With the complex mechanics and technology that go into a home operating as it should, making every task and bit of upkeep a DIY can feel daunting.
This is why Homes by Avi continues to provide valuable guidance to its buyers well after handing over the keys to their new home.
Avi After Care is a program that includes an additional in-person visit from the builder and extensive set of videos that provide instruction on everything from light maintenance to more substantial projects for the home.
“That starts with Avi, himself,” says Doug Beach, Homes by Avi’s vice-president, Housing – Alberta, on the company’s founder Avi Amir.
“He wants to make sure our customers get exactly what they paid for and have the opportunity to brag about us,” he adds. “Having that extra time after you take possession, that’s an investment that pays dividends. We’re not going anywhere. It’s peace of mind for people.”
Homes by Avi builds a variety of single-family and multi-family homes in both the Calgary and Edmonton areas.
The videos are accessed through the builder’s My Avi Home portal. This is an online source setup to provide buyers with updates on the construction of their home and the community in which they bought.
Video topics include smoke detectors, hose bibbs, interior doors, exterior doors, garage doors, among others.
“You’ll always have access to this,” says Beach.
“On top of that, we do have our 24-hour courtesy phone line, so if you saw something on your portal that you were curious about, you would be able to ask somebody, as well,” he adds.
Direct access to some of these videos are available at the area in question.
“On the furnaces and hot water tanks there’s a little QR code. You can put your phone on it and then a video plays showing how to drain the hot water tank and how to change that furnace filter,” says Beach. “There’s a lot of do-it-yourself.
“If there’s improper home owner maintenance, it would be a lot more of an expensive fix along the way,” he adds.
The videos also shine a light on how to accomplish more complicated projects.
“Say someone didn’t build a deck but wanted to on their own afterwards, what we do on the Avi After Care is we show you proper installation of a deck using a deck nailer and proper piles.”
In addition to the standard first quarter and one year in-person visits by the warranty technician, Homes by Avi goes deeper.
“There is a big list of items that we include that would be reviewed with the tech at your home during an additional aftercare visit,” says Beach. “That would be things like making sure your eavestroughs are down and cleaned out and what the repercussions would be if you didn’t do that.
“We have an extra visit where we come out and run through everything around how to use your home.”
While some other builders also have a portal for sending updates to their buyers, My Avi Home takes this concept to a new level.
“We take pictures and have a photo diary,” says Beach. “You can watch that fireplace come to life.
“Maybe during the selection centre process we learned that you have a baby on the way – so we would start taking pictures of that nursery room or areas that were important to you, just so you’re emotionally attached to your home and just cater to the nuances that are specific to that purchaser.”
Moreover, it covers some of the items buyers should keep in mind when preparing for their move.
“As you get closer to possession, we’ll also include things like, ‘you should be thinking about Atco and Telus now, moving all of your bills over,’ just so you’re never wondering what you should be doing at this time right now,” Beach says.
“We also use our portal for community updates like ‘did you know the school in your neighbourhood just got a development permit approval?’ As much information as we can include in the homeowner portal, it’s all in there.
“People don’t buy a lot of houses in their life but we build a lot of houses, so we know what you’re needing along the way.”
Homes by Avi’s warranty provider is another way it looks after its buyers needs.
“A partnership with a builder as forward-looking and customer-focused as Avi is a perfect fit for us, really,” says Scott Hamilton, vice president, marketing and customer experience at the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. “They are centred on the notion of longevity; for themselves, for their homes, and for the relationships they create with homeowners. Innovation is in their DNA, but they know that as much as homes and home designs change over time, the one thing that doesn’t is the expectation that when you buy a home you’re going to be taken care of. They’re there for the long-run, and that makes a big difference.”
Monte Kendall, the vice-chair of Homes by Avi, has also been chairman of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program for the past three years.
“There is no other option for us — that is the one that everyone knows and trusts,” says Beach.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing to experiment with. That’s the one that I think takes care of both the customer and the builder the best. It’s the best balance.
“I think the program is very in touch, not only with the market, but today’s buyers —what they want and what they need.”