Preconstruction Homes: 5 Tips For Choosing the Best Builder

Posted by Terry Paranych on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022 at 8:07am.

Tips for Choosing a New Construction Home Builder

Canadian homebuyers who want to design new construction homes will want to partner with the best home building companies to ensure every detail of their dream house becomes a reality. It can feel daunting to parse through the dozens of local options, but a little leg work can go a long way when it comes to finding the best builders.

There are many important things to know when buying a new construction home, so doing a bit of due diligence and research is essential. Taking time to choose a home builder is likely to pay off in the end with a remarkable property that becomes the talk of the neighbourhood. Ready to make build your dream house? Keep reading to find out what you need to look for when hiring a new construction home builder.

Look For Clear Signs of Experience & Knowledge

Top home builders in Canada are keen to showcase their knowledge and experience. They'll be eager to show off their portfolio of completed projects and offer potential buyers plenty of reviews and references from previous clients and contractors. Their teams typically include architects, designers, and professionals that ensure every detail reflects the buyer's vision.

There's no such thing as "asking too many questions" during the interview process, and the right builder for you will be ready to answer any curiosities you might have. A few critical questions to ask include:

  • Is in-house financing available?
  • Are structural and appliance warranties included?
  • Can contractors work with a privately chosen architect or design team?
  • What's included in the bottom line price versus upgrades?
  • Is there a cost-escalation clause in the contract to cover price increases and supply chain disruptions?
  • What certifications and insurance coverage do you carry?
  • Who will supervise the project daily?
  • What is the anticipated timeline for the project?

The best new construction home builders want clients to feel confident and comfortable with their decision when choosing them as a trusted builder.

Look for Good Reviews & Talk to Previous Customers

The home building industry is all about reputation. Between word of mouth and online reviews, it's easier than ever for prospective clients to get a clear picture of any builder's reputation. While an agent may have a preferred builder or one be chosen by contract for a master-planned community, buyers can find out a good bit online.

Charge up an internet-connected device, and check online customer reviews from verified sources. Don't be discouraged by a few less-than-stellar reviews. Even top builders will likely have a peppered mix of reviews from highly satisfied customers and commentary from some who experienced specific issues. However, multiple poor reviews for similar issues could be a red flag.

Other good resources include local home builders' websites or a national review site like Home Builder Canada. After doing some online research, get to the nitty-gritty by calling up references from a narrowed-down list. Getting the scoop from previous clients is the best way to learn about what to expect during the build and how amenable the contractors are to exceeding buyers' expectations.

Look for Proper Certification

Make Sure the Builder Provides Proof of Licensing/Certifications

The best home contractors in the industry are very willing to show their proof of meeting any requirements concerning licensing and certifications and insurance coverage. Not all provinces require contractors to be licensed, but it's always a good measure that reputable builders are likely to have to give clients greater peace of mind. Ideally, builders will have a Class A contractor's license to build a single-family home.

This can be essential in provinces like Alberta, which requires a contractor to be licensed to apply for specific building permits. Another essential document buyers will want to investigate is proof of construction liability insurance and workers' compensation, which is mandatory for all construction contractors.

New homes will come with a structural warranty agreement to cover defects for a certain period and often include coverage for major systems and any included appliances. Last but not least, be sure to overlook the contract for the build itself carefully. It's highly advisable to have a local real estate lawyer look at these documents before signing any deals. In general, an agent will have a team that reviews contracts.

Look for Quality in Previous Builds

While builders want to make an excellent annual profit, the best of the best will prioritize superior craftsmanship and attention to detail over having a high project completion rate. In the case of custom home builders, their numbers tend to be much smaller than a significant builder specializing in commercial and multi-residential properties.

When companies take on more projects than they can reasonably handle, the results are often less than desirable. Many of these builders use lower-quality materials that can lead to premature defects in the systems and structural design of the home. Avoid getting a "rushed" property by comparing the size of the company's team with how many homes they build each year.

By touring a few of the builder's previous and current job sites, buyers can also get a good idea of how the site is managed and protected during construction. While it's likely not possible to tour a site in the works, it's possible to witness how well a project seems organized. Are workers wearing safety gear? Are the construction materials sustainable and protected from the elements? These can be tell-tale indications of the quality of the company's results.

Familiarize Yourself With Every Builder's Portfolio

When you're looking for a new home, it's important to find a builder you can trust. One way to get an idea of a builder's work is to look through their portfolio. A portfolio will show you the types of homes they've built and give you an idea of their style. It's also a good way to see how many homes they've completed and, if the homes are dated, how often they finish homes. Knowing how often a builder completes homes can help you determine how much business the builder gets.

Being familiar with a builder's portfolio can be helpful in making sure you're choosing a builder who is experienced and has a good track record. If you take the time to look through a builder's portfolio, you'll be able to make a more informed decision about who to hire.

Building Your Perfect Home Starts With Finding the Perfect Builder

From designing the blueprints to decorating your new construction home, the building process allows ample opportunities to make the property your own. Once that perfect piece of property or lot in a community has been selected, the hunt begins for a reputable Canadian home builder. Using these savvy tips for choosing a top builder can mean the difference between a project's success or less-than-impressive results and help navigate what to know about new construction homes.

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