top of page
  • Andres Betancur

5 Considerations When Choosing A General Contractor

General contractor standing in front of some cabinets and and mirror.
Andres Betancur - General Contractor

While the role of a general contractor when building a new home is multifaceted and varies from day to day, a general contractor is the person who is ultimately responsible for the building and completion of your home. At times the GC might play the role of counselor, finance wizard, fortune teller, translator, marketing director, sales person, problem solver, communications director, trash collector, etc… but at the end of the day, the general contractor is the person who signs a contract with the homeowner and is the person who gets sued if something goes terribly wrong.

Construction is full of unknowns and risks at every turn. A good general contractor has a sense of what is going to happen throughout the build process and can see the hurdles to come down the road. While not everything is under the direct control of the GC, it is their job to take all variables into account and present the end-from-the-beginning to the homeowner before dirt work even begins.

Here are a few qualities a profession home builder must possess and a few considerations when selecting your builder:

1. Expertise and knowledge

  1. Does your builder have construction experience and know the variables involved in building a home?

  2. Does your builder have a portfolio of completed projects they have already completed?

  3. Does your builder know local codes and municipal building requirements?

2. Communication Skills

  1. Does your builder listen to what you have to say and what desires you have for your house?

  2. Is your builder able to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a way that you are able to understand?

  3. Does your builder consider themselves as your authority or subordinate?*

    1. This is a very difficult and nuanced question where oftentimes, both are accurate. It must be understood that the homeowner is the ultimate authority on the home and that the general contractor works for the homeowner. On the flip-side, it is often true that the homeowner doesn’t know how to accomplish the tasks required in building their vision.

    2. A successful builder/homeowner relationship requires trust, patience, and communication from both parties.

3. Time Management & Foresight

  1. It is an understatement to say, “Time is money.” Money is continuously being spent the moment a homeowner signs a new mortgage with the bank. Interest is accruing and monthly payments must be made. Simultaneously the homeowner is having to pay for other living/housing accommodations until the new home build is completed and they are able to move in.

    1. Is your builder able to think 3, 4, and 5 steps ahead of where the project sits today?

    2. Is your builder able to help walk you through the decision making process before bottlenecks occur and progress is halted due to poor foresight?

      1. Light fixtures, windows, cabinets, trim styles, flooring, closet designs, paint color, etc. are all variables that must be predetermined before different subcontractors are able to perform their job.

4. Organization & Efficiency

  1. Does your builder seem to be organized and proactive, or is he scattered between multiple job sites and continuously reactive? Is your builder attacking the day or being attacked?

    1. A successful builder knows what needs to be done and does it. Being organized, planning ahead, and communicating before issues ever arise help to save time, eliminate issues, and ultimately help to save the homeowner money.

    2. Supply chain issues are real and have become more unstable over the past few years. Assuming your builder helped you make decisions… NOW, has your builder acted upon your decisions and ordered materials. So often it happens that builders “get busy” and tasks get halted or stall at their desk.

    3. Most all variable decisions for the home can be made before the jobsite has ever been touched. An organized builder is able to “buy time” by acting proactively and acquiring the physical goods that each subcontractor needs before they arrive.

5. Personality

  1. This section is completely subjective and different for every homeowner. Your builder’s personality might not tangibly affect the outcome of the finished product, but it will surely affect the build experience along the way. Building a custom home is around a 9 month journey filled with obstacles, hurdles, puzzles, and points of stress - do you want to work with a jerk? How well does your builder listen and respond to your questions and concerns? How pleasant will it be to visit your house during the construction process?

    1. This point is different for everyone, but if you are choosing between two builders who seem similar in many ways…. Who would you rather spend the next 9 months with? Furthermore, how much money is that worth if your preferred builder offers you a higher bid than the competitor? Does peace or comfort have a price value in your head?

Your Home - Your Decision

Choosing a general contractor to build your new custom home is a consequential decision that will directly affect your home and the build experience you have along the way. Take the time required to make a thoughtful decision. Good luck with your build and we hope your future home is everything you have dreamed it will be.

Southern Oak Custom Homes


bottom of page