After more than 10 years of developing home sites in the greater Toronto area only to sell them to builders, Digram Developments Inc. a few years ago decided to take the old adage “if you want something done right, do it yourself” to heart.
“The quality that we wanted wasn’t being delivered to the marketplace,” says Mohsin Masood, a co-owner of the Markham, Ontario-based developer. “We felt that in the markets we are working in, there was a niche for high-end finishes and high-quality homes, so we started our own building company.”
Digram established Digreen Homes in 2014 to build up the lots it developed in Markham, Brampton, Caledon, Vaughan, Oakville and other Greater Toronto Area communities. The developer entered the Canadian market in 2002 by partnering with another firm before it set out on its own in 2005. “We felt that Canada presented an opportunity for us, then expanded our business before moving into premium-quality products,” Masood says.
Mohsin Masood represents the third generation of his family involved in construction and development. The family has three generations of construction and development experience, including residential and commercial projects in Dubai and across Europe. The Masoods continue to develop retail, commercial and low-rise residential projects internationally through sister companies with multiple offices overseas.
Digram Developments and Digreen Homes work hand-in-hand, with the developer purchasing and servicing the sites of homes built by Digreen, including installing water mains and building sidewalks, curbs and other asphalt work.
“We are a fully integrated company – we know when lots will be delivered to us and we know when we can go to market,” he adds.
This integration allows Digreen to maintain better time schedules on its projects. It is uncommon for many companies to deliver completed homes within six to eight months of their closing dates. “With a lot of builders, what’s happening is that they will make the sale today, but actually give you the house two years from now,” Masood says. “What we do is give our clients the house within six to eight months.”
Digreen Homes is working on several residential communities in the greater Toronto area. The company is building the latest of several phases of single-family homes in the Santaguida Residences, and is about to start the Residences of 16th Avenue project. Both are located in Markham’s Greensborough community. Homes in the Residences of 16th Avenue range in price from $600,000 to $900,000.
“We’re seeing a very positive response from the community for this project,” Masood says, noting that more than 300 potential homebuyers have registered for available lots at Residences of 16th Avenue.
The company also is building single-family homes in Caledon at Kennedy Road for the Stowmarket Springs project. Masood describes Caledon as “one of the fastest emerging municipalities in the [greater Toronto area].”
Upcoming Digreen projects include the first phase of 100 single-family and townhomes to be built in Torbram Countryside Crossing in Mayfield development in Brampton.
The homes built by Digreen include a number of high-end fixtures and features that are standard, as opposed to optional add-ons. “All of the things we’re doing include hardwood floors, granite countertops, oak staircases, fiberglass doors and smooth ceilings,” Masood says. “We focus on using better and newer products that are tried and tested, but not being used by most people because of their cost.”
The company uses only engineered lumber and synthetic pipes in its homes. All of the windows and doors in its homes are Energy Star certified, and the insulation it uses carries a higher energy rating than that used by other homebuilders serving the market. “We use engineered products to make our houses more durable and livable,” he adds.
The homes built by Digreen are offered at a price point that is competitive with other builders. “Our prices are in line with our competitors, even though we are offering higher-end products,” Masood says. “We feel the tastes of the communities we service are highly exceptional, and that’s what we’re trying to cater to.”
Digreen teams with a number of vendors and sub-trades who help it maintain its reputation for high quality. These vendors include Moscone Marble and Weston Flooring. “When it comes to trades, we hire the absolute best and most reputable companies in the industry and we like to call them our team as opposed to our trades,” he adds.