Skip to content

Custom home company grew from building on an opportunity

Happy homeowners are the endgame for Active Homes, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Article content

Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan and sometimes, perhaps, they shouldn’t.

Some 20-plus years ago, Harpreet and Kal Toor were looking at careers in nursing and computer technology, respectively. But through an unexpected twist of circumstances they built — in the actual construction sense — a home and everything just fell into place.

Article content

“Twenty years ago we had no plans to be a home builder,” said Harpreet, as Active Homes, the company she runs with her husband Kal is now celebrating two decades of being in business. “(But) within a few years we knew, being so passionate about it, that we didn’t want to do anything else.”

Advertisement 2

Article content

So how does a NAIT graduate — Kal — and a nurse go from already plotted career paths to home building?

Well, as Harpreet recalls, when Kal was looking for work in late 2001 he couldn’t find a job in his then-desired field. Instead he switched gears, taking a real-estate course and ultimately became a realtor though still thinking computer work would be his end game.

Then, a friend suggested Kal should start building houses and sell them as well, and the rest, as the old adage goes, is history. That same friend would provide needed industry knowledge and Harpreet, meanwhile, thought the idea was really cool that they would be able to plan, build and design houses according to everyone’s unique needs.

The First Home

It was January 2004, the location was in Riverbend.

“It was very exciting,” said Harpreet of that first home they built, one that they were able to pre-sell. It was also the first domino, the one that literally got Active Homes active in the market. “We were really hands on. I did everything. We were always there, we really wanted to learn the process and we pretty much self-taught ourselves all the processes of home building.”

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

From that first Riverbend home, they found a second client, more lots in Riverbend and then Southbrook and within a few years they were building upwards of six homes annually.

In 2009, working with developer MLC Group, they opened a show home in Fort Saskatchewan, which led to new opportunities in Walker Lakes.

Now, they’re doing around 85 homes per year and looking to increase that number to 100. As for the number of communities they’re in, that has grown and includes College Woods, Cy Becker, Maple Crest, Rosenthal and Triomphe in Beaumont, among others.

They’re also still in touch with their first two buyers, and said they’re happy they were able to turn their dreams into reality. Harpreet still remembers and cherishes the memory of how their second buyer exclaimed that this was exactly what she wanted in her new home.

“The dream turned it into reality,” said Harpreet. “It gives us such satisfaction and happiness.”

Not Looking Back

Just as Kal left his initial computer career behind, Harpreet would eventually give up her work as a nurse.

“In the beginning I did my nursing,” said Harpreet. “For a long time I kept thinking I might go back.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

But that didn’t happen. Just as she says her husband has never looked back, she hasn’t either.

“We just want to build more and more houses, and different houses, according to everyone’s needs,” said Harpreet. “Even now we study our (house) plans and we try to make them even better; how we can improve them? We study our plans many times — we look at them from the point of view of if we were going to live in that house.”

It’s come to the point, added Harpreet, that this is no longer considered as work but rather as their passion.

Active, which started as a custom home builder, is dedicated to its roots and plans to stay as a custom builder even with its larger building volumes.

It builds single-family homes, laned homes and duplexes. In 2015, Active expanded into the commercial and multi-family sectors to diversify its activities, with Kal running those operations and Harpreet focusing on the new homes.

“Little did I know I would be building houses but I always tell people you should go with the flow,” said Harpreet.

“When God closes one door, he opens many other doors. It was all probably meant to happen.”

Moving Forward

As Active celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Harpreet sees more growth in the future.

She said she can foresee growing the company so it builds possibly as many as 400 to 500 homes a year and talks of expansion into Calgary.

“We have a really good team and when you have a good team, anything is possible,” said Harpreet.

Very nervous when they first started, they’re now proud of what they accomplished. More importantly, Harpreet said, it’s all about seeing that their homeowners are happy.

Article content