A new home purchase should begin with lots of questions to help you to understand the buying process and make the right decisions about the builder you choose and the home you buy.
How do I make sure that I choose the right new home builder?
Start by contacting several new home builders. Check out each company, the quality of their homes and their approach to dealing with home buyers. Visit model homes, sales offices and community developments. Get facts and figures about every builder. For instance, how long have they been in business? Where have they built before? Do they belong to the local Home Builders' Association? Ask about their business practices: what would it be like building a home with their company? Get references to past customers and follow up. Now you have a solid basis for comparison and decision-making.
How long will it take to build my home?
The time required to build a new home can vary considerably, depending on lot preparations, the size of your home and the complexity of its design, availability of labour, and many other factors. In larger developments, construction of your home may not begin until a certain percentage of the homes have been pre-sold. Your builder will provide you with a detailed schedule of milestones, so you'll know exactly what to expect and when.
What are my opportunities to personalize my home?
The vast majority of new home builders offer a great selection of finishing products (e.g. flooring, cabinetry, fixtures) so home buyers can pick and choose according to their own tastes. Often, a plan or layout can be modified—e.g. moving walls, expanding closets, adding windows. However, each builder has a different approach, so make sure to ask: What are my choices? Can I make changes? What are the costs, if any? In larger developments, the exterior style elements and colour scheme may be architecturally determined, so there may be fewer opportunities for changes to accommodate personal preferences.
Can I visit the construction site as my home is being built?
Seeing your home take shape can be an exciting aspect of buying a new home. Ask your builder about the company's policy on site visits and how to make arrangements. For safety reasons, you should not make unscheduled visits. It is also against workplace safety regulations. Find out who will be your contact person during construction, and how they will communicate with you.
What are your payment terms?
How much of a deposit does the builder require to reserve a home, and when signing a contract? Does the company require progress payments linked to milestones? Will you have to pay for upgrades and extras separately at the time of selection, or will the cost be added to the final balance due upon completion? How does the company deal with change orders, in case you wish to make changes after construction begins? The builder’s payment structure can influence your financing arrangements, so make sure you discuss the details with your lender.
Is my deposit protected?
Professional builders in Ontario are required to provide third-party warranty on their homes through Tarion to protect purchasers against faulty materials or workmanship, for specified periods of time. Under this warranty, home buyers’ deposits are protected, up to a certain amount, in case the builder is unable to close the sale or complete construction. Tarion is a private corporation established to protect the rights of new home buyers and regulate new home builders – learn more about Tarion at tarion.com.
What if there is a delay in finishing the home?
In the vast majority of cases, your home will be ready as scheduled. Occasionally, a delay may happen as the result of the unforeseeable—most often, sudden shortages of materials or labour. When a delay is unavoidable, your builder will work hard to minimize any inconvenience to you and your family. Ask your builder to explain in detail what you can expect in case of delay, and any other “what if” situations you may be wondering about.
What else should I know about?
Never hesitate to ask anything that’s on your mind. There is a lot to think about and a lot to know before you can make an informed decision. Professional new home builders and their staff welcome your questions. They know that a well-informed home buyer is a confident home buyer, and that means a far more enjoyable and satisfying buying experience for both parties.