The single most important choice you make when building a new home is choosing the right builder. After all, it is this builder who has your brand new home under his control and he can make your new home a dream or a nightmare. Here are three tips for choosing the right builder.

1. Take a look at other homes he has built – Be sure to visit other homes he has built, making sure both to look at the work and to talk to the homeowners to see how happy they are with the end result as well as how happy they were with the process of building. You can learn a lot from homeowners who have already been through the process with the building.

2. Pay attention to how he conducts business- When you have an appointment with him, does he show up on time? Does he deliver estimates when promised? Does he call you to inform you of delays? When you meet with him, is he prepared for the meeting? Is he willing to provide detailed estimates and designs? If you have to keep calling a potential builder or you have to keep asking for things you need, move on. If a builder acts this way before you’ve signed a contract, it’s sure to get worse afterward.

3. Read the fine print – Your builder should provide detailed quotes, including materials and a schedule for your project. If a builder hesitates to provide this information or won’t commit to a begin or end date for the project, he’s probably someone you want to avoid. Read your potential builder’s contract thoroughly so that you understand exactly what he is – and is not- promising.