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The prospect of constructing a new home is exciting. Early in the process, you’ll need to hire a home builder. Take your time with this step and ask the right questions. In our many years of experience, we’ve found that people don’t ask enough or the right questions at the project start. Yes, everyone asks about cost, when the project can start, and when it will finish. Here are 7 more questions you should ask before choosing a home builder:

1. Ask for References
Don’t just let a prospective home builder speak for themselves — read their reviews and hear from their references.

2. “Do You Have Experience with This Type of Home?”
No matter a builder’s skill level or experience, whether they’ve constructed a home like the one you’re imagining can be a major factor in their ability to build yours to your specifications.

3. “How Will Things Be Communicated to Us?”
Almost no homebuilding process goes off without a hitch — it’s how changes in the cost or the timeline will be communicated with you that matters. You deserve to be an active, participatory part of your home’s build if that’s the role you choose.

4. Ask for a Portfolio
Any good builders will have a set of examples of past and current for you to look at, not only so you can get an idea of their building style, but also because they’re proud of what they do. This gives you a chance to judge for yourself whether they’re a good fit for your project.

5. “How Do You Vet Vendors/Subcontractors?”
You can have full trust in the company you choose, but do they trust the people they might be hiring to help out or provide materials?

6. “Do You Work with Outside Designers/Architects?”
Some builders will work with plans drawn up by a third party — others won’t. If you plan on using your own designer or architect to play a role in the process, this is a good question to ask.

7. “Do You Have Experience in this Terrain?”
This is an especially relevant question to ask builders in Colorado, where the landscape can change from flat and arid to mountainous in a matter of miles. It’s important to make sure that if you’re looking to build a lodge nestled in the Rocky Mountains, your builders know what they’re doing.