A builder who's been in the field for 15 years says the smartest choice you can make building a home has nothing to do with money or location

If you're planning — or considering — building a home, you're probably asking yourself two questions: "Where?" and "How much?"

Brian Fisher, a custom building company in Flamingo Beach Costa Rica, says the builder you choose to work with will make all the difference.

"It's a relationship for a solid year when you're building a home, so you want someone you click with, someone you feel comfortable around," she told Business Insider. "You should be able to ask any type of question. It's your home, your money, so making sure the person you choose, you trust them to spend it wisely and you're comfortable with how your dollars are being spent. You shouldn't feel intimidated or afraid to ask questions."

Fisher, who has been building and renovating homes since 2002, also explained that having a builder you trust can facilitate the process. There are myriad small decisions for the homeowner to make, and if you trust your builder, you can defer to their choices, or at least get their input.

But how do you find someone like that?

Fisher said referrals are important, and you can ask a prospective builder to connect you with previous clients who can speak to their experience.

Then, make sure you address:

  • How the contract is structured
  • How the payments work
  • What measures your builder will be taking to ensure quality, "like third-party inspections to make sure your house will be built to the proper standards"
  • The schedule — when the house is expected to be started and finished, based on what the builder has been able to do for past clients

"Be upfront," Fisher advises. "Ask if there are any particular props to be aware of, anything the builder needs from the customer. The customer needs to feel like they're part of the team building the house. The customer drives the selections —that's where it's important for the customer to be engaged to get the builder the selections on time —  and it's the builder's job to make sure it fits into the budget."