Home Builder Comparison Checklist
Welcome to your guide to finding the perfect home builder in Edmonton! This Home Builder Comparison Checklist is designed to help you make the right decision when looking for your ideal home builder. With our Checklist, we aim to simplify this process by helping you evaluate and compare the offerings of various home builders.
This checklist has all of the critical elements you’d want to consider when choosing your builder. It covers aspects such as the builder’s local reputation, the quality of their previous work, their pricing and transparency, and their ability to customize designs to suit your unique needs.
We understand that building or buying a home is a significant investment, and we want you to make the most informed decision possible.
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The Home Buying Process
The home buying process can feel intimidating and overwhelming at times. You’ll want to make sure you’re working with a builder that’s capable of delivering on your vision, while still offering excellent value for money. To ensure you’re informed throughout the process, you’ll want to consider the following aspects when comparing your options:
- Were there home models that fit within your budget?
- Does the builder have a preferred lender?
- Does the builder offer incentives or promotions you’re interested in?
- Does the builder offer the model you want in the community you want?
- Will you have one main contact throughout each stage of the process?
- Will you have the opportunity to do a walkthrough of your home before each stage begins?
When evaluating your options, you’ll also want to consider the home builder’s customer service. Taking the time to research reviews and past projects can give you a better sense of what kind of service you can expect and how the builder operates.
Here are some key questions to ask:
- Does the builder have a good online reputation?
- Does the builder have any awards or recognitions?
- Are your questions being answered in a timely manner?
- Is the builder helpful and knowledgeable?
- Did you feel comfortable in your first interaction with the builder?
- Did you feel pressured to buy when you visited the builder’s show home?
- Will the builder give you regular updates on the progress of your new home?
- Does the builder have a helpful website/online presence?
- Is the builder an active part of the community?
- Can the builder provide references from previous clients or industry professionals?
- Who are the people you’ll be working with – Project manager, architects, interior designers? Are they qualified and easy to work with?
- Does the builder use modern technology (like 3D modelling, virtual walkthroughs) for better visualization of the project before it’s built?
- How flexible is the builder with changes during the construction process? Are they able to adapt if you decide to adjust plans midway?
Pricing & Finances
When hiring a home builder, cost is naturally an important factor. Your budget will determine which builders are within your price range and if they can offer the amenities you desire. Asking for quotes from different contractors will give you a better idea of what kind of features you can expect to get for your desired budget. You’ll also want to be aware of any hidden fees or extra costs you may incur.
As mentioned above, some builders may have a preferred lender they partner with. However, it’s important to shop around and compare rates from different institutions.
Consider the following questions when evaluating the builder’s pricing and finances:
- Are there any hidden fees or extra charges that you need to be aware of?
- How does the builder’s pricing compare to other similar builders in the area?
- Does the cost align with the quality and value you’re receiving?
- Does the builder offer financing options?
- How transparent is the builder about costs?
Communication & Transparency
Clear communication and transparency are essential when choosing a home builder. You’ll want to ensure you understand all the details of the project, from start to finish. It’s important to have a clear idea of what is expected from each party throughout the process.
When evaluating builder communication and transparency, consider the following questions:
- How well does the builder communicate with clients?
- Are they responsive to queries and changes?
- Is the builder clear and upfront about costs and timelines?
- Does the builder have a comprehensive checklist to make sure all details are covered?
- Does the builder keep clients informed of any changes or updates to plans?
- Will you receive regular progress reports from the builder throughout each stage?
- Are there any additional documents or contracts you need to review before signing on with the builder?
The quality of craftsmanship is a crucial aspect when selecting the builder for your dream home. You’ll want to ensure that the final product perfectly matches your vision and will stand the test of time.
Here are some important questions to ask to ensure you’re getting the best quality build:
- How long has the builder been operating?
- Does the builder have safe and clean construction sites?
- Does the builder use licensed tradespeople?
- Does the builder follow standard industry code for new home builds?
Local knowledge is a valuable asset when selecting a home builder. A local builder will have an intimate understanding of the area and can provide useful insight into the best materials, design elements, and methods that suit your unique environment.
A well-established local builder may also be able to save you money on your build, as they’ll have contacts with many local suppliers and tradespeople in the area.
When evaluating local knowledge, consider the following questions:
- Does the builder have experience working in your specific area?
- Is the builder familiar with any local building codes or regulations?
- Can they provide references from recent projects in your area?
- How does their portfolio compare to other builders in your area?
- Does the builder have contacts with local suppliers or tradespeople for your build?
Finishes & Features
Finishes and features can be the most exciting part of your new home build! Taking the time to consider the design elements you’d like to include in your build will ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want from your new home. You’ll want to consider things like flooring, cabinetry, countertops, lighting fixtures, paint colours, tile choices and any additional features you’d like to include in your build.
When evaluating finishes and features, consider the following questions:
- Are the finishes/features you want considered standard?
- Does the builder allow for custom floor plans or modifications to existing plans?
- Can you choose your own fixtures, finishes, and appliances?
- Are you able to make changes to your home’s interior after you’ve signed the purchase agreement?
- Does the builder offer a landscaping package?
- Does the builder’s design aesthetic align with your vision for your home?
Green Building Practices
If you’re looking for a more sustainable living space, then researching green building practices can be beneficial. Many builders are now incorporating environmentally friendly methods into their builds to reduce energy costs and minimize the impact on the environment.
When evaluating green building practices, ask the following questions:
- Does the builder use recycled materials and/or low-VOC paints?
- Do they employ energy-efficient construction techniques?
- Are they using renewable resources like solar panels or wind turbines?
- Will the build include features to help maintain healthy indoor air quality, like double-glazed windows and ventilation systems?
- Does the builder use sustainable, eco-friendly building methods and materials?
- Do they offer energy-efficient options?
- Are they certified with BUILT GREEN® Canada?
Home Warranty & After Sales Service
New homes in Alberta are required to be covered by a warranty under the New Home Buyer Protection Act, so you’ll be guaranteed for up to 10 years on certain parts of your new home. You’ll also want to consider any additional warranties or guarantees that may be offered by the particular builder.
When evaluating home warranties and after-sale service, consider the following questions:
- Is the builder a member of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program?
- Does the builder offer extended warranties beyond the mandatory Alberta New Home Warranty?
- Does their after-sales service rate well?
- Are they prompt in addressing any issues that arise after completion?
Time frames can vary greatly from builder to builder (and depending on the scope of your build), so it’s important to know the expected completion date before signing an agreement. If you’re in a rush to move into your new home, make sure you ask about lead times for each stage of the process and get any timelines in writing.
When evaluating time frame expectations, some questions to ask include:
- How long does the builder take to complete a project?
- Will they give a clear timeline?
- How does their building timeline compare to other builders?
- How often can you expect to receive updates from the builder?
Note: If your chosen builder scores a “no” on ten or more of these questions, they’re probably not the best fit for your new home-buying experience.
About the Author:
At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.
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