While a pre-designed floor plan can match what some potential home buyers are seeking, for others, it can be difficult for these options to tick every box.
Many builders are limited to either building from these stock models or designing each home for their clients from scratch.
Montorio Homes happily offers both — and everything in between.
“We will make changes to reflect the customer’s desires,” says Martino Di Luigi, general manager of Montorio.
This is one of the ways the award-winning builder sets itself apart.
Montorio — which has been building in Edmonton market since 1970 — presently offers homes in the communities of Hawks Ridge, Trumpeter, McConachie Heights, Glen Ridding Ravine, Walker Summit, Cavanagh, and Beaumont.
Di Luigi recalls, soon after joining the company, hearing a term he didn’t want attached to Montorio: the typical builder.
“Some people think that a house is a house is a house,” he adds.
“I strongly believe that is not the case. I wanted to differentiate ourselves.”
Customization is a service some builders add when business is slow and cut when things pick up, Di Luigi says.
“That’s where I said ‘no, we’re going to keep doing it the same way. We are going to keep providing customization services,” he adds. “We have consistently been doing this through the good times and the bad times.”
This includes tweaking their existing plans, building based on a plan the client brings in, or starting the design from square one.
“As a business, we are structured to handle it efficiently and to help manage the client through the process,” says Di Luigi. “With us, customization is a good word.”
One of the keys is maintaining a controlled process.
“A lot of people think customization can be haphazard,” he adds. “We request and recommend that the client’s customization happens up front so we can properly price it, manage it and give it a preliminary assessment to make sure it is functional for the customer.”
“We believe that the customer is very knowledgeable. They know what they are looking for. They rely on us for technical feedback and we provide that up front.”
Montorio then allows two sets of changes to the initial design in the following six weeks.
Some of the custom changes it has made include spice kitchens, prayer rooms, and side entrances.
Montorio primarily builds starter and move-up single-family homes and townhomes but has experience with luxury homes, as well.
Its starter and move-up product are available on both conventional lots and those with a zero-lot line orientation.
Depending on its stage in the construction process, the builder can also customize its townhomes, which is an uncommon practice in the market.
Montorio is one of about 11 per cent of builders in the Edmonton area to have a Master Builder designation through the Professional Home Builders Institute.
This designation requires a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education annually, membership with the ANHWP, membership to a local home building association, and obeyance to a strict code of ethics, among other commitments.
“We are very proud of being a Master Builder,” says Di Luigi. “We believe it shows our commitment to the industry and a higher level of learning.”
Energy-efficiency is another emphasis for Montorio. This was recognized at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (now called BILD) Alberta Awards of Housing Excellence where the builder captured the Green Vision award.
Sustainable building is nothing new to Montorio. It has been incorporating green features that help lower utility costs for its homeowners for the past 15 years.
This put them “ahead of the curve,” when the provincial government introduced parameters around energy efficiency to its building code regulations five years ago, says Di Luigi.
Montorio includes high-efficiency furnaces with hot water tanks, triple-pane windows, and R50 ceiling insulation as standard features in its homes.
Di Luigi says Montorio also prides itself on “smarter energy efficiency,” which involves using specifications that cost less but add considerable value.
“One of the things they do is under-slab insulation in the basement and exterior foundation wall insulation,” Di Luigi says. “From a cost-effective perspective, our knowledge tells us that’s the best bang for your buck when building a home.”
“If a customer would like to make an impact, we can do some smaller things like that.”
The builder has also used more substantial measures, such as geothermal energy and solar panels to power some of the homes it has built. It currently has a show home equipped with solar panels in McConachie, named the Salerno.
Montorio Homes’ mission is to make their customers building experience a better experience, says Irene Perkins, Customer Experience Manager at The Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
“Their team receives frequent education, allowing them to be specialists in all aspects of the homebuying journey,” she adds. “They’re knowledgeable professionals providing a homebuyer experience that makes Montorio Homes a partner we are honoured to align with.”
Montorio’s commitment to putting the customer first extends to its long-time membership with the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
Along with giving its homeowners peace of mind, “a number of factors” have made ANHWP the right fit for Montorio.
“ANHWP basically invented home warranty,” says Di Luigi. “They have good longevity and good experience and backing for their warranty program.
“They have really implemented some good warranty programs and common-sense applications for this industry,” he adds. “I think they are a leader in that regard.”