New home construction or renovation is rare projects, so it becomes necessary to seek a reliable builder. Making a wrong decision can cause the cost blowouts and low-quality construction.

Get some advice

Family and friends may not be in construction business, but trusting them is better because of their experience with a builder, at least once. Some builders are so overconfident that they can hardly justify the architecture’s design. Therefore, you can ask for recommendation from architects and building designers.

How to check builder’s legitimacy?

License & insurance

Some builders are involved in construction business even if their registration is expired or their licenses got revoked. Regulators are slow in catching dodgy builders, so be wary about such builders who may either refuse or may not be clear upfront about their license and insurance status.

Check builder’s license and insurance status from your state’s relevant department or consumer affair.

Skills & experience

The real question depends on the kind of skill you need. Experience in extensions and renovation is not ideal for new home construction. On the other hand, builders with experience in residential properties may not be able to handle the complexities of renovations & extensions.

References & portfolios

Builders will certainly provide references of selected customers, who may offer biased opinion. Therefore, speak with current customers, especially those still in the middle of building phase. You will obviously get balanced opinion about how the builder communicates and their efficiency in the construction process.

How to avoid getting swindled?

Renovation or extension projects are huge investments, so make sure that the building plans offer a detailed breakdown.

You should have a clear detail package designed for the builder.

  • The scope – It is an outline of work. The builder needs to do. If you are going to assign 3rd party tradesman to do some parts of construction work then make it clear.


  • Building plan – It will include soil tests and engineering documents. Builder gets an idea of exactly what you need in a home. They can also get an estimation of total cost for the materials, labor, and timeframe for completion.


  • Building schedule – Details about the materials, fitting & fixtures needed can avoid cost blowout.

With this detailed package will enable two to three builders come up with an itemized quote. It will help to compare quotes properly. It is possible that you may find substantial price differences in their quotes.

The reason is that builder A may be giving some extra services, which others may not. In case of doubts, ask your architect. It is not good to get a cheap quote at the cost of workmanship or cutting corners.

Avoid getting influenced by jargons?

Clarify the jargons and abbreviations used because you don’t want to agree for something expensive. Actually, quotes provide an approximate value of the materials, labor, fitting, and fixtures to be incurred but these can be misleading.

The chance of miscommunication is high, when you deal with a builder, so it is crucial to have a detailed tender package as well as building contract.

Experts like Rocco Basile understand construction and has built great rapport with his clients. You can expect a fair quote from his company Avo Construction in New York.

Tip – Never sign a building contract without legal advice.