Customer Service—What to Expect from New Home Builders

Every business talks about customer service and satisfaction. What does it mean when you are buying a new home? What does a home building company really mean when it says, "We are service oriented"?

In a nutshell, it means that the builder puts you, the customer, first. The company is dedicated to building your home and satisfying your needs. This is much more than a “feel good” slogan or philosophy. For professional builders, the commitment to customer service is underpinned by a system of practices and processes designed to make every step of buying and building a new home easy and worry-free for you and your family.

The size of a company has little to do with service, or a company’s commitment to customers. Large or small, today's building companies work hard to provide the best possible buying experience to every customer. The commitment begins at the top of the company, and everyone is required to do their part, both the frontline people who come face to face with home buyers and the many behind the scene who build the homes.

Here are some thoughts on what you can and should expect, when you buy a new home from a professional new home builder.

Expect the builder and/or sales and site staff to:

  • Be open and honest—The foundation for a good relationship between you and your builder, and a positive buying experience, is trust, respect and good communication.
  • Be knowledgeable—A key part of their job is to inform and guide you on all aspects of home buying, from products to process.
  • Deliver on their promises—They do what they say they would do, with full attention to thoroughness and quality.

When you first visit the sales office or model home, expect the builder or staff to:

  • Be interested in finding out about your housing needs and wants: style, size, features, amenities, price range, location and timing. That way they can show you the most suitable homes and options.
  • Invite you for a tour of the model home(s), or give you detailed descriptions based on plans, drawings and scale models.
  • Give you an overview of the company’s buying and building process, their approach to design and finishing, opportunities to customize, and so on.
  • Be able to tell you about the community—a profile of who has bought to date, amenities and features, schools, transportation, shopping and so on.
  • Answer your questions. This is simple and critical—if they cannot answer your questions to your satisfaction, they may not be the builder for you.
  • Invite you back to the sales office for a second meeting or ask for permission to contact you again. If they believe that they can satisfy your housing needs, they will encourage further contact and communication.

When you are ready to buy, expect the builder or staff to:

  • Explain the entire building process clearly—who is responsible for what; timeframes; construction and payment milestones; the pre-delivery inspection; what's needed on closing.
  • Explain what you, as the home buyer, need to look after.
  • Provide a detailed written contract and review it with you in detail.
  • Appoint a contact person (e.g. the builder, the site manager, the salesperson) who will always return your messages promptly and never be too busy to respond to your concerns.
  • Give you regular progress updates, and make arrangements for your site visits during construction.
  • Give you plenty of warning, in case they run into delays.

Once your home is completed, expect the builder or staff to:

  • Explain in greater detail what is covered by warranties, for how long, and how to request after-sales service.
  • Explain what you can expect during the first year in your home, and a schedule of contacts and check-ups.
  • Provide prompt and satisfactory warranty service in a way that seeks to minimize any inconvenience to you.
  • Survey you about your experiences with their company and your satisfaction with your new home, so they know what they are doing right and where there is room for improvement.
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