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Old 09-11-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
CroFlames
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I am thinking of building a home. Not some fancy custom built thing, just a regular place for a family hopefully on a quiet street.

Plan is to build in Mahogany using one of the builders already there, and just selecting one of their models with minimal customization.

Are there builders I should stay away from, recommendations, and/or a checklist I should know about before I begin? I like what Calbridge & Morrison have to offer so far.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by CroFlames View Post
I am thinking of building a home. Not some fancy custom built thing, just a regular place for a family hopefully on a quiet street.

Plan is to build in Mahogany using one of the builders already there, and just selecting one of their models with minimal customization.

Are there builders I should stay away from, recommendations, and/or a checklist I should know about before I begin? I like what Calbridge & Morrison have to offer so far.
If you're building it isn't going to be a quiet street for a few years (depending how far along in development they are).
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Looks like you'll need one long before I will. May I suggest deflection king?
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:46 AM   #3
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if you aren't looking to customize you might try looking at a spec or show home.

Gets you into a newer neighborhood without the waiting and BS of dealing with construction.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:48 AM   #4
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Many builders will offer an incentive of free legal fees if you use their lawyer. This is ok so far as you don't need independent legal advice.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:32 PM   #5
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Maybe it's just me but I'm not a huge fan of Mahogany, gigantic community with only 1 major exit heading north. Not the end of the world but I'm just not a big fan of the community layout and the traffic associated with that
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:42 PM   #6
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spend some time thinking about upgrades that you might want that are handled at the build phase - i.e. a bigger garage.

my take on builders is that they are selling you another home and you are making the purchase of your life - so they are a little more casual about the deal.

and i don't think any of them use their own build crews, so I feel the quality is all about similar - of course there will always be extreme examples
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:28 PM   #7
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Yes, a bigger garage would be nice.

I bought a second hand home. Everything is almost perfect except for the garage. If the garage is like 6 inches wider each way and 6 inches longer, I don't have to squish my 2 cars and worrying about the doors slamming the side wall. Plus the front of the car won't be pressed against the staircase....
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:35 PM   #8
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I agree with the bigger garage. Don't just concentrate on the width. Also pay attention to how long it is. That's my biggest regret with my current house. I wish my garage was longer. You can never have too big of a garage IMO.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:37 PM   #9
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i know you said you weren't looking at a custom built home but what i would recommend doing is going to as many show homes as possible and getting pics of what you like and almost as important - what you don't like.
then when you are looking at spec homes you can have your 'must haves' check list and your 'must NOT have' check list.


our house was a custom build and at the design stage we met with the architect and gave her a cd full of pics. one folder on the cd was called "like" and the other was "hate this stuff".
she had never had that before (someone including stuff that is an absolute 'nope' ) but said it helped her a ton with the design.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:44 PM   #10
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With the current state of the market, I would consider negotiating hard on a spec home. Builders are sweating bullets sitting on inventory right now.

If you're not looking for a lot of customization, you should be able to find something suitable that's already built. You can always negotiate on paint colors, minor changes or that kind of thing. You probably end up with a better price, without the hassle and time of building.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:03 PM   #11
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I just bought a house in Mahagony a few months ago. From the sounds of your post, it looks like you are in the market for a bit more expensive home then I got if you are looking at Calbridge & Morrison.

But my experience was looking mostly at Hopewell, Jayman, and Excel.

Hopewell; we ended up landing on them, their sales team was excellent, knew their stuff and had no problem reaching out to others if they did not know. We also like the concept of having a higher standard then the other builder, stuff like large windows, nine-foot ceilings, etc. were just included. Having a higher standard than the other three, and being a first time home buyer, it relaxed me about forgetting to upgrade something.

Jayman; we visited them a few times, and I just wasn't comfortable with their sales team. I worried that if I was not comfortable with their sales team, I wouldn't be comfortable with the rest of their team. So they were eliminated pretty fast.

Excel; we almost went with them; they had slightly better features that we wanted. The reason we ended up nixing them is every time we would talk to them about upgrade pricing and how much the show home would cost to build out with the same upgrades, the price would change. I started to realize while they seemed like the better deal, once you included all the options Hopewell included, their price would be much higher.

After choosing Hopewell, I am happy with my choice. Their communication between their customer care team and their project team is a bit lacking; other than that everything has been good so far. We had one issue pop up, in the master they put a light switch in an odd spot, after asking about it, the realized the issue in their design and modified it right away.

As for Mahagony, I keep hearing the complaint about only one entrance, and this is not true. There are currently three entrances, and at least one more planned. I have been there at all hours checking up on my house, including rush hour, and never have I had an issue getting in. This issue is less a concern for me, as I plan to continue cycling into work.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:09 PM   #12
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While my situation was a bit different then yours, I wish I would have just did it all and been done with it. What I mean is, when we built our house we didn’t do the garage and the basement. Trying to save money and do it later. 10 years later I finally have my garage while my basement is mostly unfinished. Should have sucked it up and did it all in one shot.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krovikan View Post
I just bought a house in Mahagony a few months ago. From the sounds of your post, it looks like you are in the market for a bit more expensive home then I got if you are looking at Calbridge & Morrison.

But my experience was looking mostly at Hopewell, Jayman, and Excel.

Hopewell; we ended up landing on them, their sales team was excellent, knew their stuff and had no problem reaching out to others if they did not know. We also like the concept of having a higher standard then the other builder, stuff like large windows, nine-foot ceilings, etc. were just included. Having a higher standard than the other three, and being a first time home buyer, it relaxed me about forgetting to upgrade something.

Jayman; we visited them a few times, and I just wasn't comfortable with their sales team. I worried that if I was not comfortable with their sales team, I wouldn't be comfortable with the rest of their team. So they were eliminated pretty fast.

Excel; we almost went with them; they had slightly better features that we wanted. The reason we ended up nixing them is every time we would talk to them about upgrade pricing and how much the show home would cost to build out with the same upgrades, the price would change. I started to realize while they seemed like the better deal, once you included all the options Hopewell included, their price would be much higher.

After choosing Hopewell, I am happy with my choice. Their communication between their customer care team and their project team is a bit lacking; other than that everything has been good so far. We had one issue pop up, in the master they put a light switch in an odd spot, after asking about it, the realized the issue in their design and modified it right away.

As for Mahagony, I keep hearing the complaint about only one entrance, and this is not true. There are currently three entrances, and at least one more planned. I have been there at all hours checking up on my house, including rush hour, and never have I had an issue getting in. This issue is less a concern for me, as I plan to continue cycling into work.
I already live in Mahogany and I love it. We just feel maybe it's time to move to a quieter street and upgrade a little, and really Mahogany is the only place we want to be.

Thanks for the info. The sales group at Calbridge so far has been great.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:35 PM   #14
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There are noisy streets in Mahogany?
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:37 PM   #15
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A few suggestions from experience:
  1. Don't judge the builder by its sales presentation. Salespeople don't build the house; they only sell it for commissions. Homes are built by hundreds of trade subcontractors, which are only overseen by builder's superintendents. Builder's quality control and warranty service are the most important factors in your post-construction enjoyment of your home. Check the homebuilder's reputation online, word of mouth, talk to people on the street who built with them.
  2. Nobody ever complains about having too large garage, too much storage, or too many kitchen cabinets. Plan ahead. Allow for more space.
  3. People rarely need large bedroom spaces, contrary to what they might think.
  4. Invest in the quality of curb appeal design (1), kitchen size & quality (2), usable area (3), in that order. These investments pay off best when it's time to sell.
  5. Whatever is not included in your sales agreement AFTER it goes firm will cost you quite a bit more on a change order. There will be no more negotiations. Take your time, get what you want included in the agreement at the price you negotiate and accept. Reject the urgency from a salesperson. There is rarely a real urgency. They will wait for you. And the salespeople will be rooting for you with their sales manager to get what you want in approved.
  6. Check Customer Choice Award record with BILD Calgary. It is awarded only based on customers' feedback. Morrison, Homes by Avi have been winning a lot of them lately, I think.
  7. Mahogany is a great new community. Especially in summer. In winter - they are all bad, really, unless you live in Beltline or Sunnyside/Hillhurst. This is all very subjective, of course.
Good luck!
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:04 PM   #16
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start with a nail and wood. a level helps as well. keep the bubble IN THE MIDDLE. i cannot stress that enough.
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:47 PM   #17
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There are noisy streets in Mahogany?


I live close to the boulevard and so traffic noise can be an issue. Plus with kids growing, it’s a safety concern of mine now. I’d rather be in a tucked away corner or culdesac.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:45 PM   #18
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Single biggest piece of advice I can give is to get a realtor. CP's own Travis helped me when building, and he was able to cut through some of the BS and get us the things we wanted that the builder wasn't moving on. You do have the invoke the realtor early though; like before anybody knows who you are. If you don't have a realtor yet, tell them you do.

Next, make sure you and your spouse know what you each want. Must have, nice to have, etc. We almost got stuck with a tile neither of us liked because we each thought the other liked it.

Focus on the things that are hard to change after. Like others said, I bumped out the garage to 22x26'. It cost me nearly $10K, but worth it. Also seriously consider the basement bathroom position and layout. Mistake I made there. Good thing with my basement, bumped it to 9' ceilings. Was cheap, but makes a world of difference.

If not developing the basement, get them to develop to the bottom of the stairs. That's one of the hard parts about developing later with all the corners. Also makes a huge difference in the main floor feel.

Get conduit in a few key places, and plug ins at TV height. Think of the position of light switches and plugs. I had the framers add some backing for me in a few key places as well for wall mount TVs.

I also got steel toe boots and a hard hat for going on site. Most trades were great, and I tried to get as many as possible setup with Tims cards, coffee, hot lunch, etc. I swear I got my money back 10 fold in workmanship and a few extra little favours. Now the builder is going to tell you "no going on site without prior permission." Mine was fine with me going until I started pointing out a few serious issues. The sales person at one point threatened to have me charged with trespassing, and I dared them. I may have even "fating dare you." They did quickly back down from that stance and tried to make things more amicable.

Final thing, take your time at the design studio. Our 4 hour appointment took 8 hours. Get it right, have extra time available, and have a solid meal before or solid lunch packed. Might be the most decisions of your life that day- both in terms of impact as well as quantity.

Edit- 2nd final thing- do check out road noise at your site; several times of day. You could end up being way to close to Stoney and hating it.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:44 PM   #19
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After having built new (different community, different builder) here are a few things I learnt:

1) as mentioned above the sales people don't know much about what goes into the home and are there to sell only, you'll get 10x more info and an unbiased opinion from asking trades people working on nearby homes for the builder you're considering. I did that and it was eye opening some of the things they said about different builders

2) if you're not sure about a particular layout and cant visualize what it will look like ask the builder if they have that same plan or similar nearby or in another neighbourhood. Odds are they do

3) if it's not clearly in writing, its not gonna happen. Period.

4) when the house is being built don't be afraid to check on it often. Its a ton of money and you'll want to know its being done correctly

5) negotiate hard. Regardless of what the sales people say they do have a bit of room to move on price and even more on extras, upgrades etc that would cost you a lot but not nearly as much for the builder

6) take builder rankings with a grain of salt; I noticed builders send out a customer satisfaction survey after one year. If your brand new home is falling apart after one year or has serious issues - huge red flag. 99% of cases after one year everything is still fine. I wish they sent out a survey at 5 or even 10 years.

7) Even if you think this is your forever home - think resale. I'd imagine a realtor might help with this and an interior designer definitely will

8) As mentioned above a builder is just a general contractor for a large group of different trades. Ask them who they use for the roof, painter, plumber, electrician etc and look up those companies

9) Appliances can and will cause issues early on. Lower end builders will use a company like The Brick (horrible to deal with) while higher end ones use Trail Appliances etc

10) Even though you won't be physically building the house, prepare for 300 appointments for things like flooring, walls, appliances, lighting, kitchen, colours etc and budget your time accordingly during the build process. Some appointments need to be done on a weekday only

11) Most builders don't include landscaping so budget for a fence, sod, trees etc

12) Shaw or Telus usually have a deal with the builder for a really good deal on phone/cable/internet for the first year so be sure to ask

13) Windows are nice but they all require window coverings which can be thousands of dollars so be sure to budget for them

14) IMO I'd use the builder's lawyer and save the legal fees. You base your decision on the reputation of the builder and if you think they may pull a fast one on some legal stuff I'd consider finding a new builder

15) Ask the neighbours their opinion on their builder, the street etc.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:58 PM   #20
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While my situation was a bit different then yours, I wish I would have just did it all and been done with it. What I mean is, when we built our house we didn’t do the garage and the basement. Trying to save money and do it later. 10 years later I finally have my garage while my basement is mostly unfinished. Should have sucked it up and did it all in one shot.
I had my basement walls put up and mudded, and the tub put in the bathroom, and had the builder leave the painting, flooring, trim and rest of the bathroom for me to finish later. It saved me a bit of money but gave me a basement that I was able to complete on my own. Best decision I made on the house.
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