If you’ve decided that new construction makes sense for another investment property instead of an existing home, you’ll need a builder. And if this will be your first build or perhaps the last build left a bad taste in your mouth, you need to thoroughly vet your builder.

Get some referrals from friends, interviewing a buildercolleagues and real estate agents and have your builder interview checklist ready. What are some of the things you need to ask a potential builder?

How long have you been in business? This may be an obvious question but you’d be surprised that many assume a builder has been around forever or the builder is automatically qualified.

Can I see a list of recent homes you’ve built? If you can’t get one, the interview pretty much stops here. A good builder will have a stack of references ready, complete with pictures, addresses and contact information from previous clients.

How do you handle change orders? You need to know in advance and verify it in the contract that is responsible for change orders. If the builder makes a mistake or tries a “work around” that didn’t work, it should be the builder’s responsibility to pick up the extra cost. Design changes or other personal touches after construction has started will be yours and see if the builder charges anything extra for a change order beyond the extra labor and materials.

Can I see a sample contract? You don’t need to review the contract during the interview, but take one home and review it later. All questions need to be referred to the builder and perhaps an attorney.

Who handles the payments to your subcontractors? General contractors will have their own staff as well as third party subs. You need to make sure contractor has enough funds to pay the workers or they may just leave the job.