Finding a Builder
Where to Start
When you are ready to purchase a new home, one of the first steps is to take a close look at the builders in your community. Who you buy from can be almost as important as what and where you buy.
Home building companies are highly varied. Some build only a few custom homes each year, while others build hundreds of homes and whole new communities. Each company caters to specific types of home buyers and their needs.
Use Find a Professional to get the names of professional new home builders in your community. Many members have links to their own websites, so you can quickly get a first impression of the company, their homes and services offered. This will help you to zero in on builders that offer what interests you.
Your new home buying experience and satisfaction depend on finding the right builder for you. This website, and it’s Find a Member tool is a great place to begin looking.
Most new home buyers begin their search online. This can also provide you with insight into each home building company – there area of specialization, history, experience, and so on.
Use your online research to develop a list of builders and homes you want to learn more about, then take the next step—visit the company’s model homes or call the builder for an initial discussion.
There are a number of reasons we recommend that you focus your search on home builders that are members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association:
- Membership in the CHBA is a strong indication that a new home builder is a professional, dedicated to the business of home building, committed to customer satisfaction and in business for the long term.
- Membership in the Association is voluntary. Members agree to the CHBA's Code of Ethics, which is based on principles of fairness, integrity and consumer satisfaction.
- Being a professional new home builder means constant learning. Through the CHBA, members can keep up to date on technological advances, regulations, products and materials, financing, design and so on-in short, what they need to know to provide home buyers with the best and latest in the marketplace.
- Home building requires teamwork that involves the skills, and expertise of many suppliers and trades. Builders who belong to the CHBA have ready access to a network of professional companies and individuals providing services to the residential construction industry.
- Managing a successful home building business means understanding what's going on in the community, and how it might affect the industry and consumers. Association members have access to wide range of information to keep them informed and up-to-date on important community development issues.
Simply put, membership in CHBA is the sign of a home building professional.
Considering Energy Efficiency
If you in the market for a sustainable home, look no further then CHBA's Net Zero Homes. Net Zero Homes produce as much clean energy as they consume. They are up to 80% more energy efficient than typical new homes and use renewable energy systems to produce the remaining energy they need. Every part of the house works together to provide consistent temperatures throughout, prevent drafts, and filter indoor air to reduce dust and allergens. The result: exceptional energy performance and the ultimate in comfort – a home at the forefront of sustainability. It all adds up to a better living experience.
Find a qualified CHBA Net Zero Builder to help you get started.
What to Expect From a Home Builder
When you buy a new home, customer service and satisfaction are very important.
In practice, this means that the builder should make each step in the buying and building process easy and worry-free for you. And you should be treated as a valued customer long after you move into your new home.
The size of a company has little to do with service. Large or small, you should expect personalized service focused on you, your needs and your peace of mind. Here's what you can and should expect.
What to Expect: Builder and Team
Expect the builder and/or sales and site staff to be:
- Open and upfront: good service begins with honesty, trust and good communication.
- Knowledgeable: good service depends on in-depth product and process knowledge.
- Prompt and efficient: good service sets and respects realistic timelines.
- "On your side": customer-oriented builders and staff work for you and with you.
What to Expect: Visiting a sales office or model home
When you first visit the sales office or model home, expect the builder or staff to:
- Be interested in knowing 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.
- Take you on a tour of the model home(s), or give you detailed descriptions based on scale models, maps, drawings and blueprints.
- Explain the company's approach to design and finishing, and your opportunities to customize.
- Be able to tell you about the development and the area in detail – including a profile of who has bought to date, amenities and features, schools, transportation, shopping and so on.
- Provide you with helpful information to take home.
What to Expect: Ready to buy
Once you are ready to buy, expect the builder or staff to:
- Give you a clear explanation of the entire process: who is responsible for what; construction and payment milestones; what's needed on closing; after-sales service and warranty.
- Give you an idea of closing costs: what's involved, and general cost ranges.
- Provide you with a detailed written sales contract.
- Respect your wish to think about it and not pressure you to sign a contract.
- Appoint a contact (e.g., the builder, the sales manager or the salesperson) who will always return your messages promptly and never be too busy to deal with you.
- Make arrangements for your site visits during construction.
- Give you regular progress updates.
- And of course, deliver what they promised.
What to Expect: Upon Completion
Once your home is completed, expect them to:
- Give you a detailed orientation tour when you take possession of your new home, or shortly before, so you can inspect it thoroughly and they can explain how everything works.
- Explain what is covered by warranties, for how long, and how to request after-sales service.
- Explain what you can expect the first year, and a schedule of contact and check-ups.
- Ask 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.
To assist you in collecting information on the home builders you visit, and for talking to their customer references, you can download, print and use these two worksheets: