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New Homes

Choosing the right builder is a critical step

Todd Lewys / Winnipeg Free Press

Deciding who to buy a new home from is as important a decision as what and where you’ll build.

Building a new home is likely the largest investment a person will make in their lifetime and it can be an intimidating process. Many potential new home buyers have imagined building their dream home but instead decide to buy an existing home because they don’t know where or how to start the process of building a new home. But there are simple steps that can help any new home buyer begin the process of building their new home. The first step is, of course, planning.

The summer months are a great time to do the planning and research needed to determine what your new home needs and wants are. Understanding what you need and want — in terms of the size and functionality of the home, your lifestyle, life stage, and location — will help you determine which neighbourhoods are best suited to your current and potential needs. Once you determine what your new home needs are and which neighbourhood is the right fit for your family, the next step is to find the right builder.

Deciding who you buy your new home from is as important a decision as deciding what and where you want to build.

Each home building company is unique so finding the right builder for your specific needs is a key decision. Home building companies in Manitoba can range from smaller builders who build only a few homes per year to large companies that build hundreds of homes. Each builder caters to a different type of customer. So how do you know which one is right for you?

This is where some online research can help you get to know the builders in the community or new development you are looking at building in. Visit the development’s website to see which builders are building in the community. Visit the builders’ websites to get a sense of their history and experience, the types of homes they build, and if they specialize in certain aspects of design and construction.

Check to see if the builder is a member of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association. A quick visit to the MHBA website’s Our Members section provides a full listing of our builder members. Membership in the MHBA is a strong indication that a new home builder is a professional who is committed to customer satisfaction, is committed to safety, and is in business for the long term. Another key resource is the Better Business Bureau. Any complaints listed against a builder will be posted on the BBB’s website. Check social media and ask for customer references directly from the builder to learn more about them.

Once you’ve put together a list of builders and homes you want to research, the next step is to schedule a visit to the builder’s show home or contact them directly for an initial discussion. This is how you will learn the details of how they approach construction and the different services they offer.

Make sure you ask the builder to explain how their company deals with the buying process, their after-sale service, and what is covered under their third-party new home warranty. Have them explain how and when final features and finishes selection takes place, what the payment milestones are, and how those milestones are defined. Find out what their policy is regarding on-site visits and the pre-delivery inspection.

These are all important questions to have answered before making a final decision on which builder is the right fit for you.

Lanny McInnes is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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