How to Choose the Best Home Builder

How to Choose the Best Home Builder

Building a home in Minnesota is an emotional experience. Excitement, happiness, fear, and anxiousness are in the mix. You’re about to get your dream home, with all the choices from home design through the paint color in your bedroom dictated by your taste and style. Once you settle on the type of home and the design, you are ready to spend hours on Pinterest looking at kitchens, bathrooms, and paint colors. Take a deep breath. As fun as heading straight for the end game can be, you have a crucial decision to make first that will impact the process of building your home hugely. You need to hire a builder. 

Hiring a Custom Home Builder in MN

Hiring the right custom builder in MN is one of the most important decisions you will make throughout the home building process. Don’t rush through the vetting process. Do your research, and prepare a list of questions. The contractor you choose can make the process a success or an unqualified disaster.

Top tips to choosing a Twin Cities Builder

  • Seek Recommendations and Make a List of Potential Builders
  • When looking for any service provider, the first step is to ask family and friends for suggestions. If they have not worked with any builders, perhaps they have friends or acquaintances that know of one they would recommend.
  • Contact the home builders association in your state or area for a list of local builders.
  • If you know a real estate professional whose opinion you trust, hit them up for suggestions.
  • If you know anyone that works in the building trades, most definitely seek their counsel.
  • is an excellent resource for finding contractors and builders.
  • Ask your Google assistant for a list of builders in your area.

Narrow the local home builder list

Now that you have the names of a few top home builders check out their websites. See what type of homes they build and if it fits the kind of home you are making. Read online reviews and check out ratings on Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Pick the top three builders from your research and set up an appointment for an interview.

Homebuilder Interview Questions

To facilitate the vetting process, write down a list of questions you want to ask the builder in your meeting. Here is a suggested checklist that will help you zero in on the best builder for your project.

  • How many homes have you built, and how long have you been in business?
  • Do you have any national accreditation?
  • What do you think sets you apart from your competition?
  • What kind of guarantee do you offer on your work?
  • How many projects do you take on in a year?
  • How many projects do you manage at the same time?
  • Will you provide a reference list of past clients that I can contact? 
  • Is there a home you have built that I can tour?
  • Are you a licensed builder? Do you have insurance?
  • What forms of communication are you comfortable with using?
  • How quickly can I expect you to return my calls, emails, or texts?
  • Do you have a problem with my visiting the homesite as I see fit?
  • When would you be able to begin my project?
  • How long would it take to build my home?
  • Are you comfortable working with a designer?
  • How do you determine your fee?
  • Will you oversee the actual construction, or do you use a project manager?
  • Do you have a standard contract I can read?
  • How do you handle dispute resolution should one come up.

If you eliminate any of the three builders after the interview, go back to the next one on your original list. When you have three you can work with, ask each to submit an estimate. While you are waiting, check the references.

Questions for the Contractor’s References

Before deciding, you want to call the references that the builder gave you. Here is a suggested list of questions you should ask.

  • Did the builder meet, exceed, or fall short of your expectations?
  • Did your home come in on budget? Did the builder meet deadlines?
  • Did the builder address any concerns promptly? Did he return calls in a timely fashion?
  • Were there any issues after you moved in? Did the builder deal with them promptly and without complaint?
  • When you visited the homesite during construction, was there someone in the crew to answer your questions?
  • Was the construction site tidy?
  • Would you work with this builder again and recommend him to your family and friends?

Final Steps To Choosing The Best Builder for Your Minnesota Dream Home

You have done all your homework. Checked references and have three bids for the job of building your home. It’s time to choose.  Do not come to a decision solely on the lowest bid. Lowest is not always best if you don’t consider other factors. Ask yourself these questions to help you arrive at a decision.

  • Do you like the builder as a person? Building a custom home is a long project, and it will probably take a minimum of 6 months or could go as long as a year. If you are not feeling a rapport with your contractor at the interview, it’s not likely to improve if you hire him.
  • Does the builder seem enthusiastic to take on your project? If you feel like the contractor is looking at your home as a filler for an empty spot in the schedule, I suggest you take a pass. If there isn’t any excitement about building your home, it will probably reflect on the finished product.
  • Has the builder completed other projects that impressed you? If you don’t like the other work he has done, no matter how much you appreciate him personally, it’s not likely you are going to be happy with the home he builds for you.
  • Was the contractor happy to answer your questions about work and process? Good work speaks for itself, but those that create it are generally eager to share information.
  • Did the builder return calls or emails promptly?  If the answer is no, that is not a condition likely to improve with age; just the opposite.


Building a custom home is a significant investment of time and money. Most people only go down this road once in a lifetime. Take your time, and reap the rewards of making a good decision all the years you live in your dream home. 


#1 By Levi Armstrong at 11/14/2021 0:16 PM

I like that you said I should contact a real estate agent I trust when looking for a custom home builder because they could refer some builders. My husband and I planned to buy a new home a few months ago, but we decided against it. We figured it would be best to have a custom home built, so thanks for the tips!

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