15 February 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Builders and Customer Service…Is There Such A Thing?

Being an entirely referral based real estate agent I have a very hands on relationship with my clients from the beginning of the consultation process right through after my clients have moved into their home or condo.

Being hands on has exposed me to many of the frustrations clients of mine (and in many cases I myself) have had to deal with when working with a builder to remedy defects, mistakes in construction, shoddy workmanship and materials or plain old builder fuck ups which seem to happen in almost every instance today!

I’ve recently been dealing with Streetcar Developments which have a hand full of projects mainly located in the the east end of Toronto. I have sold seven units in their Corktown Development which consists of three boutique buildings in phase 1 as well as a mid size building in phase 2. Phase 2 is currently under construction and working towards an all-so-common late completion date of approximately one year.

Now on to the customer service part. In phase 1 two of the three buildings (at least 549 and 569 King Street East) many buyers were pushed into occupancy at the builders direction into largely unfinished buildings and in some cases with units that should have been considered inhabitable (which in our pro-builder city is a stretch). For instance in one unit there was no shower wall (glass was not installed as per agreement) and the shower floor tiles were only done on the morning of the PDI inspection so there was no grout holding the tiles together and the only shower in the unit was unusable for a week.

Add this to the major inconvenience that the one elevator in the building was unavailable for up to six weeks from the get go and picture this: during our hot July summer after hauling yourself and your belongings up four levels of  extremely dingy and dirty stairs you cannot even take a shower to cool  or clean yourself off!

I get that financially there is a reason on why buyers are forced into unfinished units/buildings in order to meet deadlines (mainly builder financial ones) but it’s sad to see how commonplace this has become. When it gets to the point that the PDI or 30 day Tarion form is a page and a half long…and the unit is only 600 square feet…something is not right.

Some of the building amenities promised and included in the purchase price of the unit along with the monthly maintenance fees in the Corktown development are still not available….after one and a half years!

I used to be an advocate for Streetcar Developments because I liked their idea of smaller urban lofts and condo buildings nestled into developed neighbourhoods. But witnessing first hand their poor customer service and blatant disregard for the quality of construction they force buyers into, I will not put myself ever again through the unpleasant process of purchasing from them brand new.

My advice to anyone dealing with them is to make sure each and every conversation you have with them is in writing (if possible) and to constantly hound them until what you were promised in your agreement has been met. Especially once you take occupancy of your unit and you are dealing with any defects or non-completes.

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