Steps In The Home Buyer's Journey

Step 1 Research Builders

Get as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision about a builder. By the time you finish your research, you should know the following about the builder(s) you are considering:

  • What services they offer
  • What commitments they make to their customers
  • What you can expect from the final product

The results of your research should allow you to feel you can trust that the information the builder has provided to you is accurate and transparent. In turn, this will enable you to feel comfortable moving to the next important step of making the decision to purchase. Here are some tips for researching online and researching in person.

Tips for
Researching Builders Online

Ontario Builder Directory

As Ontario’s home builder regulator, the HCRA provides access to a searchable database with information about Ontario’s approximately 5,000 licensed home builders and vendors.
Some of the information that the directory provides includes whether a builder you are considering is licensed, has had any convictions, the number of homes they have built, and their warranty history. We recommend that you start your research with the Ontario Builder Directory - the official source of information about licensed builders and vendors in Ontario.

Ontario Builder Directory

Builder's Website

You can look up your builder’s online presence by using a search engine (such as Google) and seeking all of the general information available about the builder. Please note that some small or new builders may not have as much information available as they may be relatively new to the market or work in a smaller area.

Customer Testimonials

You can find online reviews for most businesses and the same is true of home builders. You should be able to find customer testimonials on most builder websites, but you can also look for additional observations by using a quick keyword search (e.g. name of builder + review) on any search engine or social media. A quick ask for information from family and friends may also produce some candid feedback on the home buying experience and you may even find that your contacts have also used the services of the same builder you are considering.

Tips for
Researching Builders in Person

How to Tour a Model Home

Going to visit a builder’s model home is one of the best tools for hands-on research. You may wish to visit a few model homes so you can compare, and also gather information about how a builder approaches their design process. You can also ask the builder or their representative questions about customization and what can and cannot be changed in the layout and design of the new home.
One of the most important things to be aware of when you are touring a model home is understanding the difference between what comes with the home as a standard design feature and what is an upgrade (i.e. a feature that comes with an additional cost and impact on your budget).
Use a keen eye when inspecting the craftsmanship and quality of the building of the model home. Look at the woodwork, the moulding, how the floor is laid, how the cabinets have been installed, etc. This is an opportunity to get a look at the builder’s attention to detail.

How to Tour the Community and Talk to Other Homeowners

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. It makes good sense that you will want to put some legwork into your research.
Consider taking a walk around the community and don’t be shy about stopping to talk to homeowners in the community about their experience both with the builder and the community itself. A home builder’s job is not complete just because the last tile has been laid. A good home builder ensures that their customers feel supported long after they’ve settled into their new home. Ask some homeowners if this was the type of experience they had with the builder.
If you are unable to walk around the community, or wish to have a broader view of the community, you may consider taking a drive around the neighbourhood, getting a feel for the community, discovering local amenities, and inquiring with any residents you meet about the builder’s reputation in the community.