Returning to a ‘new normal’ in a pandemic has led to unexpected changes and challenges to keep everyone safe. Everything from the buying process, to new home construction, to how new home buyers purchase and engage in the building process has been affected.
As the pandemic continues, new home builders are finding new ways to move forward.
“We’ve had to re-evaluate, adapt and pivot at every stage to ensure we’re doing what’s right for our customers, team members and trades,” explains Peter-John Woolf, VP Broadview Homes. “It’s been hard, very hard at times to maintain our high level of quality, make certain safety is paramount and ensure timelines aren’t stretched too much. It’s a fine balance that we’ve worked hard to achieve.”
One of the biggest changes that new home buyer’s experience is how to see what their home will be like at the beginning of their search. During the lockdowns, the only way for new home buyers to see a home was by searching online and booking an appointment for an in-person visit.
It’s such a change from the way it normally is.
New home buying is fun and exciting—it’s filled with possibilities. Before the pandemic, you could watch the excitement of new home shoppers as they wandered through a showhome, enjoying the experience and fully appreciating all the features and small touches that go into creating a home. Often, you’d hear comments about what they liked and wanted to add to their new home.
Now, customers are doing most of their research and touring new home models online. They’re seeing pictures of what they can create, but often missing out on the joy of touching everything without hesitation, and going around in-person to as many showhomes as possible.
Showhomes are open again with new guidelines to keep everyone safe. And, builders are encouraging customers to book an appointment to avoid waiting as only one family is allowed in a home at a time.*
If you’re a buyer at the initial stages, the best advice from experts is to exercise patience. Everything is taking longer. It is not business as normal.
Calgary new home builders have adapted quickly and nimbly to a new way of operating. Masks on construction crews and visitors, hazard assessments, and hand sanitizer are all required.
For safety, our construction team does not book more than one trade in our homes at a time so we can keep workers apart at a safe distance. A hand sanitizer station is setup in every home when the stage of construction allows.
Builders are also experiencing a lot of manufacturing delays. This means everything from appliances to siding and shingles take longer to arrive at the job site. These delays are mostly due to new production processes at our supplier’s workplaces to keep their staff safe.
The good news for customers is that the timeframes are getting shorter from what they were at the beginning of the pandemic.
"Necessity is the mother of invention," and the pandemic has led to some great leaps in creative thinking in new home design. Right now, we’re wanting more from our homes, and so plans and designs are adapting to meet our new lifestyle changes.
In our previous article, we explored some of the new trends that we see emerging in Calgary. An example that isn’t very surprising or new is that customers have always wanted a home office. Now, they’re asking for it to be on the main floor with soundproofing or they want two office spaces. When both parents are working from home, it’s easy to understand why this is important and then it’s an architect’s job to find hidden places while still maximizing our living spaces.
However, customers are still figuring out what they want. With people spending so much time in their homes; they want it to reflect their tastes, be functional, incorporate all their lifestyle choices, and comfortable.
Meanwhile, builders are working to stay ahead of the curve with new innovative designs.
*These reflect the current guidelines and may change.