By Lanny McInnes

So you visited the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association’s Fall Parade of Homes show homes last month and you picked out your new dream home and the builder who will make it a reality. Where does the process of building your home start? What are some of the key decisions involved?

One key piece of advice from many MHBA builders is simple — don’t rush. Take the time you need to consider all aspects of your purchase and ask them a lot of questions. You should have a budget and a plan in mind before selecting your builder. With a builder selected, the first step is to find out and fully understand what is included with your purchase and what is not, right down to the smallest detail. The more information you have, the easier it is to eliminate uncertainties and feel confident when you do make a decision.

The number of decisions that need to be made when building a new home can be daunting. But taking the time to ask for information and get the details can reassure you in your decision-making. Be sure to ask for a list of specifications so you can find out what construction materials, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and finishing materials the builder is using. Ask who the manufacturers and suppliers are. Ideally, they should also be familiar brand names that offer a solid product warranty.

Find out from your builder exactly what standard features are included in the basic price of the home, and how many standard choices the builder offers. At the same time, find out what upgrades and extras are available and at what additional cost. That way, you can choose the upgrades and extras that matter most to you and fit within your budget

Another key decision is choosing the community you will build in. Choosing which community is right for your family is just as important as choosing what type of home best meets your family’s needs. Ask the builder or salesperson to describe the community and the homeowners it is designed for. Inquire about the mixture of homes in terms of size, styles and price range, and ask for a profile of people who have bought to date — who lives there? Ask to see the community’s development plan, to see what other features and infrastructure are planned for the development.

Ask what amenities such as parks, playgrounds or commercial developments already are in the community and what other amenities are planned for the development. Ask them to show you the complete community plan for the subdivision. The community plan will show you the different phases, any additional infrastructure planned for the development and the eventual shape and feel of the community once it is completed. Be sure to review this with your builder of choice, as it is important to learn what the neighbourhood will look like when the entire community has been completed. Many builders will even display the community plans in their show homes in newer developments. One great aspect of the MHBA Parade of Homes is the opportunity to visit and explore the new developments in and around Winnipeg. Even after the parade, we recommend you take the opportunity to walk around to get a feeling for the community.

These steps will go a long way in helping you be more comfortable and confident with the decisions you will make when selecting your new home and your new neighbourhood. And if you haven’t yet made your choice, parade show homes remain open between parades. Contact your favourite builder to find their show-home hours.