Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Location..Location..Customer Service?

This article first appeared in the Homes Extra section of the Toronto Sun, April 13-15 edition. View here.

The laws of selling real estate have been the same for generations; location, location, location. A desirable location will dictate a premium price point based on higher demand; conversely a less desirable location will have less demand and therefore be cheaper. But for new homes, should you consider customer service & brand reputation in the same regard as location and price? The answer is yes, and here’s why.

In Ontario, all new homes are built to code, and backed with a mandatory warranty through TARION Warranty Corporation. What is not regulated, however, is the level of service & communication you will receive from your builder. From construction timelines & administrative procedures to occupancy & homeowner maintenance; your builder’s customer care initiatives will have an immense impact on your ownership experience.

For a new home buyer, the real experience starts when you take possession. Keep in mind that any new home or condo will require proper operation & routine maintenance of the home’s components; both of which are mandatory to preserve the warranty & the resale value of the home. Before choosing a builder, be confident they will give you everything you’ll need to take care of it, such as initial training, product operating manuals & maintenance guides and a dedicated resource to answer your questions as they arise.

Conducting simple research will tell you a lot about a builder’s post-occupancy service. Look for things like; does the builder have a “homeowner resource” section on their website? Do they have a referral program? A quick search of the TARION Builder directory will reveal any history of chargeable conciliations, and how many. If possible, speak with current or past homeowners to get a feel for their experience. Most importantly, ask the builder questions & get responses in writing if you are determining your buying decision on the answer.

Your desired location will dictate your options in terms of who you buy from, but ultimately you have the final say in who you choose. Select a builder who focuses on post-occupancy customer service, so you can enjoy your new home for years to come.
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