The Open Door Blog
Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.
The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.
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What does truly outstanding customer service look like in the world of new home ownership? We know there are many excellent builders in Ontario who place a premium on customer service. What is it about those builders who not only provide good service, but help define it? We recently heard from some of the top builders in Ontario about what they do to ensure their customers have an outstanding new home buying experience. Read on to find out some of the things that make these exceptional builders examples from which to learn.
Where the story begins
You walk into a builder’s sales office, ready to make what is most likely the biggest purchase of your life. You’re shown some drawings that several months from now will be your actual new home. As the dream moves from paper to real life, what are the kinds of things that will make you feel secure and confident that you are making not just a good decision but the right one?
Great builders take the time to really understand you. They do things like:
- Create a Pinterest board for you so that you can give them and their design consultants a sense of your personal style;
- Provide you with a dedicated design consultant who meets with you at each supplier location and helps guide you through selections; and,
- Meet with you to discuss your personality and specific needs so they can work with you in a way that is best suited to you as an individual.
Great builders also want to give you a clear idea of what’s involved in purchasing a new home. They invite you to a homeowner orientation event to meet the team and learn about the home buying process. Using the latest design software, maybe they can even provide you with a virtual walkthrough of your future home so you know exactly what you’re getting. They also create guides that explain the new home buying experience, including how to make changes, important contact numbers, financing options, and important dates.
A great builder maintains regular communication with you during construction, so you always know where things are at.
As the dream takes shape
You’ll probably experience a whole host of new emotions – maybe even some concerns or anxieties – during the days and months while your new home is being built. How your builder chooses to address them can tell you a lot about their commitment to service excellence. Here are some examples of excellent service:
Wondering if everything is on schedule? A great builder maintains regular communication with you during construction, so you always know where things are at.
Concerned about the quality of construction? A great builder schedules walk-throughs at various stages of construction to reassure you that their workmanship is exceeding your expectations.
Feel like you want to change your mind about something? Great builders will explain the impact to timing and cost. One builder told us they always work to accommodate a purchasers’ change requests, even if it means backtracking.
Your builder may be hard at work building your new home, but they can also be building your trust and confidence at the same time.
Welcome to your new home
Taking ownership of your new home should be an exciting time. However, sometimes, things happen that can quickly turn the excitement of new home buyers upside down – things like feeling rushed during the mandatory pre-delivery inspection; or noticing that dirt and debris have not been cleared away; or discovering that quite a bit of work still needs to be completed.
Contrast that with the builder who not only makes the time for one detailed pre-delivery inspection, but three! Or the builder who thoroughly cleans your home (including ductwork), and helps you do things like hang mirrors and towel bars and install your appliances at no extra cost.
When builders go to these kinds of lengths to ensure that your new home is move-in ready, it’s not surprising that many of them walk away from pre-delivery inspections with no issues to follow up on.
Happily ever after
The warranty that comes with every new home in Ontario sets out a minimum after-sales customer service standard that builders must follow. Builders who are committed to providing outstanding service far exceed these requirements in several ways. For one thing, they don’t wait for their homeowners to submit a warranty claim before they take action. Instead, they asks homeowners to contact them at any time with issues so that they can be addressed immediately. Some often go beyond what the warranty covers. One builder told us they will take care of just about any situation, whether or not it is covered by the new home warranty. Other builders provide extended warranty protection and continue to repair items even after warranty coverage has expired. One builder told us they often do repairs even after 10 years have elapsed.
This is the type of care and attention that leaves new home buyers feeling confident and happy for years after they move in.
To the builders who submitted nominations for the 2017 Ernest Assaly Award, we thank you for sharing your customer service insights with us. We know that you will continue to inspire confidence in the new home industry and provide extraordinary service to Ontario’s new home buyers.
We know there are many builders in Ontario who are providing superior customer service to new home buyers, and we’re always eager to hear about it. If you have a story to tell, feel free to share it with us.
Also, find out which builders have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to building quality and innovation, customer service and community involvement here; landing them a finalist spot for the inaugural 2017 Ernest Assaly Award.
The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.