How to Check References

Strategies for getting the most from this important step

The vast majority of builders are happy to provide prospective clients with a list of people for whom they have recently built homes. They encourage prospective clients to call these references and ask about their experience and level of satisfaction.

References may also include financial partners, trade contractors, materials suppliers, and other colleagues who can provide perspective on their professionalism and track record of performance.

Homeowners who fail to check their builder’s references do themselves a disservice.

After all, a reference check is an easy way to avoid trouble and an important confirmation that hiring a particular company is a good choice.

Reference call etiquette

Like you, our past clients are highly successful people who lead busy and productive lives. When calling a reference, be direct and respectful of their time. Let them know who you are, that David Baud from Baud Builders gave you their name, the purpose of your call, and if this is a good time to chat.

Consider these questions as a starting point for learning about your builder from previous clients.

What kind of home was built?

Was the home finished on time and on budget?

Would they recommend the builder to others?

Additional questions can include:

  • Is the company organized? Is paperwork thorough and complete?
  • Does the company keep deadlines and schedules? Small things, like being on time for meetings, can strongly influence homeowners’ satisfaction.
  • Was the home finished as expected? This reflects the builder’s skill at writing detailed specs and setting realistic expectations.
  • Were the builder and his team pleasant to work with? Any construction project is a team effort, and the best contractors have good working relationships with everyone, including architects, interior designers, trade contractors, and other professionals.
  • As a final question, consider asking, “Is there anything else I should be asking or you want me to know?

Lastly, be sure to thank the builder’s client reference for their time and information.

If you do uncover a problem, don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, get the builder’s side of the story. For instance, if the home went over budget, a follow-up conversation might reveal that the homeowners made a lot of costly changes after things were underway. These types of follow-up conversations set the stage for honest communication.

Any reluctance on the part of the builder to provide references is a red flag. A forthcoming attitude is a good sign that the builder values transparency and is secure in his or her reputation.


Make it a great day!
David Baud
David Baud CGR, CGB, CGP
Baud Builders, Inc.
PO Box 5708
Wakefield, RI 02880

(401) 789-1176 – Phone
(401) 789-2258 – Fax

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.