Thursday, November 7, 2013

Compatibility Testing: Finding the Builder who Rings your Bell

You probably already suspect this, but random guesswork really isn’t the best method of choosing a Ottawa builder. (Just remember how long it’s taken you to find the right hairdresser.) So, how can you go about ensuring that you’re putting your eggs in the right basket?

First of all, you can narrow down your options fairly quickly by looking at your list of must-haves. Blogs and the Bennett Property Shop website are terrific for zeroing in on possible builders according to neighbourhood, housing type and budget. Some Ottawa builders specialize in features you may be looking for, such as wide lots, green technology or R-2000 construction. The Internet is another excellent tool for locating builders who meet your requirements.

But making the shortlist is the easy part. When it comes to actual research, the most important piece of advice I give my clients is this: don’t be afraid to be nosy!

In your day-to-day conversations with friends, acquaintances and co-workers, dig around. You may not realize it, but you have a network of important contacts at your disposal – even if no one in your immediate circle has had recent experience with a builder, they all know someone who does.

When you speak with a Ottawa builder’s sales representative, work from a list of prepared questions: for instance, how open is the builder to adapting their plans to suit your personal needs? What is the builder’s rating for after-sales service with the Tarion Warranty Program? Ask for references from previous clients.

When you tour a model home, inspect every nook and cranny: if the model can’t withstand the closest scrutiny, you can be fairly sure that your home won’t, either. If there are no models, request a tour of a customer’s home. As wonderful as the plans may look on paper, you need solid evidence of good workmanship.

Talk to people in your prospective Ottawa neighbourhood. If you’re too shy to knock on doors, stop and chat with people on the street. You’ll find that most are glad to share their stories, whether they love their builder to bits or encountered issues. Be sure to speak with more than one Ottawa home owner.

And remember: whatever may have happened to the cat, there are some situations where curiosity pays!

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