Scott Cam on How to Choose Your Home Builder


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The thought of being ripped-off by a dodgy builder is about as attractive as spending sleepless months sharing a swag with a swarm of mosquitoes!

Thankfully, there are ways to avoid such nasties by making sure that:

a) The builder you choose is competent and trustworthy,

b) Your contract is sound before it gets your signature.

choosing a builder

How to spot a dodgy builder

If you’re still undecided who to build with, here’s some warning signs to help you avoid unsavoury operators:


Don’t enter into an arrangement with a builder who refuses to show references. It’s a sure sign of inexperience or they’re hiding a history of poor workmanship.


Be wary of choosing a builder on price alone, because in this business you get what you pay for. If a quote is too good to be true, the builder may be cutting corners and using low-quality materials.

Quotes and deposits:

If the builder avoids a written quote, my advice is drop and run! Just as suspect is a move where you’re asked to make a whopper deposit. Just so you know, the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 limits deposit amounts and regulates ‘progress payments’ across the industry.


Check the builder has their entire operation – and your home building project – insured in full. You want to be 100% certain you’re not liable in event of workmanship issues, or any accidents on site.


Builders and tradies must have appropriate certification and licences for their trade. Be careful of any builder who does not meet WA’s licensing and registration requirements.

Rushing the contract:

Any builder who wants you to sign a contract in a rush (because they’re really hoping you and your lawyer won’t properly review the small-print) is definitely up to something.

Questionable finance arrangements:

Most builders work with finance brokers, some of them come up with weird and wonderful ways to fudge your home loan application to enable you to build a house that you may not be able to afford or may not qualify for. If they are prepared to go to these lengths, imagine what they will do when they are building your house!

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