Tag Archives: mhb


4 Signs That Your New Build Will Go Over Budget

Nobody wants their new home build to go over budget.

You hire a builder, they quote you a price, they build the house, final bill comes in… Notwithstanding new items that you chose to add or upgrade along the way, the final cost should be the same as the contract price.

Should be. A home-builder, after all, does this for a living.  You, the client, have likely never priced a home in your life and you’re trusting your builder to do it for you- accurately and without surprises.

But we’ve all heard the stories.  You have that friend, cousin, workmate that built a house and ended up paying way more than they were quoted.  This happens all of the time and it shouldn’t… going over budget is avoidable and should be a focus of any solid home builder worth working with.

If you’re about to get into a contract with a builder, make sure that you look for the following signs to ensure that your home will cost what you’re builder says that it will.

4 Signs That Your New Build Will Go Over Budget

Your Builder Is The Cheapest

You’ve done your homework & met with multiple builders.  You’ve probably narrowed it down to 3 or 4 builders that you like/trust and had them price the home.  So where did the pricing come in?

I’m going to let you in on an industry secret… if the builders priced the exact same quality of materials and finishes, their prices should be extremely close.  Extremely.  After all, they’re sourcing material and labor from the same region.

If you’re finding that one builder is significantly cheaper than the others, chances are very good that they are planning on using cheaper materials.  There’s nothing wrong with that, you think, until you find out that your kitchen allowance will not cover that “painted, cabinets-to-the-ceiling” dream you’ve been coveting on Houzz.

Your Builder Doesn’t “Get” Your Vision

You’re planning 10 foot ceilings, a double-sided fireplace and custom woodwork throughout.  Is your builder thinking 8 foot ceilings, non-existent fireplace and mini-baseboards? Communication is key and it is impossible for the builder to price something that you’ve never discussed.

Prior to pricing your plan, your builder should be asking you extremely detailed questions about the finish that you want in the home.  If they don’t include these items when pricing upfront, these items will become upgrades and will drive you over budget in no-time at all.

Your Builder Only Builds “A Few Homes Per Year”

Maybe they told you that you will get a more custom experience because you’re 1 of 3 projects… Perhaps, the owner of the company himself will be able to be on the job-site every day… Heck, he may even do the finish work himself! Great…. or, is it?

First, there’s buying power… Obviously, Wal*Mart buys better than Joe’s Convenience.  Shocker.  Similarly, home-builders are rewarded by vendors based on volume.  The builder who builds 3 homes a year is simply not getting the same pricing as the builder who builds 50.

Next comes the issue of limited experience.  20 years of home-building experience, building 3 homes/year = 60 homes built.  10 years experience at 50 homes/year= 500 homes built.  The builder that is more active is much more likely to be current on trends and customer wants (aka. more likely to know that you want an open-concept floor plan instead of the halls & walls of yesteryear).

Your Builder Did Not Give You A Detailed List Of What They Priced

Whether your builder is a relative stranger or your second cousin, you need to get a detailed list of what’s included in a quoted price.  This is not negotiable.  Not requiring this level of detail of your builder is giving up too much control and allows the builder to decide what is (or isn’t) included on whim.

Having a detailed list of inclusions creates accountability.  Always ensure that the inclusions are added to your contract, making them part of a legally binding document.

 

If your home builder is demonstrating these signs, talk to him about budget & share your concerns.  Cross-reference your wishlist with the pricing specs.  Ask for past references and find out what their experience was like.  Only when your builder demonstrates to you that these items are taken care of, should you move forward with a contract.

If you have any questions about staying on budget throughout your build, shoot us an email to natalie@themartellexperience.com.  We’d be happy to help out!

Meet the Team: Jim

Jim

Many of you would’ve met this musical, artistic, well-traveled Beatles fan at our last customer appreciation party at the Chocolate River Station in Riverview. Even though he wasn’t permitted on the bouncy castle, our warranty man rocked your socks off with his music. Although he plays semi-professionally in an Elvis tribute band, it wasn’t the King that sparked Jim’s interest in music. At 16, he decided he wanted to be John Lennon. Lucky for us (and all you new home owners) that didn’t happen!

Jim Ledgerwood is the man who shows up to inspect your house after the 10 month warranty period ends to ensure that your house is still up to our standards. He has a list of areas to inspect, but also reviews everything you are concerned about.

Since finishing up at Queen’s University, Jim has owned 4 homes and has flipped a few houses. He’s seen a wide array of homes–some built correctly, some not. He never planned on being a warranty man, but after seeing so many construction problems, Jim began managing a small construction company contract in Moncton and eventually ended up on our team!  His eye for detail–from guitars to oil painting to car restoration and home building–is invaluable and makes us feel at ease, knowing our projects will stand the test of time.

Jim L.

Fun Facts about Jim Ledgerwood:

1- Jim restores European cars as a hobby. One of his favourite projects was an Original Mini. He’s also restored a 68′ Jaguar and currently drives the Austin Power’s car. He’s very tempted to paint the British Flag on it.

shagmobile

2-He has travelled to England 6 times. During his first trip, he was trying to nail down a music publisher and met the Beatles first manager, Allan Williams! He hung around Allan for quite awhile. Later on, he returned to England and stayed with the manager for a week to play at a festival. Jim ended up moving to the country for a bit to publish some tracks!

 

allan-williams_01

3- Jim Ledgerwood has recorded 4 albums, but nothing lately. However, he is still writing music.

4- He has been married to the same wife for 30 years! They are the parents of two children and 1 dog (so basically 3 kids!).

5- His favourite restaurant in Dieppe is St. James Gate and  he usually orders fish and chips, salad and a side order of escargot.

Meet the Team: Jason Haines

“Ecstatic” does not even scratch the surface of how thrilled we are to have expanded into the Fredericton home builders market!  With the cities unique charm and sense of vitality, we’re looking forward to adding to the community!  However, none of those “Ahhh” moments we experience when a family begins life in a new space are possible without efficient management and we’ve got one heck of a guy looking after this!

Welcome Jason Haines! With a BBA from UNB-Fredericton topped off with a Business Marketing Diploma from NBCC-Moncton and Green Belt Six Sigma Process Improvement from the Juran Institute, this man is well equipped to serve the MHB family as our Fredericton Location Manager!

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 11.03.12 AM

Jason Haines and his wife Erin are the proud parents of a beautiful daughter Leah and with the arrival of a second daughter,towards the end of June, they’ll be an adorable family of four!

Jason is an avid golfer and has golfed in a few exotic locations, including Korea! He would love to travel Europe to “visit historic sites, distilleries, festivals and OF COURSE GOLF!”

If the opportunity presented itself for Jason to start a new business anywhere on Earth, doing anything at all, he would start a links style golf course in a warm place! He’s leaning towards Jamaica! 

Obviously this guy loves his golf, but he’s also a big Bruin’s fan! He would love to see Boston relocated next to Fredericton so that he could see live games…and enjoy both of the cities’ historical beauty. 

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Here are a few extra facts about Jason!

Q. What are your 3 favourite restaurants in Fredericton?
A. BrewBakers, Snooty Fox, & Caribbean Flavas

Q. What is your favorite color combination? 
A. Recently I really like grey and white

Q. What are the top 3 websites for you?
Kijiji: always finding great deals, cbc.ca, theweathernetwork

Let’s all join together to welcome Jason to the team!!

Meet the Team: Andrew Dunn

Meet Andrew Dunn–the kind of person we read books about how to be more like! This calm, even-tempered guy has been the location manager at Martell since 2010–which means he takes care of the customer from start to finish in Moncton, Mirimichi, and St. John. That may seem like a lot of time in the car, but it’s hardly traveling for this world adventurer. Andrew studied International Business in Cuba and has had plenty of adventures through the US and Europe.  To top that off, he once hitch-hiked from Sussex to Calgary just for something to do! He ended up employed, but eventually came back to the coast!

 

Andrew is the father of 13 year-old Jeremi–an aspiring archeologist and 6 year-old Zoey who either wants to be a waitress or chef. Like any good Maritimer, Andrew loves lobster, so I suspect Zoey will be learning how to cook garlicky, buttery lobster first thing!

When asked if he had some sort of nickname, Andrew drew a blank. However, when Natalie mentioned her favorite Andrew moment, I immediately pictured Phil Dunphy from NBC’s Modern Family! The team was at a trade show in Vegas trying to get everyone together, but Andrew was no where to be found. Eventually he was spotted getting a foot massage at a nearby spa! We asked if it was okay to post; he laughed and said “it felt really good!”

Here are a few extra-fun facts about Andrew:

Q. What’s your favourite type of wood?
A. Teak

Q. What’s colour do you prefer in the kitchen?
A. Yellow 

Q. If you could open a business anywhere, what and where would it be?
A. I would rent scooters in Costa Rica

Q. Do you prefer to get groceries at Super Markets or local markets?
A. Local

Q. Are you super brand loyal to any weekly purchase?
A. King Kole tea. I usually have it for breakfast with toast and boiled eggs.

Q. Favorite restaurant in Moncton, Mirimichi, & St. John?
A. Osaka Hibachi, The Rodd, & the St. John Ale House.

Q. Are you eyeing any new pieces of technology?
A. I’d like an iPad. They look cool.

Q. Are there any websites you can’t live without?
A. Kijiji. I’m always looking for something. I got a free piano once!

Q. Favorite band?
A. Pearl Jam

 

Roundup: 10 Awesome Blog Posts Worth Reading (Again)

Top 10

What does a list of must-have tools and Mother’s Day gift ideas have in common? No, they aren’t things you should consider buying your mom next month; they are both part of this roundup of Martell Home Builders blog post you’ve got to check out!

In no particular order:

1. 7 Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mom

It’s up to you if you want to get sucked into the commercialism of Mother’s Day. You can get Mom the traditional card and flowers, take her out for lunch, buy her something she really wants, or if funds are tight, give her a homemade gift. Honestly, your Mom should love anything you give her. I think she’d rather a thoughtful homemade gift knowing you’ll still have money to pay the rent or mortgage! Whatever you decide on, here are seven last minute gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Some of these gifts are more costly than others but all are very affordable, and some are homemade (making them free depending on the supplies you already have at home).

2. 14 Must-Have Tools for New Homeowners

Congratulations on your new home! With homeownership comes responsibility; no longer can you depend on the landlord to fix that leaky faucet or repair a broken door. It’s all up to you now. Here is a list of must-have tools you need for your home.

3. Poll: What Are You Most Thankful For?

Sure, it’s not Thanksgiving for like another six months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take this poll to let us know which household gadget you’re most thankful for!

4. Top 10 Tips on Spring Cleaning the Home

It might be hard to imagine blossoming flowers, baby animals, and sunshine when we’re buried under a crap-load of snow, but fret not, spring is just around the corner. It really is. I swear.  And like the critters who awaken from their winter slumber feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you may want to slither, crawl, or walk your way to the cupboard full of cleaning supplies to give your cave … erm … home the tidy it desperately needs to help you feel revitalised. To help get you started, here are some of the best tips on spring cleaning the home.

5. Ideas for Chore Charts & Awesome Free Chore Chart Downloads

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how difficult it can be to get your kids to help out around the house. Creating family chore charts can be effective for kids of all ages. For the little ones, a kids chore chart will – in their eyes – give them a fun daily activity and teach them responsibility. Creating a chore chart for teenagers can help remind them what needs to be done, so you aren’t forever nagging them. Like the old saying goes, “raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.”

6. Top 33 Ways to Improve the Look of Your Home for Under $100

Whether it’s for your own personal happiness, because you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, or because you just want to get your nagging mother-in-law off your back, here are the top 33 cheap home improvement projects that will enhance the look of your home for under $100.

7. Top 26 Home Organization Tips to Get Rid of Clutter

You’ve got junk drawers coming out the wazoo, your closets need rebar to keep ‘em closed, your family room looks like a bomb has exploded, and you need to let your loved ones know where you’ll be whenever you need to go into your kids’ bedroom so they can call in a search party if you aren’t out in 30 minutes.

Does this sound familiar? If so, check out these tips to organize your home so you can spend more time doing what you want to do, and not hours trying to find those bloody rechargeable batteries that you just know were in the kitchen drawer.

8. Home Staging Tips & Techniques

First impressions are everything, especially when you’re trying to sell your home. There are several home staging tips and techniques you can learn in order to make your home appeal to potential buyers. The ultimate goal to home staging is to create an environment that interests as many home buyers as possible, resulting in a quick sale. Here are some of the top home staging tips and techniques you should follow.

9. DIY Videos on How to Fix a Toilet

If you are having toilet troubles – and I mean in the literal sense – there are some easy and affordable steps you can take to try to fix it yourself, before calling in a plumber.

10. Easter Deserts: Recipes & Fun Ideas

Here is a collection of websites which offer fun Easter desserts you can make at home with or without the help of the kids. Even if you don’t follow these recipes, they can assist you in getting the creative juices flowing by providing you with Easter dessert ideas.

What’s you all-time favourite MHB blog post? Leave a comment to let us know!

Martell Home Builders Gets National Recognition

The NOW Revolution

Co-author of The NOW Revolution talks about us in an interview with SocialMediaExaminer.com.

Michael Stelzner, the Executive Editor and founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, recently interviewed Jay Baer, the founder of Convince & Convert and co-author of the new book The NOW Revolution. Here’s a summary of what the book is about (taken from the book’s website):

“Every customer is a potential reporter, and every employee is a potential spokesperson. Business has changed more in the past three years than in the prior 30. But it’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity. The NOW Revolution shows you how. This book isn’t about how to “do” social media. Instead, it outlines how you can retool your organization to capitalize on real-time business. Learn the seven shifts that make your company faster, smarter, and more social, each explained with case studies, useful tips, and actionable implementation advice.”

So, why are we telling you about this? Because the interview is full of awesomeness about us (not that we want to toot our own horn)! Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Mike: This is pretty mind-blowing. Talk to me about a story in particular, or a business that you discovered in the process of writing the book that might be doing this right. Is there any particular business that stood out in the process of crafting this book?

Jay: Almost every example in the book is of a small- or medium-sized business. I would say 90% to 95% of the examples in the book are purposely from small- and medium-sized businesses because we didn’t want to write a book for Ford or IBM.

One that I like best is Martell Home Builders. They’re in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The owner is Pierre Martell, a young guy. They’ve been in the homebuilding business for four years, and while the Canadian homebuilding market hasn’t had the catastrophic declines that we’ve had in the U.S., it certainly hasn’t been an easy road.

When Martell first started out, they had to rely quite heavily on realtors to bring in prospects and help them drum up interest for their houses. That first year, 92% of all of their sales were through realtors, so they were paying commissions, and commissions in Canada are higher even than they are in the U.S.

Pierre decided that they ought to tell their own story, instead of having realtors tell their story. “He was prodded along by his brother, Dan Martell, who is actually the CTO of Flowtown, a company I think you’re familiar with, and some of your readers and listeners may be as well. Dan said, “You’ve got to get on this social media train,” and convinced him to do it.

Mike: Sure, the rationale was, “If we can sell a house without a commission, we just take most of that money and return it to the company,” right?

Jay: Precisely. They started telling stories about the organization in a really fantastic blog, and the blog isn’t really about them at all. It’s about winterizing tips and what you can do in New Brunswick, so it’s really fun marketing—it’s “unmarketing,” as Scott Stratten would call it. Pierre has a very successful Twitter account where he just talks about relevant issues and helps people and does it in a very authentic and natural way.

But then they do some crazy stuff. This is the one that really blew us away. Their foremen, who are actually out there helping customers and building houses, all have GPS tracking devices in their work trucks, so if you’re a customer of Martell’s and you ask, “Where is the guy? He’s supposed to come over here and fix my ceiling,” or whatever, you can dial up the web page and see where his truck is at any time.

They have completely adopted this 2.0, storytelling, authentic, executional approach, and two years later, they went from 92% of their deals through realtors to 12% of their deals through realtors and a 300% increase in sales.

Mike: Just so I understand, they decided to go ahead and blog and create outstanding content that was going to be really valuable to their community—their prospective buyers, if you will—and probably an even larger audience. A lot of people found great value in that, and some of them said, “I want to learn more about these guys,” and that’s how it got started as far as getting the word out?

Jay: Yes, everybody just comes directly to the company.

Mike: And then they employed some really cool full transparency: “If you want to know where we are, this is where we are.”

Jay: Yes, because you’re talking about a huge purchase, and the psychology of homebuying is you’re always nervous. So what they’ve done is humanize the company. They’ve reduced the perception of risk by putting together all these tracking mechanisms and date guarantees, and you can find your foreman, so they’ve created humanization.

As a result, what they have now are direct sales—people come in and say, “I don’t need to hear any more. I want to buy a house from you because I believe in your company.”

One of the success metrics they use is the time to close a sale. When you’re trying to sell a house, it can be hours and hours, and Pierre says that it used to take them three or four hours, sometimes as many as eight hours. He said their new record from somebody walking in the office to signing a house agreement is 35 minutes.

Mike: Their blog has probably enabled them to build a lot of trust with people before they even get to the point of purchase.

Jay: They’re already sold when they walk in the door.

To read the entire interview, click here.

Which is your favourite?

How cool is that? Jay mentions our post Top 24 Things to Do to Get Your Home Ready for Winter in the interview, which got us wondering: which MHB blog post is your favourite? Leave a comment to let us know! Also, we would love to hear any requests you have for future blog posts!

Follow us on Twitter (if you’re not already!)

Pierre Martell: @martellhomes

Mike Stelzner: @smexaminer

Jay Baer: @jaybaer

Party at Your Place! We’re Paying!

Housewarming Party

We’re footing the bill for our clients who have just moved into their new Martell home and intend on having a housewarming party.

MHB 2010 Client Appreciation Day

Yep, that’s right. We like our clients so much we don’t just love ‘em and leave ‘em. Martell Home Builders client benefits extend way beyond having the awesomest home ever (for example, check out the photos from our client appreciation day)! We know how much our clients are loving their new home and how incredibly likely it is that they’ll be inviting all their friends and family over so they can show off the best house in the neighbourhood, so we thought we’d help pay for the housewarming party!

All they need to do is invite the Martell Home Builders team (because we like to par-tay!), keep the receipts, and whatever is spent on food and entertainment up to $100, we’ll pay them back! The only stipulation to this is alcohol; sorry guys, but thanks to legal mumbo-jumbo we can’t open our wallets to that.

MHB Client Appreciation Day

What does your builder do for you?

What are some of the cool things you’ve heard of home builders doing for their clients? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below!

Top 5 MHB Blog Posts Totally Worth Revisiting

MHB Blog

We thought it’d be fun to highlight some of our previous posts that are worth revisiting or checking out in case you missed them when they were first published.

1. 5 Ways to Kill Yourself on a Snowmobile

Looking for a great way to kill yourself on a snowmobile? You’ve come to the right place! Forget the boring “ride on extremely steep hills” (we ain’t got ‘em in New Brunswick anyway!), or “go too fast” as a means to end your life, who wants their demise to be so predictable? If you really want to go for a Darwin Award, check out this list of the 5 best ways to kill yourself on a snowmobile.

2. 4 Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

Everyone knows that in order to save money on their electricity bill they should turn off the lights when they aren’t in the room, close the windows if the heating is on, buy Energy Star appliances, etc., etc. Here are some ways to cut down on your electricity bill that you might not have considered.

3. Impressive Ways to Enhance Your Bedroom

Whether you’re looking for a place to sneak off to so you can take a breather from your hectic day or noisy kids,  or you want a way cool love nest to make an impression on the ladies, here are some impressive ways to enhance your bedroom.

4. Video: Dual Purpose Furniture for Small Places

Looking for spacing saving ideas? Check out this YouTube video which illustrates some amazing space saving desks, very awesomely designed space saver beds, tables, and more. If you want to make the most out of your tight living quarters, this space saving furniture by Resource Furniture is definitely for you!

5. Top 33 Ways to Improve the Look of Your Home for Under $100

Whether it’s for your own personal happiness, because you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, or because you just want to get your nagging mother-in-law off your back, here are the top 33 cheap home improvement projects that will enhance the look of your home for under $100.

Honourable Mentions

Choosing only 5 blog posts for this list was extremely difficult since all of our posts are super awesome. So, here are a couple more that deserve an honourable mention:

Finding-a-Cure-for-Breast-Cancer

Crazy about Finding a Cure for Breast Cancer – We’re still fundraising for this. Our goal is to raise $5000, we’re at $1645. Please help us by making a donation.

20 Cool Wall Decorations to Impress Your Friends

Interesting Facts about New Brunswick

What’s your favourite MHB blog post? Is there something you’d like to see that we haven’t blogged about? We’d love to hear from you!

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