Shopping for a brand new home can be exciting. But choosing the right builder is just as important as the home you choose. If you are thinking of buying a new home, be sure you do your research before deciding on a home builder.
Whether you want to live in a large urban area or a smaller community, you will have a number of builders to choose from and each company may offer a different selection of homes. For example, some may focus on specific market segments or neighbourhoods. Others may specialize in particular types of homes or have certain distinctive expertise, such as adult lifestyle design or resource efficient homes.
As you look at homes and communities, also think about the company behind them. You’ll need to do a lot of legwork, visiting neighbourhoods and talking to builders. Before you hit the pavement, it’s a good idea to do some pre-planning to determine what type of house you want. This will help you to focus on the decisions ahead and prepare you for a successful house search.
Try to learn all you can about the community you want to live in and the builders in the area. Then, take a close look at each builder you are considering with these questions in mind: What is their reputation? Do they build a quality home? What is their after-sales service policy? You’ll also want to be sure you match the type of builder – small, medium, large or custom – based on the type of home you want.
In fact, there are so many questions you’ll need to answer that it’s best if you make a list of them and of your “must haves” and “like to haves” and bring it with you when you visit the various building sites. Take notes as you talk to different builders and maybe even take photos.
If you are looking at model homes, don’t be shy – stand in every corner, sit down and look up and even jump on the floor to feel the solidity of the construction. As you go through your research, think about the specific characteristics you equate with quality; and use that list to compare the homes you visited.
It may sound like hard work, but finding the builder who is right for you is worth the time and effort. Two good places to find builders in your area are the home section of your local newspaper and the web site of the local Home Builders’ Association. Word of mouth is also a great source and you can be sure your friends, family and co-workers will be more than willing to share their experiences with you.
Once you have a few names, you can check if they are a member of a third-party new home warranty program, which is mandatory in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia and optional in other provinces.
Take the time to find a builder who has the experience, skills and commitment to customer service that you need. CMHC’s Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the home buying process in five simple steps. Download your free copy at www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.
About the Author: Christina Haddad is the Regional Vice-President, Ontario at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.