If you're trying to find the best home builders, you don't necessarily need the most popular home builder. Instead, you need to hone in on the professional who is the best match for your personal style and preferences. Here are some tips on how to find that individual:
1. Keep a Folder of the Homes That Inspire You
To find the best builder for your needs, start by creating a collection of the homes that inspire you. On one hand, collect photos of old homes or even photos from other parts of the world. You won't be able to work with those builders (as they're typically deceased or far away), but inspired with those ideas, you can try to find a builder whose styles resonate with those designs.
This process also helps you figure out which features you like and dislike. To get a look at these homes, look at charity shops or bookstores for old architecture books, or do google image searches on homes from various places and time periods.
2. Collect Photos From Local Builders
At that same time, create a folder of home designs that are happening in your current area. Check local real estate websites, and look at the real estate section of your local paper. For instance, if you live in Sydney, you may want to look at Domain which is released with the Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. In particular, focus on sales in new neighborhoods or new construction, so you can get an idea of what local builders are doing.
3. Look at Builder's Neighbourhoods
As you start to figure out what you like and hone in in a few local builders, go out into a neighbourhood developed by the builders you are considering. If possible, go out during the weekend. Take a walk, and try to talk with people.
Just be honest, and say you're interested in that builder, and you want to talk about how they like living in one of their homes. Make sure to keep notes to guide you in the selection process.
4. Talk With Real Estate Agents
If you are buying land to develop the home, you are probably getting to know a real estate agent. Those professionals also tend to know a lot about local builders. You may want to ask your real estate agent which builder is best for you.
5. Ask for Portfolios
Once you have a shortlist of potential builders, call them up and start a dialogue. In many cases, they may have ideas or work that you haven't bumped into yet. As you talk, you will realise which home builder is the best for you.