CONSIDERING A NEW HOME?
There are many advantages to a new home purchase:
- You get to select the home and features you want
- You can choose who will build your home
- The home will be built to the most advanced standards with the latest in materials and styles
- Everything is brand new.
- It will be energy efficient.
- You will have the benefit of a new home warranty.
There are also some advantages with a resale or used home:
- You will not have to live in an active construction site.
- Many things will be done already such as landscaping and fences.
- Many items will be included such as drapery tracks, window coverings (if included in the agreement of purchase), air conditioning and upgraded light fixtures.
- You can see exactly what you are buying and the finished neighbourhood where it is located.
CONSIDER THESE MATTERS
There are also several matters you must be aware of when you are making your decision as between a new home and a resale property.
When will I be able to move into the new home?
Why would this be an issue, after all there is a closing date in the agreement of purchase? Check the fine print. In the Tarion Addendum you will see the builder has the right to extend the closing date up to one year.
My home will be just like it appears in the plans. Maybe not!
Virtually every new home agreement of purchase will contain provisions that allow the builder to make many modifications. Read the fine print carefully. They usually can construct a different elevation, change the grade, build your home as a reverse mirror image, eliminate the door from the garage to the interior of the home, make changes to the plans, substitute materials, change the location of windows and mechanical installations, build it as a walk out (at you expense), etc. Read your agreement carefully to avoid surprises and possible disappointments.
I have to pay how much?
If you are not prepared you could find the builder requesting a considerable amount of money you were not planning on paying for your home. In the agreements you will find the term adjustments. This refers to additional charges for items that will be added to the purchase price. Often only words are used to describe the expense such as the cost of a hydro meter but without a dollar amount. As a result you could be charged $200.00 or $1,500.00, whatever sum the builder thinks is correct. Builders can be very creative with the items they refer to as adjustments. These charges can amount to several thousand dollars.
Items builders will add to the purchase price may include: hydro, water and gas meters, a security deposit for grading, municipal levies, increases to the cost of levies, your Tarion warranty fee, cost of a survey, electronic registration and documentation charges, their own lawyers transaction levy, a sum to discharge their own mortgages, the cost of the blue box and many other possible charges. If you encounter these adjustments, if they can’t be deleted in your negotiations insist upon a “cap” or upper limit being inserted in your agreement, in writing, so that you will actually know the true amount of money you are being charged.
The salesperson told me that …
Do not assume it will happen. If it is not in writing it is not an enforceable agreement, definitely get it in writing!
MINIMIZE THE RISK
To avoid or minimize the risk of the foregoing unpleasant surprises there are things you can do:
Become Well Informed
Attend educational seminars. Some are offered on line such as those by Tarion. Watch local newspapers as Realtors may offer home buyers seminars. Use the internet. CMHC offers some excellent advice. Most banks also offer useful information including such things as mortgage calculators so you can determine just what you can afford.
Research The Builder
Tarion no longer provides builder rating but you can check to ensure they are registered using the link here.
You can also determine if they have received an award of excellence from Tarion by clicking here.
Perhaps the best method is to go to existing homes built by the same builder; knock on the door saying you are considering buying a home from the same builder and you would like to know about their experiences in matters such as; closing on time, quality of finishes, workmanship and after sales service.
Hire A Lawyer
Make arrangements to hire a lawyer so he will be available for you as soon as you have an agreement of purchase to be reviewed. Do not sign without having your lawyer approve it or ensure there is a condition that requires you to have your lawyer approve the agreement before it becomes a firm deal.
Make certain the time period that the builder gives you for this condition is sufficient to enable your lawyer to have a reasonable opportunity to review the agreement for you. Apart from the time set out in the conditions there is no cooling off period for a new home. (With the exception of a new condominium purchased from a builder in which case you have 10 days to change your mind and terminate the transaction).
Read Documents Carefully
Read the agreement of purchase very carefully and in its entirety. Be certain you understand it. If you do not understand something ask your lawyer about it either before you sign or before your condition upon lawyer’s approval expires otherwise you will be bound by the contract.