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Finding and Hiring a Builder or Remodeler

When you are looking for a builder or remodeler, here are some things to keep in mind:

Seek a professional:  Look for companies that are licensed and insured and emphasize customer service, quality and integrity. Verify the company has a permanent business address and that it's in this area.

License: Make sure your builder holds a current Builder License with the State of Michigan. Be aware that all contractors offering to do work which totals $600 or more in labor and materials must be licensed by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

Insurance: Ask for proof of general liability and workman’s compensation insurance. A reputable contractor should be able to show you an insurance certificate and may expect you to ask for it. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises. 

Contract: You should obtain a written contract that outlines all of the specifics of your building project.


Quotes: Gather quotes for your next project - we recommend at least three (3) - to compare prices. Be sure you understand what is included in each quote. It is important to know you are comparing the same materials and finishes. Are they including any appliances, what is the quality of kitchen cabinets, flooring, windows? How about light fixtures and drawer pulls? Is the final grading and landscaping included? A low bid based on inferior materials may not be a bargain.

Payments: Your contract should outline the terms of payments, referred to as a payment schedule.  Never pay in cash. Be sure you are comfortable with your payment schedule before signing. Have your attorney review the terms, if needed.

Customer service: A member company that’s truly committed to client satisfaction will emphasize outstanding service from every member of its team and maintain a professional approach in every interaction.

Communication: Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new or remodeled home. Ask what the process for change orders will be and how they will be communicated about its affect to the budget. 

Quality: Be careful when assessing the prices set by different builders. The quality of the materials, installation and service can make a significant difference in cost. 

Integrity: Is your prospective builder trustworthy? Are they actively involved with a professional organization like the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan? Do they have any unsatisfied complaints with the BBB?

References: A reputable builder will be glad to provide you with names of former clients, as well as suppliers, subcontractors and consultants such as architects and engineers with whom they’ve worked.

Warranties: Ask if the builder provides a warranty and how many years are covered or if there are any exclusions.  

Special Certifications and Designations: Having a designation or special certification means the builder or remodeler you are working with has honed in their business skills and have superior training, hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge of their profession. 


Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) - a segment of the residential remodeling industry that specializes in home modifications for the aging-in-place.

Certified Green Professional (CGP) - recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green and sustainable building principles into homes— without driving up the cost of construction.


Renovating, Repair and Paint (RRP) Certification - If you are planning work in a pre-1978 home that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home or 20 square feet on the exterior of the home, verify that your remodeler is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator. Learn more about the EPA's lead paint rule HERE.

*New Home Construction Agreements and New Home Express Limited Warranties have been made available for current members of the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan. The member number should be listed on page 1 of the document. Contact us or check the online directory to be sure they are current members. These documents are copywritten and all other usage makes these forms void.

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