together your own personal project brief. Before you can start looking for the best builders you need to make sure you have a clear idea of what you want. This is a vital stage in the pre-construction process and here are various factors you should consider.


It's important to understand exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home and how much you can borrow. You might want to speak to your bank about construction financing at this stage and see how much they will lend you.


Is there a deadline for your new house to be completed — perhaps a new job or family change? If so this might limit your custom home options, as custom houses generally take a bit longer to build, especially if they include a lot of custom elements.


Are you very particular about the style, layout, and design of your new house or are you more flexible? If you have very specific requirements the custom home route might be best for you. However, if you like what you see in many builders' model homes then going down the customization route with a production builder might work well for you.

How to find suitable builders

Whether you want a custom house or are looking for a production house with customizations it's important to choose the right home builder. Once you have a clear idea of what you're looking for you can start your search for builders who match your brief and make a personalized list of builders.

Make a shortlist

When looking for suitable home builders in your area here are a few places you can look.

  • Local home builders association — your local association should have a list of all member home builders in your area. This is a great place to start.
  • Local real estate agents — realtors in your city will be able to recommend home builders they have worked with.
  • Local real estate listings — check your local newspaper's real estate listings for ideas of who is building new houses in your area.

Personal recommendations — asking friends, neighbors, and homeowners associations are a great way to get more personal recommendations and opinions.

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Carry out research

Once you have a list of potential builders it's important to do your research about them, so you can accurately compare builders. While you can do some of this with online research you'll also need to go and speak to your list of specific builders as part of the research phase.

Interview builders

While this may not be the first stage in your research it's the most important when trying to choose a builder. You will be working with their project manager for a long time during the building process so it's important you get along well and will be able to work happily together. Below, we've put together a list of questions to ask each potential builder.

Talk to past clients

You'll get a great deal of information from past clients about whether you're talking to a good builder.

If possible don't just rely on testimonials but speak to homeowners about their experiences and how the home builder managed delays, communications, and budgets. Remember to ask if they are happy with their new home.

Visit a completed home

It's always important to see the quality of a builder's work and the best way to do this is to visit a completed house, and possibly a project under construction. You may well be able to visit a model home or showhome, which will give you a good idea of the style of house this builder specializes in, and the quality of the finish.

If you're looking for a custom builder you will also want to look at their portfolio of projects to see if your own custom home is in a similar style.

Check documentation

Make sure each builder is fully licensed and insured in your area. You'll be able to check with your city or county building department about their license status. Making sure a home builder is insured is also vitally important so that if there are any workplace accidents or problems you will be fully covered, and it won't cost you anything.

What to ask potential home builders

When speaking to a potential builder or custom home builder there are some helpful questions you can ask them:

  1. How long has your business been operating?
  2. What are the details of your general contractor's license and insurance?
  3. What warranties do you offer, what do they cover and what don't they cover?
  4. What's your quality assurance process?
  5. What can I customize or upgrade in your houses? (with a production builder)
  6. Do you have standard floor plans and how flexible are they?
  7. What type of houses do you specialize in? (with a custom home builder)
  8. Who will be my project manager and how will we communicate?
  9. What extra services do you offer? Can you help with the design phase and finding land?
  10. What are the estimated costs for the house I want?
  11. What is the estimated timescale for building the house I want?
  12. Do you work with a lot of subcontractors or have their own team of skilled workers and laborers?
  13. Can I view some of your ongoing projects? (not just virtual tours)
  14. Can I see your references and testimonials?
  15. Why should I work with you?

Recommended reading

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If you currently own a lot, or need help finding one, Fortress Home is excited to offer comprehensive on-your-lot home building services. We have many ideal floor plans for building on your lot, don't worry - we can modify our standard plans or develop a fully custom plan just for you.
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How to choose a home builder in Chicago

Chicago is a city of many good builders but Fortress Home will be on every shortlist of the best builders the city has to offer:

  • We have a trusted and experienced team of carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, and laborers so we can guarantee the quality of your new home.
  • Our robust quality assurance system and careful budgeting and scheduling give you the peace of mind you need when undertaking a major new home construction project.
  • We offer a complete range of services from assisting with the planning and design process to project managing the entire build.
  • Our family business has been operating in Chicago for over 20 years and is fully licensed and insured.
  • Testimonials from our past clients will give you the reassurance you need.

Call us to discuss your new home construction project now: +773-770-8607 or [email protected] The best construction company has extensive experience, knowledge and a solid team of professionals.

Frequently asked questions

How do I choose a good home builder?

You need to start by finding all the suitable builders in your area and making a shortlist of the best ones. You can do some research before speaking to any potential housebuilders, so you only need to interview a few possibilities.

It's a good idea to find a builder who has previously built houses similar to the one you are looking for and has been in business for at least 5 years. You also want to get reviews of their work and view current or previous projects, where possible.

What questions should you ask a home builder?

It's important to ask a potential home builder or custom builder about their experience, how they manage the building process, and how they deal with budgets and schedules. You should also find out about their legal status.

For custom home builders it's helpful to find out about their area of expertise and previous projects. For standard production builders, you can ask about the upgrade and customization options as well as flexibility over floorplans.

It's also important to ask about budgets and timeframes for your new home.

What to know before meeting with a builder?

Before meeting with a builder it's a good idea to have an idea of the type and style of homes that they build. Ideally, you will have already had some personal recommendations at this stage, so you're speaking to trusted builders. You can also check their licensed status before meeting and if they have built any publically accessible buildings you can visit them to view their building standards first hand.

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What is the main asset of a construction company? Everything is simple. This is not an investment, not funds in the company's account. These are those unique houses, apartments, and buildings that have already been built and put into operation by the company. In different architectural styles, other concepts, and various tasks assigned to the general contractor. That is the asset in Fortress Home, with over 300 homes from more than 20 years of operation that delight their families.

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