It’s no secret that building your dream home CAN be stressful. Let’s face it… we all have that friend who experienced a horrific homebuild. Some of the stories we’ve heard are enough to make anyone want to bury their head in the sand and forget the whole idea. That said, while homebuilding can be stressful- it doesn’t HAVE to be.
In anything, a team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. So you need to think long & hard about your design/build team and make sure that they are not your weak link. You’re the client & you don’t build homes for a living. YOU should be the weak link! You cannot compromise when it comes to hiring your builder….
Are they organized or is their truck piled with papers and files on the floor?
Are they taking notes on their burger wrapper? Do they respond to your questions in a timely manner or do they wait until you’re ready to file a missing person’s report before getting back to you?
And. most importantly, are they stressed out and out-of-control? If they are, it’s likely that your build will be too! Your experience will only be as great as the people that you trust to manage it. This is the single most important choice you will make throughout the entire build.
Before buying into this myth, you have to ask yourself WHY you want to build a custom home. Really, WHY? Building a custom home means expressing all of your ideas, dreams and passions and watching them literally grow into the absolute perfect home for you! If that doesn’t excite you, then you may be better suited to buy resale and be on with it. Building a custom home will take anywhere from 4-7 months in Atlantic Canada depending on a few variables. Consider how long you’ve spent planning and thinking about your dream house… for some of people (*cough* me *cough*), planning started when they were just a kid! A custom home is more than just a house… it’s already a home- before it’s even started. Isn’t that worth a few months of your time?
Ahh, yes. The classic over-budget myth. Last month, we wrote a post titled 4 Signs That Your New Build Will Go Over Budget
because we know that it IS possible to stay on budget. In fact, there are builders out there who do not go over budget at all- the trick is finding them. Builders who stay on budget accurately price the house in the first place. They ask you questions about specific items in the home (Think: doorknobs vs. levers) & they “get” your vision. If you’re thinking “Four Seasons” and your builder is thinking “Holiday Inn”, you will go over budget. That’s why it’s a MUST that you and your builder/designer are on the same page from Day 1.
Closing is important. After all, who wants to show up with a moving truck and find their new home unfinished? Delayed moves, extra costs, stress and safety are just some of the possible outcomes of not finishing the new home on time. That said, closing a new home on time does not require the Delorean… The requirements to closing on time include “fancy” things like a scheduling system for tradespeople, an experienced project manager who can solve problems on the spot and an organized, clear communication system. Not sure if you’re builder has these systems in place? Then ask for references! Past clients are often more than eager to share their experience with you (good or bad).
What else have you heard about home building? Let us know- we LIVE to show people that bad practice in our industry doesn’t have to be the norm! Comment below or tweet us @martellhomes.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help out!
Location: Gunningsville Blvd & McAllister Park, Riverview, NB
Ground Breaking: Fall 2013
Welcome to The Fairways at the Moncton Golf & Country Club. This prestigious, master planned community is carefully designed to maintain the gorgeous natural surrounding landscape as well as the value of the homes within the neighborhood.
· K-5: Frank L. Bowser
· Middle: Riverview Middle School
· High School: Riverview High School
· Golf Course lots available
· Walkable community – trails connecting to the Gunningsville Trail
· Amenities: shopping, schools, banking, medical centers & entertainment
· 50’ lots starting at $42,000.00
· 70’ lots starting at $60,500.00
· 80’ golf course lots starting at $72,500.00
To book a Discovery Session and start planning your new home in The Fairways, call Pierre today at 506-871-5237 or by email email@example.com.
One of the most frequent questions that I get asked through our Contact Us page is whether we build in a particular geographic area. While we are working very hard to take over the World (Mouhahahaha), we are currently expanding at a good rate and keeping operations focused in New Brunswick for 2013.
So, where do we build? Check out our list of MHB locations:
1. Greater Moncton
Moncton, World Headquarters for Martell Home Builders, is where we set roots and first established ourselves. We build in all of the Greater Moncton Area including Dieppe and Riverview. Because Moncton is our most established location, we’ve been able to diversify into Lease-2-Buy properties and reselling through our sister company Martell Realty. Moncton Fun Fact: In 2008, Readers’ Digest dubbed Moncton “Canada’s most polite & honest city.”
2012 marked our third building season in Miramichi. We really enjoy working with the local trades & people in the Miramichi area and providing them with the Martell Experience. Miramichi Fun Fact: In 2010, Miramichi was named the world’s first Smart Technologies Showcase Community for use of Smartboards in schools & businesses.
3. Saint John
Saint John is a market that we’ve been working for three seasons as well. We’ve been active building custom homes in the Greater Saint John Area and we love working with our awesome team of established local trades. Saint John Fun Fact: Saint John boasts the largest public transit system in the Province.
Just a skip down the highway, the picturesque community of Sussex is growing. Increasingly popular with the retiree crowd, we think that Sussex is the perfect market for our bungalow semi-detached homes which offer one-story living at a value price point. Sussex Fun Fact: Sussex is the “Mural Capital Of Atlantic Canada”.
2013 will mark our expansion into the Fredericton market and we couldn’t be more excited! Fredericton is a such a great city with an active lifestyle. In fact, we are actually hiring a new Location Manager for this market place. Check out the job positing here. Fredericton Fun Fact: The notorious Benedict Arnold once lived in Fredericton.
I swear my heart is shaped like the East-Coast! From relaxing on the beach, to surfing, repelling, skydiving, snowboarding, and sipping local brews or beans–Atlantic Canada offers something for everyone. This coast is vibrant, intelligent, and full of creativity. We’ve compiled a list (and checked it twice) of a few of the things we love here!
1. East Coast Candles
If I ever find myself near the Boyce Farmers Market in Fredericton, NB, East Coast Candles is a must stop. I guarantee these candles smell better than any other collection EVER! The best part is that the scents last for years!
2. Magnetic Hill Winery
I’ve heard many friends rave about the amazing selection of “estate-grown strawberry, raspberry and local New Brunswick blueberry, cranberry and rhubarb” wines that this Moncton winery distills on-site!
Another classic, East-coast trait is trust in home remedies. Honey is said to act as an anti-allergan, an anti-inflammatory, and a sore-throat soother. This PEI-based company has created lozenges to either replace traditional throat drops or to use as a non-mess, natural hot-beverage sweetener. Kelly uses them all the time and we think you might like them too!
4. Just Us Coffee
Located in the Annapolis Valley, Just Us was created to demonstrate that business can be done by putting “people and the planet before profits.” Just Us now offers a great selection of beans from different regions of the world, along with sugar and chocolate and are available at both Sobey’s and the Superstore. I can’t wait to serve their Holiday Blend this Christmas!
Looking for a new collection of mugs? These are, by far, my all-time favourite pottery mugs. I bought my first one about two years ago and it–along with a few others from the collection–have served me well. They’ve survived a few tumbles and look so rustic.
6. J. Day Designs
Julie Day is a designer and mom from Nova Scotia. She not only creates beautiful cards and jewellery, but offers tips on both of her blogs! Be sure to follow her and pick up some of her handiwork at Market Street Stamps or by sending her an email.
7. Viet Bistro
Nothing quite says Canada like international cuisine This licensed restaurant offers a large variety of traditional Vietnamese food for a very reasonable price (apps $2.50-$10; main dish $10-$20).
For all things eco-friendly, trendy, safe, and innovative for the little ones in your life, check out this brand new business on Mountain Rd!
9. Two Women & Their Soap
My sister LOVES this soap. The two artisans are based at King’s Landing Historical Settlement near Fredericton, NB and take pride in making quality soap, creams, and lip balm through time-tested, quality assuring methods. All of their products are handmade in their kitchen and sold at a boutique at the King’s Head Inn and at various craft shows in New Brunswick.
10. Gifts Galore
If I forgot something super cool from the East Coast, I’m sure this little shop can point you in the right direction. They stock all things local from scarves to art to food, Gifts Galore is a one stop shop for all things Maritime. If you’re lucky, they’ll even be serving free cider!
Neglecting your lawn now can mean paying for it later. Whether you want your lawn to look good because you’re selling your home or you just want to keep your home beautiful, taking the time to protect your lawn in the spring is key. Spring is the beginning of new grass life which means that nurturing your yard starts now. Here are some tips about how you can start to cultivate the type of lawn that you can be proud of and that your neighbors will be jealous of.
Attack Thatch (Aka Rake) – Thatch are those nasty clumps of dead grass that essentially suffocate any new baby grass trying to survive in this world. So, once the snow is gone (which it likely is now… fingers crossed for no more snow!).. dig out your rake and get that dead grass out of there! Make sure to rake deeply especially if you didn’t take the time and do so in the fall.
Lime is Prime – Grass is no fan of acid (which could be indicated if you have compaction or moss) so make sure to create a neutral pH for your little ones by liming your lawn. Make sure to send in a sample of your soil to ensure that it does indeed need liming because liming is only corrective, not preventative.
Whack those Weeds- Getting rid of weeds before the flower and seed is key. It may not be fun, but getting outside in the spring and scouring your lawn for those pesky dandelions will help your lawn to be even more beautiful (and less yellow) when the summer months roll around. While spraying weeds with herbicides may be more effective in the fall, in the spring doing outsides and pulling them will garner you better results.
If your interested in learning about more spring lawn care tips a great place to start is the About.com site (here) or to go into a local home renovations or gardening store and talk to one of their experts.
Last year we brought you a list of the best overall blogs in New Brunswick. Here’s our selection of blog that focus on business issues from a New Brunswick or Canadaian. Where possible we’ve included links to their RSS, Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn sites so you can follow then with your preferred tools:
Who’s your favourite New Brunswick business blogger? We’re always on the hunt for great blogs to follow. Leave a comment letting us know who we should add to our blog roll!
Photo credit: New Brunswick Tourism
Autumn. The season when the nights grow shorter, sweaters come out and our thoughts turn to hockey and hot chocolate. It is also the season where Mother Nature provides our of her most glorious gifts—fall foliage.
Those of us living in New Brunswick are blessed to have a front row to one of the most spectacular colour shows in North America. Over 80% of our province is forested, which means you’re never far from a brilliant display of colourful leaves. Indeed, our plentiful deciduous forests are so full of these changing colours that the visual spectacle draws tourists from around the world to witness them. While our tree types and colours are similar to those found in New England, the crowds are mush smaller (and costs a bit lower) compared to the more popular areas of New England.
Tourism New Brunswick has created a useful online tool to help you and your guests track the most dramatic fall foliage highlights in their province. The website includes an interactive map which allows you to click on an area and get relevant details on the region.
With the prime viewing time right around the corner—autumn colours are at their best over Canada’s Thanksgiving Weekend—we thought we’d share our favourite locations from the site to witness New Brunswick’s fall foliage:
Not only ins the Bay of Fundy one of the Marine Wonders of the World; it is also one of the best places to see vibrant fall colours. If you thought it was beautiful in the summer, just wait until you see it dressed in brilliant colour!
The Acadian Coast is resplendent with bright fall colours to admire and discover. Here, as everywhere in the province, the autumn scenery is simply breathtaking. Be sure to stop at Chaleur Bay—one of the most beautiful bays in the world—in part because of the fall foliage.
The Miramichi River provides a front row view of the spectacular fall foliage. whether you decide to walk along the hiking trails at French Fort Cove Nature Park, or view the colours from a boat on the river, you’ll be sure to catch some spectacular views
These are our favourite spots; but we know we missed several more great locations. Please let us know in the comments what your favourite spot to view New Brunswick’s fall fall foliage is.
Last weekend I went tubing down the Miramichi River with friends on a nice sunny day. This was a fun activity to do and was well worth the drive. This year I noticed a couple of new additions to the river run as well. They added a 1000ft zip line that passes 40ft above the river, which was awesome.
As for the staff, they did an awesome job; they had staff members going up and down the river on a motorized canoe just to check if everything is okay and how people were doing. They also have a bus shuttle that picks you up where you parked your car and drops you off at the start of the run. During the shuttle ride we even had the owner of Stewart’s Tubing (who was very funny and entertaining) give us instructions and answer all of our questions before we got on the river.
The run down the river was about two hours of nice, sunny weather. Then, at the end of the run, there was a deeper section of the river where you could get out of your tube and have a little swim or even jump off the “Tarzan” rope.
I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to cool down on a nice summer day to take a drive to Stewart’s Tubing for a nice relaxing day.
The Fairmont Algonquin Resort (Source)
New Brunswickers know we live in a special place. However, many of us are too busy in our daily lives to truly appreciate it. When we have time to relax and take a vacation, we often head straight for the airport and travel to other places, leaving the province behind.
This summer why not change this?
Instead of dealing with the frustrations of air travel—escalating airfares, increased security measures and frustrating delays—plan a staycation and be a tourist in your own province. After all, New Brunswick is home to some of the most spectacular natural wonders, lively cities and eclectic cultures in the world.
Here are three New Brunswick stay-cations to consider:
Get re-acquainted with New Brunswick’s urban vitality. The province’s vibrant cities offer everything from fabulous farmer’s markets to unique architecture, vibrant nightlife and fascinating people. Take a long weekend and spend a night or two in Fredericton and Saint John. Along the way you can take in some of our heritage at sites like Kings Landing and Londonderry Church.
You don’t have to travel to Florida or the Rivera to visit some amazing beaches. The Acadian coast is home to some great beaches nestled in some of the worlds most breathtaking scenery. Take a trip up the coast, enjoy the warmest saltwater beaches north of Virginia, and explore the hidden treasure along the way. Suggested stops include Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Kouchibouguac National Park and Escuminac Beach near Miramachi. Before turning back, be sure to stop at Chaleur Bay. It’s been recognized internationally as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Sometime you just want to relax and be pampered. The Fairmont Algonquin is the perfect place for this. Located in Canada’s first seaside resort town, the Algonquin has been providing impeccable hospitality to visitors from near and far since the 1880s. Spend a weekend and take in the beautiful grounds, play a round of golf by the sea-side, luxuriate in the hotel spa or simply bask in the Maritime sun. Your body and spirits will thank-you.
Vacations don’t need to be stressful, expensive or time-consuming. Taking a stay-cation in New Brunswick is a great way to escape the daily grind, cut loose and get reconnected with the wonderful province we live in.
These three suggestions are just the beginning. There are many more amazing sights to see and places to visit in New Brunswick. We’d love to hear what your favorite local vacation spot is. Please let us know in the comments.