By Wendy King
Building a new home is the dream of a lifetime for many couples, and that dream often comes with a very particular wish list. Some are a little more complicated than others – especially if you want someone special to be your neighbour.
David Simpson, a lawyer and partner at Fillmore Riley Law Firm, says he and his wife Shereese Qually had their hearts set on building a new home in Charleswood, where they’d be close to family members as well as work. They approached A&S Homes, where sales and marketing manager Matthew Yan took on the challenge.
“I met with David and he explained to me that not only did he want to be in this area, but his sister also wanted to be in this area – and ideally they wanted to be next door to one another!”
A&S did some research, found a suitable development and was able to acquire two adjacent lots in the desired price range.
“We were really impressed that they not only took on building the house for us but also took on the initiative to actually find and secure lots for us,” Simpson says.
The home-building process, with all its complexities and fine details, was about to start rolling, and this, says Yan, is where A&S Homes really starts to shine.
“Our process is very organized and very detailed with specific steps to it,” Yan says.
It begins when potential buyers meet sales specialists in the show homes to review the different models available.
As one of Winnipeg’s largest builders, the family-run company has show homes in every major development including: Amber Trails, Bridgwater Forest, Bridgwater Lakes, Bridgwater Trails and Bridgwater Centre, South Pointe, River Park South, Bridgewood Estates, Waterford Green, Devonshire Village, Crocus Meadows and Royalwood.
“Virtually all of our models are under construction, so we can actually walk our clients through the show homes when they’re making their decision about what house to purchase,” Yan says.
Not only do they walk clients through the show homes; they walk them through the entire building process “all the way home.”
Building a dream home can be stressful, but A&S Homes has mitigated that with a thoughtfully planned, multi-step process that includes set checkpoints along the way.
An entire production team is on hand – from purchasing managers and on-site managers to in-house architects – to steer the client through the build. With fixed pricing on all homes and set options, there are no surprises later on. But plans are flexible for clients who want to customize their space.
“Our clients like the step-by-step process, where they are confident they are purchasing and building the correct house model to meet their family needs and their lifestyle,” Yan says.
“They are thrilled with the fact that we can lend a degree of customization to their choices to reflect their individual tastes and they like the fact that our in-house designers and architects can make those modifications for them.”
Simpson and Qually were especially pleased with that flexibility.
“We found a layout that we liked but the exterior wasn’t exactly right, but they (gave) us exactly what we wanted,” Simpson says.
The couple also wanted four bedrooms on the second floor, and they were able to add square footage and move some of the walls and doors, as well as create a main-floor playroom.
“We were able to modify the design and build a room on the main floor with French doors that open to the kitchen so that while we’re in the kitchen we can watch the kids,” he says.
“One of the really nice things was the ongoing involvement that we had,” he adds.
“We were shown the house at the various stages and our (site manager), Jeff Unrau, was very responsive to us. He made us feel he wanted to do everything possible to make sure that we were satisfied with the product we had purchased, and that was really reassuring for us.”
Once the floor plan is in place, clients visit the A&S Design Centre, where all the interior features are on full display.
“There is kitchen cabinetry, countertops in granite, flooring, exterior colours, stone, whatever the case may be, we have a professional interior designer that spends house in a private meeting with each and every one of our clients that hand selects every single one of their designer options within their house,” Yan says.
“They especially appreciate that the in-house design boutiques actually allow them to see their colours as opposed to just viewing them on-line.”
A&S Homes provides clients with a welcome package which explains the trades and specialists involved in building every aspect of their home, from windows, lighting, flooring, all the suppliers, and all the warranty information, so that they feel comfortable and know who to contact in case they want to make changes or revisions in the build.
That attention to detail is reflected in the finished homes. A&S Homes offers Green Bow™ Approved (www.greenbowapproved.ca) materials and craftsmanship, set to the company’s own high standards, and the care doesn’t end when A&S hands over the keys.
“Clients know they are in good hands because after they move into their house, A&S has a readily available service team whose primary role is to ensure the homeowner is happy and well looked after,” Yan says.
There are many external factors that can cause delays, but with its high level of organization and set processes, A&S was able to meet Simpson and Qually’s possession date, which was imperative since the couple had already sold their previous home.
“They went above and beyond to get it done by Jan. 5, which I know can be extremely difficult around the holidays,” Simpson says. “We were really pleased that they were able to meet that deadline.”
At the end of the day, Yan says the primary focus for A&S is on the quality of its homes, the value of its homes and the overall experience for clients.
“People want a quality home and want to know that there is value in the product, that it is a long-lasting product and the pricing is accurate and correct,” he says.
“When they’ve moved into their home and they’re having a dinner party and telling their friends about building their home, a good experience is everything.”