1. Communication: Your Builder of choice should respond to your initial phone calls. They should also respond to your emails in a timely fashion. They should answer all of your questions. You want to work with a company that is not only a great homebuilder, but also is professional and good at communication and running a business.
2. Look at the quality of the work. You can see pictures and video tours online of their homes, but you also want to walk a few homes, perhaps during construction and a finished home, and look at attention to detail.
3. Does the builder share your vision and ideas? Do they build the style of home you are wanting and do they listen to your ideas. Are they experienced. Do they provide the level of quality you are looking for? Are they flexible in the building process to help you get exactly what you want.
4. Do they have a great team in place? You want to work with a group that is top notch. The people in the office, people working in the field, the trades, you want to ensure they are high quality, and they are really good at what they do. You need to have good chemistry with them. I know a couple that built a home with another custom builder and they had a really good experience because of the project manager. I know a couple that built their dream home with a different builder and they had a very poor experience because of the project manager.
5. Does the builder have credible reviews? You want to see what actual homeowners say, you want to be sure to also talk with some of the trades and contractors the builder uses to build your home. These tradesman know every builder and can give you the best behind the scenes look at the builder you are considering, and perhaps ones to scratch off your list. You can find out how long they have worked for the builder, what they like and perhaps dislike about the builder, if something goes wrong, how the builder handles issues and how they treats others, and so much more. Other industry professionals like vendors, banks, lenders and title co are also a amazing source for references and information on a Builder as well.