One of the crucial first steps to buying a new home is getting informed.

When builders offer a variety of home styles at different sizes and prices and in multiple locations it can be difficult for a potential buyer to get a handle on the home that fits their needs best.

There’s also the challenge of finding a home that will be ready for possession when the buyer is ready to move.

For these questions and others like it, the answers typically require phone calls, emails, or in-person visits to several people.

Not at Rohit Communities. With technological innovation, the seasoned builder is providing people in the market for a new designer home a handy single-stop source of information.

Rohit is an Edmonton-founded builder which has expanded into the Calgary market with their award-winning line of apartments, townhomes, and duplex homes.

Using its in-house tech company, Tech2.Build, Rohit has developed two ways in which potential buyers can get all the information they need to make an informed decision.

The first is its My Rohit Home app, which is available on smart devices.

“It allows our customers to view all of our inventory,” says Lina Nguyen, Marketing Manager at Rohit Communities.

“There’s a mortgage calculator, they can see quick possessions, they can see show homes,” she adds. “Literally, they can find what they are looking for with the click of one button using the search criteria on the home screen.”

The user can filter the results based on area location, size, price, and number of bedrooms, among other parameters.

“It can get them in contact with the sales person, they can favourite the homes they like, sort them into lists and share with their friends, family, and realtor. They can put the home on hold with us, as well, all from that app,” says Nguyen.

“We make it really simple,” she adds. “It’s almost like an Airbnb type of experience where someone can just add in their criteria and we show them the results really easily.”

Rohit is pleased with the app’s performance and uptake to date.

“It can be confusing for homebuyers, these days, when trying to compare and when going to five or six different places to try to find information,” says Nguyen. “The purpose of this app was to put a lot of those pieces into one spot and consolidate it and help our homebuyers.”

The second piece of technology Rohit uses to guide its customers is a website chat feature. This was developed in response to consequences of COVID-19 and launched within two weeks of Alberta’s safety restrictions announced.

Due to both government-regulated lockdowns and a general unease by members of the public leaving home during the pandemic, Rohit knew it may be more difficult to connect with buyers in the conventional form.

“We have already been moving in that tech-based direction,” says Nguyen. “A lot of people like to do their search online first. That live chat option is really pointed towards that — allowing customers to conduct their research, ask preliminary questions, and be able to explore, search and find what works best for them.”

A member of Rohit’s team monitors and answers questions through the website’s chat feature between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days per week.

“We wanted to still be there for our customers in a way that was safe and comfortable for both them and for our staff,” Nguyen says.

There’s value in the chat feature beyond limitations of the pandemic, including convenience and communication.

“I think it removes a lot barriers for some customers,” Nguyen says.

For instance, when English is not the buyer’s first language, while communicating online, challenges with pronunciation are not a factor.

Virtual tours of show homes help buyers learn about homes from a distance, as well.

“That was something that gained a lot of popularity during COVID-19,” says Nguyen. “We already had a library of virtual tours of our most popular home models prior to this but once COVID-19 happened we obviously had to really amp up that inventory.

“We now have a whole page on our website dedicated to that where customers can go through and have their own kind of show home experience.”

Rohit’s innovative spirit extends to its homes, as well.

This includes a stacked townhome concept that the builder started in Edmonton and also brought to multiple communities in Calgary.

This type of development features one-bedroom bungalow-style townhomes on the ground level and back-to-back two-storey townhomes with two to three bedrooms and attached garages.

For instance, using this concept in Edmonton, at the time this was written, the townhomes with two bedrooms and an attached garage start from only the $240,000s.

Rohit is also giving its customers an advantage when it comes to setting the look and feel of their new home.

The builder has curated “magazine-worthy” Designer Interiors including Boho Chic, Contemporary Classic, New Nordic, Glass Tower, Timeless Traditional, and Green Living.

This move by Rohit came in response to a realization that many homes on the market looked very similar.

“They were what we call boring beige,” Nguyen says. “Every home had some shade of brown, grey, white or tan.”

These designer themes not only elevate the esthetic of homes offered through Rohit, they’re attainable, as well.

“Typically, these pieces, individually, would add up, compound and make it really difficult for a customer to be able to get that look in a wholistic way,” Nguyen says.

“We really wanted to be able to standout and give our customers a magazine-worthy designer home and give it to them at a standard price, so no matter which one they choose from us — and they are vastly different — the price won’t change.”

Michelle Rogers, account manager at the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, lauds Rohit’s ability to adjust and innovate.

“Rohit’s willingness to acclimate to the everchanging environment of new home construction; drive to make the process hassle-free and enjoyable for their homeowners and their refusal to make their buyers compromise on what they want; are just a few of the many great qualities that we value about our partnership with them,” says Rogers. “The Rohit team is passionate about looking for new and exciting ways to make the journey home that much more enjoyable.”

An emphasis on putting its buyers in a position of advantage has also led Rohit to be long-standing members of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.

“It’s important for our homeowners to know that there is an additional entity that is backing them up on their home purchase,” says Nguyen.

“Knowing that such a strong organization, like the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, is there to help them out and be there for them, I think that’s a really important for their peace of mind, comfort, stability, and security.”