Q&A / 

New home builders won't scare you off if you consider adding the right provisions in your contract. Specifications will keep your contractor from bullying you into accepting his poor workmanship. Contract law attorneys can help with the contract and save you from stress.

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Quality construction seems to be, in some cases, what the customer is willing to accept. Not all contractors do quality work. Some are not as skillful as others. And some building materials will not withstand poor workmanship. New home construction customers should work hard to find a contractor that will perform quality work.

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Construction bids can be confusing if you are comparing one to another. Sometimes one contractor is listing different things than the other. Sometimes you have trouble getting construction bids from a contractor at all. And, why is the price so high? Is it all profit?

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Planning your material shipment will require working with your contractor to determine how long each job takes. Schedules are the only way to keep work delays to a minimum. Having a good set of drawings will help. Talk to each supplier to find out how long each item takes to deliver. Then check up on the orders. Charting your project is the only way to keep sane.

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Advance payment to your contractor only when the work is completed. Make a schedule with a detailed cost breakdown that your builder will help you with at the beginning of the job.

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Up front planning and job scheduling will help you, your contractor and subcontractors keep your building project running smoothly. Special orders will be spelled out and the delivery time determined up front. Each job listed should specify when it will be done.

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Contractors seem to abound in the yellow pages. Plumbers, painters, roofers...who do you pick? What are their skill levels? Get all of your questions answered by going to supply houses where these contractors purchase material. Get references and information about the quality of their work.

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Contractors need to go through a job interview with you in order for you to know what type of abilities they have. Ask about professional designations, association memberships and the types of trade journals he reads. Verify the memberships by making a few calls. Learn all you can about what your contractor knows.

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General contracting on your new home construction is a huge undertaking for the non builder. House plans and specifications are your best means of communicating with your sub-contractors. Make sure the quality of these is the best. Be there when your subs are working. Don't assume that things will be done the way you want if you aren't there.

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Job interviews are the best way to see if the contractor you want to hire will be able to do the work you want. Ask the contractor about his business, the kind of trade magazines he subscribes to, his management habits. Get references from the supply houses where he buys materials. What do they know about the quality of his work?

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