WHAT SHOULD I ASK A BUILDER?
Selecting a builder is an important step in the home-buying process. You want to be certain that the overall quality of your new home and the level of service you receive before and after you buy will be professional and meet your expectations. Here are some questions you should ask:
Are you a member of a Home Builders’ Association?
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is a national organization made up of companies involved in the home building industry. Membership in the CHBA is an important indication that a builder is a committed professional. As an organization, the CHBA is committed to supporting professional development within the industry. Member home builders have access to the latest information about building products, materials and practices.
How long have you been building homes?
Experience makes a difference. For professionals, home building is a career and their reputation is their greatest asset. Find out how and when the builder got into the business. Ask about previous home building activities and request a list of past customers you can contact for a reference. A professional builder will be happy to provide this information.
Is your company enrolled in a third-party warranty program?
A professional home builder provides buyers with a warranty that is guaranteed by a third-party, such as the Atlantic Home Warranty Program. A warranty provides important protection to buyers. Ask your builder about the third-party warranty they provide, Compare the specific coverages carefully to make sure you are getting the warranty protection you want.
What type of after-sales service program does your company provide?
In addition to warranty protection, a professional builder will provide an after-sales service program to correct any minor problems that may occur with your new home. Ask how this program works, how home owners request service and how quickly service problems are resolved normally. A builder’s after-sales service performance is part of the value they provide. Be sure to ask the builder’s references about after-sales service.
Can we visit one of your worksites?
Work sites offer many clues about how builders operate and the quality of the homes they build. Ask for a tour of a home under construction and a chance to meet the construction crew. Take note of the details. Is the site clean and well organized? Are materials properly stored out of the weather? Is your overall impression of the site and the workers positive?
Remember that safety on the work site is vital. Showing up unannounced or after work hours could be hazardous to someone who is unfamiliar with the area. Your builder will be happy to arrange a tour to safely guide you through the construction process.
If we like your floor plans but want some changes, what is possible and how much would it cost?
Today’s professional home builders provide flexibility so that your home can be customized to meet your specific needs. Ask builders about their design and customization options and what typical plan changes cost. Remember, professional builders want to build your home, not sell you theirs.
What is included in the listed price of the home, what options do you offer and what do they cost?
It is common practice for builders to offer customers a wide range of options to select from. This allows you to customize your home and choose the products, materials and finishing you really want. A professional builder makes sure the base price of every new home is clear and that the cost of upgrades and options is also clear.
What is the total cost of buying this home and when will it have to be paid?
In addition to the purchase price of a home, there are a number of other costs associated with home buying, from legal fees and utility hook-up charges to various taxes levied by governments. The specific details of these costs vary from community to community, but your builder or sales representative should explain them clearly before you make a final purchase decision.
What type of products and materials will be used in the home, and do they meet Canadian standards?
Professional new home builders select materials and products carefully to ensure the home delivers long-term value and peace of mind. Brand-name materials and products, backed by a manufacturer’s warranty, signify quality. Materials and products manufactured by stringent Canadian standards will provide years of safe, worry-free performance.
Who would be our contact person during construction and how often could we visit the site?
Watching your new home being built is an exciting process that you should be a part of. Throughout construction, you will want to know how things are going and receive regular updates from your builder. If you have questions or need information, you need to know who to contact within the builder’s firm. Many professional builders will want you to take formal site tours at different points in the construction process. Ask for details.
When could we move in?
Today, most builders pre-sell the homes they build. When you are considering a new home purchase, you need to know when your new home will be ready. Ask about the construction schedule, and when you would need to make decisions about appliances, fixtures, paint colours and other items.