Power Smart rebates give builders a strategic marketing tool

Image of Verinder Grewal, president of Lotus Project Management
Verinder Grewal, president of Victoria-based Lotus Project Management, says Power Smart New Home rebates are proof to the home buyer that the home they're purchasing is of considerable quality. And that helps with marketing.

Prospective buyers want to know: 'Did the builder care?'

In almost any sales situation, it's a thought that simmers beneath the conversation: "Don't just tell me — show me."

Buyer appetite for actual evidence of value is why some home builders are finding new ways to make use of the Power Smart New Home Program. It's an effective way to prove to prospective buyers that this home is a quality building — and it's paying off.

Rebate of up to $3,000 is 'icing on the cake'

"I believe people want to know their home is green or energy efficient," says Jesse Baidwan, owner of Island Outlook Developments in Victoria. "They want to see that these days, the builder took those extra steps and care to make that home energy efficient. For most, it matters more than the money."

But the money — a rebate of up to $3,000 per home — doesn't hurt either. Sometimes Baidwan hands the rebate cheque directly to his buyer, as proof positive that the home has been tested, and passed with flying colours.

"It's recognition that you cared about your project and you didn't just slap it together," he says.

Verinder Grewal, president of Victoria-based Lotus Project Management, agrees.

"The rebate is really crucial; it brings awareness," he says. "And custom home buyers love getting a rebate. It's like a little icing on the cake for my clients."

Attention to detail, cost-effective techniques help homes qualify for rebates

Power Smart New Home Program incentives are available for installing energy-efficient appliances, water heaters, and furnaces.

The largest incentive — $2,000 per single family dwelling — applies to homes that achieve an EnerGuide rating of 80 or more. With many builds, this can be achieved through consistent air-sealing techniques and well-installed insulation.

"It doesn't take much, just some attention to detail and some pre-planning, having the right trades and the right consultants," says Baidwan. "A lot of people rush through it, but you can't really do that; homes are getting more and more complicated to build than they were. But the extra steps are pretty cost effective, and pretty simple to do."

Both Baidwan and Grewal say the marketing advantage is worth the effort.

"It's something that helps me look like a more professional builder," says Grewal. "Especially at the end of the build when they're getting money back after spending all this money, it's fantastic. My clients are all for it."

Energy efficient home certification offers a marketing edge

Baidwan says people living in older, less energy-efficient homes are watching their bills steadily climb, and buyers are increasingly concerned about home operating costs and the care and attention builders bring to the job. He says building energy-efficient gives him a marketing edge.

"I can say, 'Here, talk to my energy advisor. They can tell you how many homes we've modeled, what ratings they've come in at, and how you can save money on future heating bills.' That's a good tool for a builder: you've got a consultant, and Natural Resources Canada says your work has been tested and recognized.

"Then the incentive cheques give us just a little bit extra that we can give back to the client or a little bit of a bargaining chip or more motivation to buy our home. It says the builder cares, right? That's what people want to know: did the builder care?"