Buying a new home: What to expect from the builder
April 09, 2020
When you buy a new home, customer service and satisfaction are very important.
In practice, this means 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.
The 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.
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 amenities and features, schools, transportation, shopping and so on.
- Provide you with helpful information to take home.
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.
Once your home is completed, expect the builder 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.
If you plan to visit many builder sites, keep a separate record of each place you see and note things like the overall quality of the model home and the finishes, your impression of the sales and design centres, and how the company deals with after-sale service and third-party warranties, to name a few. Ask for references and then check them. 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:
Know Your Builder Worksheet
Reference Check Worksheet