Building a home is a huge decision and commitment. You want to make sure that you’ve asked all the questions, covered all the bases, and looked under every rock. And when you do, sometimes you find that the enormity of the project causes you to look for alternative solutions.So, you start looking at kit homes or packaged homes. Then upon a little research you realize that there are lots and lots of choices! How on earth do you decide if or which? I believe my experience with these companies can help you.Dozens and dozens of packaged homes and hundreds and hundreds of clientsAs I look back over the many years I’ve coached people, I realize that I’ve been through it all. I’ve experienced all the advantages, disadvantages, learning curves, exhilarations and temporary defeats. One thing I’ve learned well is how to choose a kit home company.If you are considering building a home and if you’re thinking about using a packaged/kit home, there are some rules you need to follow. But, let me state up front. The chances are good you’ll never avoid all problems. That’s simply the nature of building … kit home or not!FOLLOW THE RULESIt may sound trite and amateurish to say you must follow “Rules” when you pick a home building company, but my experience tells me that when stated this way, people pay more attention. There’s a reason I want you to pay attention. I have seen so many mistakes and frustrations with packaged home companies that I truly want you to have a heads up and head start when it comes to your project.Rule #1:Be absolutely clear about what it is you’re looking forIn this article, I’m assuming that you’ve done your homework and you already know what you want in a home. You’ve checked out house plans, building materials, financing options, and construction labor. Now that you have this information, take the time to prioritize what you want and make some clear decisions as to what you’re looking for.Rule #2Research to find at least 20 companiesUse the internet to search for companies that offer packaged homes. There are a lot of them. You’ll want to make a list of around 20 companies so that you have enough options to compare against your “clearly defined goals” from rule number one. You may use search words and phrases like: Kit homes, packaged homes, panelized homes, modular homes, log homes, build your own home, SIP homes, etc.Rule #3Narrow search to 3-5 companies most suitableGo on their websites and learn as much as you can before contacting any of them. See which ones match your wants and needs the best. Look for their customer service policies, their location, their delivery range, and their presence in your community. See if they provide a list of references. Then, narrow your search to the 3 to 5 companies you feel most positive about.Rule #4Call three different departmentsMake some phone calls. 1) Call the sales department and ask how they sell their packages. Do they have a local representative in your area? 2) Call the customer service department and see how responsive they are. This won’t always tell you a lot but it will certainly be enlightening if they don’t have one or don’t respond to you. 3) Call the local representative and ask him for references … customers and contractors he or she has personally worked with.Rule #5Contact three different current and former customersCall the references! There is no excuse not to talk to these references. I do not suggest that you invade their privacy, however. The more respectful you are the more they’ll be willing to talk to you and open up about their experiences. Dig a little deeper into things that sound “iffy” to you. Try to see a house that is under construction now.Good luck! There is no building panacea out there. Following these rules will help you make the best decision. A kit home might just be a great option. If so, you’ll now be prepared to choose the best one for you.