One of the most common problems that homeowners, who have purchased a house or condo from a builder, complain about is Customer Service. They say that the builder is not addressing deficiencies in a timely manner, and that this is very frustrating for them. I have spoken to quite a number of homeowners with this complaint and then found out that the problem isn’t always due to the builder. Often times the problem is simply that this is a first time buyer of a new build, and they are not familiar with the process or procedures.
One of the most important things that I explain to my clients is, work as cooperatively with your builder as possible. Most builders will not send trades to do any work in a home if the homeowner cannot be present, (this is to protect the homeowner and the trades should anything happen during repairs or after the trade leaves the house). The homeowner needs to make arrangements for the trades to have access to their home so that the work can get done as quickly as possible. Some homeowners have told me that they cannot take time off work, so they have not given access, then they are upset because the deficiencies are not getting resolved. I explain that it is up to the homeowner to make alternative arrangements. Ask a friend or relative to help out and house sit whenever possible. This will help both the homeowner and the builder, and the deficiencies will then be able to get completed as quickly as possible.
I also tell my clients to return the builders phone calls. I spoke to one person who said that the builder had left a couple of messages on their voice mail, but that they kept forgetting to call back them back. How important could completing the deficiencies be if they couldn’t remember to return calls to the builder? Homeowners must take some responsibility when they purchase a new home. They have to work closely with their builder, and returning phone calls makes the difference between completing deficiencies in a timely manner, and having them remain outstanding for a long while.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some builders who are remiss in keeping proper contact with their homeowners, and some who are very lax when dealing with deficiencies. That is something I don’t really understand because of the Tarion time constraints. No builder wants a conciliation inspection, nor do they want to deal with an irate homeowner, yet they don’t seem to step up to the plate and get the work done. To homeowners who may have a builder like that, I say, stay on top of it. YOU call the builder, send emails, even go to the head office if need be. It’s a pain to have to do that, but some builders just need that extra push – unfortunately. You can even speak to Tarion Warranty Corporation about this, and they may be able to help as well.
The bottom line is, most builders want to work cooperatively with their homeowners, and most homeowners will work cooperatively with their builders, but homeowners still need to stay on top of things. As I have said in the past on postings, blogs and during my consultations, homeowners need to be easy to deal with. It is important to be respectful and as patient as possible with your builder. The old cliche saying that, you catch more flies with honey, happens to be very true especially when it comes to the purchaser/builder relationship, and believe me it will work to your advantage. I know that there are situations where, you as the homeowner, just want to lose it with your builder, but that will only create a tense relationship, something you really don’t want. So, just to recap, allow as much access as you can to the trades, return phone calls and emails from your builder, and try to keep in as much contact as you can with your builder.
Buying a home is almost like a business. You have certain responsibilities that must be met in order to get things done. You have to schmooze with your builder, and build relationships with the trades. In other words, you need to network. You want everyone to know that you are the homeowner that everyone loves to deal with, and you will see positive results.