Choosing a builder

Only time will tell for sure, but we believe that we did a good job choosing a builder.  Since we live in NC, we’re having to go through this entire process from long distance.  Both of us are babes in the wood when it comes to home construction.  I’m in education and my husband is in finance, and we definitely don’t know enough to be able to check up on a builder and catch any mistakes, even if we lived next door to the construction site.

So here was our process for selecting a builder:

1. We looked at construction signs up in our subdivision, to see what builders others there were using.  We also spoke with the president of our HOA, to ask for builder recommendations.

2. We went to the Lake County Clerk’s website, to pull up information about the builders that other people in our subdivision were using.  To do this, we first wrote down the names of the people in our community who had actually built homes (many of the lots were undeveloped still).  Then we looked up their names at the county clerk’s website, and from their permits, we could see the builders they used.

3. We looked at the Orlando Sentinel website.  This newspaper had a feature, where they looked at various new construction and recorded how many flaws they found and how serious these flaws were.  For example, one builder who had been recommended to us had some major structural flaws in the building that the Orlando Sentinel had inspected.  This also helped us to narrow down builders.

4. We went to the Better Business Bureau website and researched the various companies we were considering.

5. We went to the Florida state licensing board, to check on the contractors’ licenses.  One company had a complaint listed that was so serious that the Florida licensing board had suspended their license and ordered mandatory reeducation.  This was another good way to research our contractor choices.

We had finally narrowed it down to two different contractors.  We asked both of them for bids, and our first choice contractor also turned out to be the less expensive of the two.  Before signing the AIA contract with him, though, we asked for references, checked these out, and then drove to Clermont to meet with him.  The winner?  Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc.  According to one former client we spoke to, Woody was “as honest as the day is long,” and our impressions tally with this assessment, also.  Honesty was a hugely important quality for us, so we feel very satisfied with our choice.


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