ShopQuality
Deciding where to live
Choosing the right builder
Shopping for quality and value
Tax advantages of building a new home
Maintaining your new home and it’s value
A new home is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime. By doing your homework, you will be able to shop for a home with a sense of confidence and the knowledge that will help you make the right decision. If you have additional questions about selecting a builder, The Madison County Home Builders Association can help you find the answers.
How long has your company been in business?
Who should I contact for customer service after the sale?
Should my request be in writing?
Who will be responsible for correcting problems with major appliances?
Does the builder belong to The Madison County Home Builders Association?

One important criterion for selecting a builder is the warranty provided on the home. Most builders offer some form of written warranty. Many builders back their own warranties on workmanship and materials, typically for one year. Other builders offer warranties backed by an insurance company. Ask to see a copy of the builder's warranty. Although reading legal documents is tedious, read the warranty to understand what protection you will have. Don't wait to read it until after you move in and a problem arises. If you have any questions about the coverage, ask the builder.

Also, find out from each builder what kind of service you can expect after the sale. Typically, a builder makes two service calls during the first year after you move in to repair nonemergency problems covered by your warranty. The first call is usually 30 to 120 days after the move-in, and the second is around the eleventh month—right before any one year warranties on workmanship and materials expire. For emergencies, the builder should be able to send someone to your home right away. Some other questions you might ask builders are:

Another important aspect of value is design quality. When you look at a home, here are a few things to consider:

Look at new homes whenever you can. Open houses sponsored by builders and realtors are good opportunities. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Ask about energy efficiency and heating/cooling costs. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, flooring, trimwork, and paint. Ask the builder or the builder's representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer. Just because a home is less expensive doesn't mean it's a better value. Likewise, a more expensive home does not automatically assure higher quality.

How does it fit your lifestyle?
Is there enough living space?
Are there enough bedrooms and baths?
What about storage space?
Will you have room to accommodate special interests or hobbies for example, a large kitchen if you enjoy cooking or a room for a home office or exercise room?
Think about the amount of upkeep required both indoors and out.
Consider energy costs. What special considerations are designed into the home? Heating and air equipment, insulation, windows, doors, vapor barrier and even landscaping can all affect a home's energy efficiency and your monthly budget.