How do I Choose the Best Modular Builder?

Amy Hunter

Once you make the decision to purchase a modular home, the next question is how to choose the best modular builder. A home is the biggest investment most people make in their lives, so choosing a builder that is trustworthy and reliable offers great peace of mind. Before signing a contract, there are several things you can do to ensure that you choose the best modular builder for your situation.

Even if a person is sure he has chosen the best modular builder, he should read the contract.
Even if a person is sure he has chosen the best modular builder, he should read the contract.

First, make a list of the modular builders in your area. Look through the telephone book and on the Internet to find a list of builders in your area. When contacting these builders, ask for copies of their floor plans, if they are not already posted online. While you are waiting for the floor plans, talk to anyone you know that has built a modular home. Find out who their builder was and how they felt about the builder's job. Do not just ask for overall opinions, but for specifics about their work style, punctuality, and professionalism.

When looking for builders, always ask to see copies of their floor plans.
When looking for builders, always ask to see copies of their floor plans.

Contact your state's Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General's Office to determine if there have been any complaints filed against the modular builders on your list. While some complaints may be without merit, and almost any builder will have a few, it may still give you an advanced warning about potential issues.

Once you receive the modular floor plans, look them over carefully, considering how the various homes will look on your building site. By this time, you will have probably narrowed your choice to just two or three modular builders. Contact each modular builder and ask for references. The builders should be more than happy to provide you with a list of satisfied customers.

Call a few references for each builder. As before, be as specific as possible. Ask if they were happy with the building process, if the builder delivered what they promised, and how closely they adhered to the time line. Keep in mind that some people will be thrilled with their new house no matter how difficult the building process was, and others will complain about every problem, no matter how minor. With two or three references for each builder, it is easier to get a true assessment of the customer service and competence of each builder.

After you have spoken to several references, you may want to spend some time talking to your lender. They provide building loans for people every day, and are likely to have impressions about particular builders. While they may not be willing to give explicit advice, if the builder you are considering has caused problems for the lender's customers in the past, they may warn you against them. This conversation is usually more productive if held in person, rather than over the phone or by email.

Finally, read the contract carefully. Even if you are sure you have chosen the perfect modular builder for your needs, take the time to read the contract and inquire about any unexpected expenses, any duties you assumed would have been handled by the modular builder, but that you are responsible for, and the deadlines for the project. If you have any questions or concerns, work them out before you sign the contract, and do not hesitate to have a lawyer look over the contract if there is anything you do not understand.

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