Once you’ve made the decision to build a new home, choosing the ideal Calgary builder to suit your needs is one of the most critical choices you have to make. Here are a few tips to help you know what to look for when it comes to the construction of your dream home.
1. Know What You Really Want
While many builders in Calgary develop a wide variety of homes, most of them specialize in specific kinds based on their pricing range or design style. For example, very few companies construct small starter homes for first-time buyers as well as million-dollar models.
If you’re currently renting and are interested in buying a new home, you’ll want to consider things like the number of rooms you want, outdoor spaces, floor plans, etc. before you approach a builder. The construction materials, industry contractors, and often even the construction process may vary significantly according to what you want, so it’s best to know ahead of time.
2. Make Sure They Offer What You Want
Although a lot of home builders are skilled in a number of different design themes and structural details, you should generally look for one whose portfolio has at least a few examples of the home design you’re interested in. For example, if you enjoy the look of rustic or more traditional homes, you may want to talk to a builder who offers arts and crafts or craftsman styles.
3. Determine the Builder’s Level of Experience
All home builders (even the most skilled and well-known ones) had to start somewhere. In fact, many brand new home building companies are launched by seasoned building veterans. For this reason, you shouldn’t completely disregard a new company, but you should seek out those with solid overall experience in building the kind of home you’re looking for.
4. Check Their Customer References
Most reputable home builders will provide you with customer testimonials and recommendations. A good question to ask is whether or not they would recommend or buy again from the company, and determine why they feel the way they do.
5. Check for Permits and Licenses
A good Calgary home builder will have up-to-date permits, licenses and any other additional paperwork required to organize a safe, timely and legal build.
6. Review Their Warranty
One key benefit of new home construction is the home and a lot of the structural components and systems are warrantied. Since 2014 the Alberta New Home Warranty Program has required all new home builders to provide warranties on their products, so your new home will be covered for:
- One year on labour & materials (fixtures, flooring, baseboards etc.)
- Two years on the distribution systems (water, electric, heating)
- Five years on the building shell (the roof and exterior walls)
- Ten years for the key structural components like the home’s frame and foundation
Although all new home constructions in Alberta are required to have this warranty, the details may vary from builder to builder. Be sure to know ahead of time exactly what the warranty entails, or to learn, take a look at our New Home Warranty Program guide.
7. Determine the Resale Value of Their Other Homes
Excellent reputations go hand in hand with excellent builders. Look for those with homes that tend to keep or increase their value. There is no exact formula for determining this, but if you see a builder’s homes hold or go up in price, that’s a promising indicator.
8. Find Out if They’re Involved With Industry Groups
High-quality builders are generally part of their local building associations as well as members of the Canadian Home Builder’s Association. These memberships often indicate whether a company is up to date on the latest rules and regulations and is in good standing locally and nationally.
9. Tour Show Homes
After you’ve distilled a working list of potential Calgary home builders you would work with based on the above standards, this is your most crucial step. Nothing is as telling about a builder as touring a home they’ve built. Visit show homes and, while you’re in the neighbourhood, drive around and take a look at other completed homes. Carefully study the appearance, quality, and overall ambience of the property.
10. Look for Signs of Quality
Check for indications of focused, high-quality construction whenever you tour these homes. In addition, think about the construction materials they use. Are they manufactured by companies with hard-earned track records of product quality? Have they won multiple builder awards? Are they using energy efficient materials? Do the houses being built in the neighbourhood display evidence of proper construction and maintenance? These are all important questions to ask as you determine the best Calgary home builder for your needs.
11. Determine the Quality and Trustworthiness of Builder Employees
Do the members of the builder’s staff seem to have a genuine concern for you and what you need? Do they listen closely? Do they answer your questions? Are they respectful, punctual, and business-like when you interact with them? Do they seem happy with their current position? How long have they worked for the builder? These are all good indicators of a company that cares about its staff, delivering quality service and a high level of customer satisfaction.
Selecting the right builder for your home is not something that can be done overnight. But by following the 11 steps listed above, you will have a great head start on finding a quality Calgary builder that’s a great match for you and all your new home build desires. Above all else, don’t be afraid to ask a prospective builder any and all questions you can think of. A good builder will be happy to help!
Originally posted on Jan 12, 2017, updated on Sept 17, 2018.