Without a buyer’s influence, there’s the potential for a home to feel run of the mill.
This is sometimes reflected in spec homes, which are homes that builders construct for the purpose of quick or immediate possession.
Aimed at appealing to a wide range of buyers, spec homes are commonly built to the standard floor plan and with neutral interior selections.
The spec home program by Sterling Homes creates more diverse options for people who need to move in sooner.
“Each home is truly unique,” says Anna MacLean, sales manager at Sterling Homes.
“Traditionally, in our industry builders use colour boards and palettes. We don’t do any of that. The homes are designed with the latest trends in that area and for the clientele we are marketing to.”
Sterling Homes ensures their spec homes receive just as much attention as a preconstructed home, paying special attention to the selection of lots, models, model options and go through the process of multiple blueprint reviews and selection of unique interiors by their interior designers.
“We definitely go with some stronger design elements and ensure we upgrade interior selections for each spec home,” says associate sales manager Pamela Burns. “We want to make sure each home has a wow factor.”
Sterling is one of the largest volume builders of spec homes in the Calgary area.
After a potential buyer decides on an end of the city that works best for their needs, they may tour several spec homes both online and in person.
“We want to make sure that if a customer falls in love with an area they do not have an experience where every house looks and feels the same,” MacLean says. “People can truly buy a spec home knowing that is one of a kind and there is no repetition next door.”
Beyond selections, spec homes by Sterling commonly feature floor plan options, as well.
“If it is an area where we typically see a lot more four-bedroom plans, then we will build a four-bedroom plan,” says MacLean. “We really stay on top of what customers are buying in that specific area.”
Depending on the community, Sterling may also include in its spec homes spice kitchens, main floor bedrooms and ensuites, and other modifications to its standard floor plans.
“We want to make sure we are hitting the right price for customers in the community, the right design elements, and the perfect balance of interiors making it a very appealing quick possession home in that neighbourhood,” says Burns.
Depending on the stage of construction at which a spec home is purchased the customer may be able to make some of the interior selections for the home.
In general, Sterling has a broad range of home options. The builder has more than 60 floor plans, each with a range of options, in segments including two-storey front attached garage, two-storey detached, laned models, duplexes and bungalow homes.
Sterling recently revamped its website with a focus on improving the experience for potential customers, including the addition of a live chat feature.
This box appears at the bottom of the page and provides access to live dialogue with a member of the Sterling Homes team. The user may ask a range of questions about the homes Sterling offers and the communities in which it builds.
“I think it’s very important because as much as customers can navigate the website, there are so many questions to be answered about building,” says Burns. “No two homes are alike and therefore each journey of a customer is going to be different. That’s why having a touchpoint with an actual person is invaluable.”
Sterling says it has enjoyed seeing customers start their journey with our online chat and end up finding their perfect home in one of its communities.
“It’s nice that as you’re exploring the website, you’re seeing something and have a question, it can be explained right away, so you don’t have to go back or call to have your questions answered,” says MacLean.
Sterling combines its innovative approach with a deep-rooted history that brings confidence to the people who buy homes from the builder. This marks the company’s 70th year of operation in Alberta.
“It’s the largest investment you’ll ever make in your life, it’s your home, it’s very personal,” says MacLean.
“It’s important to know that you’re working with someone that has that established stability and can answer questions throughout the process, trouble shoot with you if things come up and offer guidance,” she adds.
“A lot of our members have been here for a very long time and they have experience so I think it’s important for the customer to know we are going to be there for them through the building process, we are going to be there for them through the warranty process.”
The veteran builder is one of few that has extended its warranty from the standard five-year term of coverage for the home’s building envelope to seven years.
Spanning more than 30 years, Sterling is one of the longest-standing members of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP).
“We have had a long-standing partnership where we are going to protect the customer’s investment in a new home,” says Burns. “It gives you that peace of mind.”
Homeowners who purchase through Sterling can be assured that they are working with a team that have the passion to provide a beautiful, quality home,” says Lisa Tyhy, account manager with ANHWP.
“Providing the additional two-year building envelope coverage, a total of seven years, to every home shows that they stand behind their quality and give their home owners this additional peace of mind,” she says. “From design and construction through to warranty, they go above and beyond – working with the best in the industry to deliver a home that anyone would be proud to own.”