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New Building Blocks

By on Apr 03, 2008

By Marcia Luke

How many times have you heard: "They just don't build them like they used to"? Maybe like countless other buyers you want to know if there is some truth to this adage. To help you find out, try going through the step-by-step building process. This will help you gauge the role you should take before, during, and after your home's completion.

The first task should be to choose a good builder. There are a number of questions that you should ask the builder in order to compare all the homes you are interested in.

What makes their homes different from other developments?

How does the company incorporate new advances in housing technology?

How energy efficient is the home?

Is there an estimate on the energy costs?

What other elements make this home environmentally friendly?

Has air quality been taken into consideration?

Has the home been endorsed by the Government of Canada and utility companies?

When the house is inspected, will it be by an independent licensed professional?

When looking at a model suite, keep a pad and pen handy. You should be looking for: solid construction, quality finishing and attention to detail, layouts and size, standard and upgraded features, brand name products, and design flexibility should you ever wish to renovate. Take a look at some of the other developments the company has done, even those outside of your price range to get an idea of different layouts and features.

You can also conduct some additional research that will help you feel more secure about the builder. It doesn't take much time or effort and it's well worth the peace of mind. Find out if the company is a member of the Home Builders' Association in your area. Do they offer a new home warranty plan? What does it cover and how do they implement a follow-up system after the closing date. How long has the company been established and how many other developments has it successfully completed? Ask for references of other customers and call them to find out if they're happy with their home and the customer service they have received. Also, you can check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints against the company. This information will ensure that you are choosing a respected company and buying a quality new home.

When you feel comfortable with your choice of home, ask to have a sales agreement written. The sales agreement should be reviewed by a lawyer before you sign. You'll need to firm up your financing plans with your lender if the contract is conditional on approval. Take advantage of invitations to visit the construction site to see your homes progress throughout the building process. There should be at least three meetings between you and your builder and request more if you can. There's the pre-construction meeting, a rough walk through part way through building, and the pre-delivery inspection. You'll also meet to choose your finishes and final placement of outlets for cable, telephone, and electrical. After the closing date, your new home warranty begins and the builder will be sure to touch up any problems that may have occurred as a result of the house settling. These are perfectly normal, but should any other problems arise, contact the builder immediately.

The Building Process

1. Pre-construction meeting

2. Foundation

3. Framing

4. Shell complete

5. Exterior continues

6. Roughing in of plumbing/electrical

7. Rough- in walk through

8. Painting

9. Flooring

10. Kitchen cabinets

11. Electrical and plumbing

12. Finished

Old homes are not automatically better than new ones for many reasons. Today's builders have the benefit of experience and technology to help them build homes that are brighter, more energy efficient, and have better indoor air quality. Many skilled professionals work on your new home ensuring that your cupboards aren't manufactured by, say, the same person who built your foundation. Each person has an expertise and builders today take advantage of the variety. Some aspects of today's construction process are highly mechanized making building quicker and more accurate than ever before. New building components and materials provide many options in design, can reduce maintenance, and most importantly make you feel comfortable with your decision.

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