Award-winning company, quality service and a social heart
By Rajitha Sivakumaran
People often think of ‘dream house’ when the subject of homebuilders comes up, but one Canadian builder is setting the standards high with random acts of kindness. In addition to providing financial support to various deserving Calgarians who have selflessly given back to the community, Broadview Homes Calgary opened up its show homes to house families during the Calgary flood in 2013.
“We were on the phone day and night, helping families. What really shocked me was talking to each and every one of these families. Our whole staff was touched by it,” said Peter-John Woolf, vice president at Broadview Homes Calgary.
The company’s social heart can be traced all the way back to its inception.
Based in both Calgary and Winnipeg, Broadview Homes is a subsidiary of Qualico, which is one of Western Canada’s largest privately owned real estate companies. The reason behind its immediate success in the Calgary housing market was due to affordability. At the time of its founding in 1988, Broadview Homes helped a lot of people enter the market by delivering affordable homes. The company has been growing rapidly ever since.
“As each kind of decade went by, we had these happy customers who were ready to build bigger homes. Demographically, they started to change the product,” Woolf said. Broadview Homes now builds up to 150 homes annually, ranging in value from $400,000 to $1.5 million.
The year 2015 was marked by several moments of pride for the company. The company built a staggering 17 show homes, an amount that was nearly three times the number they normally build per annum. As the saying goes, hard work pays off, and in this case, the company’s enthusiastic building ventures caught the eye of both industry and the public.
Not only did it win the prestigious Grand SAM Award as Calgary’s Builder of the Year, it was also recognized with two additional industry awards: the CHBA Alberta Safety Leadership Award and the New Homebuyers’ Choice Award.
Receiving the SAM Award was a highly rewarding moment for everyone at Broadview Homes; as an industry award judged by peers, being recognized fostered a definite sense of pride. But for Woolf and his sales manager, Bruce Staszczak, the New Homebuyers’ Choice Award was the icing on the cake.
What is remarkable is that these recognitions arrived at an economically trying time for Alberta. “The market has affected us and most builders in the city,” said Woolf. “We know that some builders have completely redone their budget, but we are still on our budget and it looks like we will hit it all the way through.”
Keys to success in the housing market
So what has paved the path for Broadview Homes’ success?
Part of it comes down to formulating and maintaining great customer relationships. Broadview Homes’ workforce sets them apart from other builders. Training someone to be a remarkable salesperson or a reliable homebuilder is achievable, says Woolf, which is why the company goes after attitude and character before anything else. This attitude transforms into the kinds of houses that Broadview Homes designs.
“We’ve got such a talented design team that moving walls is easy,” Woolf said. “We’re very transparent. We build all of our houses on Facebook. If a person has a concern, they can ask us right there. We think that it is important that we could show you what we build day by day and week by week.”
And the company doesn’t mind taking on what Woolf called ‘edgy projects’. By this he means homes that are unique and innovative. “We find that they deliver in the marketplace where people are looking for different. It’s what the people want,” he said.
According to Staszczak, “One of the great things about this company is that everybody here has been empowered to make decisions.” To begin with, Broadview Homes, despite being an affiliate of Qualico, has a lot of autonomy to build its own brand. This power extends to the members of the company; if a concern needs to be addressed, it is done so without delay and without time-consuming calls to higher-ups and head office for permission or approval.
Although the staff base numbers at 35 to 40 employees, Woolf and Staszczak attribute the company’s success to the extended Broadview Homes family. “We probably have a thousand people working on our houses through the course of the year, and we are thankful to each and every one of them for their contribution to building a great house,” said Woolf.
The other key to success is not just staying on top of trends but making the best of out of these trends to give the customer the best of the best. For instance, high-end finishings, like granite, hardwood and stainless steel, are starting to become standards for a lot of buildings. However, closer inspection reveals that new homes are being equipped with the cheapest grades of these products, says Woolf. Prices at Broadview Homes may be slightly higher than average, but as Woolf says, “We’re thinking that this is your castle and you want longevity and you want value.”
Even though the face of the housing market has changed in the last 20 years, Staszczak says that some trends have stayed the same. “Consumers are looking for value. They are looking for good quality products in their home. They’re not necessarily looking for the cheapest home; they’re looking for the home that has value built into it already,” he said.