Remember my post a few months ago about homeowner orientations? If you are in the process of buying a new home it is definitely worth the read.
I happen to have friends that are buying a new home. A really exciting time for them and they asked me if I wouldn’t mind coming along for the orientation. I have been in hundreds of new homes over the last few years doing quality control for our own painting contracts so I have a pretty good idea what to look for.
Plus, it gives me a chance to check out the competition’s work. Of course I said yes.
New home construction is all about building a house for the lowest possible price and then selling it for the highest possible price.
Within that simple formula a builder has to balance between building a house that meets all building codes, has all the right features for the market they are selling to and is of the quality that meets builder’s standards and the buyer’s expectations. It doesn’t matter whether it is a $300,000 house or a $3 million house, a builder needs to build a house for less money than he sells it for or he won’t be building houses for very long. They add features that they know will appeal to buyers such as high end kitchens and appliances, hardwood floors and beautiful ensuite bathrooms. They look for areas to cut costs that won’t impact the appeal of the house to a potential buyer.
It’s not like I haven’t seen it a hundred times, so why it still shocks me I don’t know, but I can’t get over the extent that some builders will compromise on the quality of painting in order to save money. I think it is because they know that a new homeowner is often excited and distracted and that most aren’t looking that closely at the paint job because they are too busy looking at their fancy new kitchen and walk in closets. They use the cheapest paint and hire the cheapest painters and hope the homeowner doesn’t know any better. That or they assume the homeowner will be repainting very soon after buying
Here are a few glowing examples of what I saw in the walk through I did with my friends. These are things every homeowner, no matter how excited, should be looking for.
Look at More Than Just the Walls
I bet I tagged at least 10 places where there was paint on the carpet.Check all the floors inside and the deck and concrete outside for paint drips and spills. Plugs and switches are another area to pay attention to. Paint on plugs? Not okay. The cut out for the plug bigger than the plate? Not okay. Big chunks missing out of the wood trim? Not okay. Worse is that they painted over it without fixing it.
Look Behind the Doors
Take the time to open and close each door and closet and look behind the doors and inside the closet. This might be what you find.
High Traffic Areas
Stairs are a high traffic area and can be subject to a fair amount of trade damage during construction. It is an easy area to overlook during your walk through but once you move in and go up and down your stairs a few times a day, you will start seeing things you missed.
Another area to pay attention to – the bathroom. Put the seat down and sit on the toilet and look at the walls around you and because you will be looking at those walls everytime you have to go.
We paint new homes for Morningstar Homes and they build on average over 150 homes per year in the lower mainland, making them one of the bigger builders in BC. They are also one of the most reputable builders in the province. Why? Because Morningstar has found a good balance in building homes with the quality and finishings that appeal to buyers. At Avondale, Morningstar’s newest development in Coquitlam, they sold 30 homes in the first month.
Morningstar has high standards in what they expect from their trades and it shows in their final product. A typical walk through for us has 3 to 5 paint tags throughout the entire house. Sure, I am singing my own praises here but at Warline we work very hard to do our job properly and we don’t cut corners. It is refreshing to work with a builder that does the same.
I don’t understand why more builders don’t recognize the value in a quality paint job when it comes to building and selling a new home. The difference between a cheap paint job vs. a quality one is not that significant relative to the overall cost of building a home, but the impact can be invaluable. A new homeowner can’t see what is behind the wall so you would think the logical solution would be to make sure what they can see is quality workmanship.