Brenda (our sales associate/realtor) was very nice - and tried her best to answer our questions, although a lot had to be run through the office (and then we'd return with another question based on the response, and then have to wait again). The 'office' staff for the trades weren't really all that great to deal with, but the actually tradesmen who came out were always great! (so kudos to them!)
Many things! It was very frustrating having to wait for the realtor to run everything by the office - any questions we had would take a few days to hear back (from the office), any changes we made would take generally two weeks to hear back (from the office). Some upgrades changes we requested took forever to get a quote back - some we never received a quote back so we just gave up! Some miscommunication between realtor/office/design center/sub contractor/suppliers as to what was available/possible and what was not - very frustrating and wasted a LOT of time going back and forth. You would be surprised at the number of times I was ready to call my lawyer and try to get out of the purchase. Most of the process was frustrating. Some things that went wrong shortly after moving in - one trade completely forgot to schedule someone to come out (I took a day off work and sat around waiting all day), another trade supplier took two weeks to return a call (actually - multiple calls to the supplier, and emails/calls to Brittany at the warranty department). Better lot selection - also quite frustrated that the builder specifies which house they will put on a specific lot - I understand a minimum size based on floor plan, or not putting several plans too close together - but being told that the larger lots are reserved for two stories (we bought a bungalow) makes no sense to me. You'd think the house with the larger footprint should go on the larger lot.
Despite the bumps on the road, our rep Phil Musick was still overall very pleasant to work with. Unfortunately, we don't feel this homebuilding process was a great experience. On the bright side, we will know what to watch for during our next build. But I'm afraid, we will think twice about Qualico. I'm sure the company was built on quality, but I think it's size now makes it difficult to deliver on managing the quality and culture of it's workplace and expectations of its process and team members.
My situation is rather unique because we had a major change order to the front entryway, which eventually was brought to the attention of one of Qualico's local Vice Presidents. However, it was too late for him to intervene since permits were already in place. I would welcome the opportunity to share my feedback in detail, but here is a written list to review: 1) Miscommunication and/or under communication of process for major change order (in short, we felt we were misinformed with how to choose and upgrade building materials for the exterior. We we told our decisions were to be shared at Design Center, but because our front entryway was customized, we did not understand that we were to make decisions sooner) Ironically, the designs took months to create, and eventually we felt pressured to move forward without having the ability to infuse our personal touch and preferences with building material) 2) The quality of work is concerning. We have many corrections that we believe should not even be warranty work. Here is just one example. After one week of moving in, we realized that water we seeking through the shower glass inserts and it eventually damaged wall trim in the ensuite. Our appointment to remedy this issue is set for 3 months after move in. In terms of optics, this doesn't look good for Sterling / Qualico. This is something that should be fixed immediately, but instead, it forces me to now recaulk the entire shower - something that is totally avoidable had the work and inspection done properly. 3) Overall culture of the people we have had to work with, is less than ideal. Brittany Staatz of the warranty office for example. When a new homeowner makes an emotional and large investment into a home, you would thing there would be greater communication and sensitivity to work that needs to be remedied. But instead of taking a negative situation and smoothing it over with "care", customer service, and responsiveness, I have yet to receive responses to may questions that I have asked of Brittany. 4) I question the logic in some of the workmanship in the home. Example: during install, the quartz counter corner was shaved and cut down in order to make it fit. This was done because the door trim was installed first and was impeding on the counter. But I wonder if cutting an expensive piece of quartz was necessary when the cost of cutting the door trim would have been far less risky, and costly. The logic doesn't make sense here. If the building process applied proper logic, should the wood trim have been removed instead to preserve the expensive quartz counter. I am having trouble understanding. 5) Because of the the need to rush the homeowners into the home, I think finishes were completed before major work. It should be the other way around I think. For example, when we took possession, the concrete steps were already poured. But when contractors came to work on the exterior building materials, the concrete steps were scratched, gouged, and roughed up. Just one example of us paying for a new home, taking possession, only for the sub trades to damage the "newness". Here's another example, why are window trims painted before stucco and stucco paint is applied? Wouldn't logic suggest that the trims be installed last? I understand there are economics at play, but why is it at the customer's expense? 6) The Walk through process is an oddity to me. I wish it was used to find improvements, NOT deficiencies. Deficiencies should be found by the vendor/builder. When I buy a car from a manufacturer, I expect that it is inspected prior to taking possession. Instead, it was the homebuyers who found a crack/hole in the island panel. This doesn't reflect "care" to the customer. But I understand things won't be perfect and customer should be reasonable. I just find it backwards to have the clients find the deficiencies that we found. And by the way, when the crew came back to fix the corrections (marked with green tape), they did not complete all of them. Some were "hidden" in sliding doors. I mentioned this to Brittany at Warranty office. No response yet.